Palaces In Gujarat
The history of the state of Gujarat is very old and the visit to the state offers a mesmerizing experience to the visitors. The history of the state is beautiful in the aspect both culturally and in traditions. The historical forts and palaces in Gujarat speak about its rich history. The history of Gujarat goes back to medieval times and thus has the historical monuments that depict the architecture of that era. Few of the famous tourist’s points in the state are the Uparkot Fort, NazarBagh Palace, Kusum Vilas Palace and the attractive Dabhoi Fort. These palaces and forts are very rich in their historical depictions. Th two other forts that are located in the center of city of Jamnagar in the state of Gujarat that have their history linked to the medieval period are the Lakhota Fort and the KothaBasion. The Lakhota Fort in the current times has been today transformed into a museum and houses the historical statues that have belonged to the period starting from 9th century AD to 18th century AD. The Kotha Bastion includes an old well and the water from the well can be extracted by puffing in the hole that is located on the floor on the monument. The monuments and the palaces have the architecture that is the combination of architecture that belongs to Hindu, Islamic and the European styles. This kind of architecture can be found at very few locations all over the country. The other attraction of these monuments is the use of wood to build the furniture that is place in the palace.
Vijay Vilas Palace – Across Mandvi Beach, Mandvi
Vijay Vilas Palace is located on the banks of Rukmavati river, 8 kms away from Mandvi. This Palace is turned to a remarkable Heritage Hotel build by Yuvraj Vijay Sinhji of Palitana. Build in 1920 A.D. by architects and craftsmen from Jaipur, it has elements of Rajput architecture with central high dome on the pillars, colored window panes, carved stone ‘jalis’, domed bastions at the corners, extended porch and other exquisite stone carved marvels. It has Bengal domes on the sides. The Palace stands unique with grandeur with its own private beach which offer air conditioned tented accommodation. A popular tourist destination, the Vijay Vilas Palace is filmed in Bollywood.
Aina Mahal (Old Palace) – Bhuj, Kutch
This is an old Palace that was built in the 18th century. The erstwhile palace which belonged to Maharao Lakhpatji has now been transformed into a Madanji Museum since 1977. It is one of the chief Tourist Attractions in old part of Bhuj. The Aina Mahal is famous for a housing an awesome Hall of Mirrors from which the palace get its name (Aina in Hindi means mirror). It has a European influence, built by Ramsinh who had imbibed the European styles of art and architecture from his stay in Europe for 17 long years.
The Hall of Mirrors which is supposedly the prime attraction of Aina Mahal has white marble walls that are covered with mirrors and gilded ornaments. The floor of the Mirror Hall is laid with tiles with a podium above it that is surrounded by a chain of fountains. Aina Mahal large chandelier made of Venetian glass adds grandeur to the Hall.
Prag Mahal – Bhuj, Kutch
Rao Pragmalji II took up the construction of Prag Mahal in Bhuj, India on 1838 A.D. and continued with it till the year 1876. He assigned the task of designing the building to Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins, a renouned Architect during that time. Raised in the year 1879, the Prag Mahal is a splendid palace in Gothic style at a cost of Rs 31 lakh by an array of Italian engineers, artists and artisans. You can see the entire Bhuj city from its 45-foot high tower.The ornamentation on the body of the structure has its grandeur look. The Corinthian pillars and Jali work which depicts European plants and animals are also worthy of a mention.
Kusum Vilas Palace – Chotta Udepur
The Kusum Vilas Palace of Gujarat exhibits a rich architectural marvel with a five-storied central wing capped with a dome. It was constructed by one of the most famous architectural firms of Mumbai, Bhatkar and Bhatkar, in the early 1920s. It has British-made elevator enclosed by series of exquisitely carved stone ‘jalis’ allowing in a magical light effect. As finest example of 12th Century marvels, the Palace has grand reception room with large doors, a carved false ceiling, Belgian mirrors, French furniture, and superb Italian marble statues. The beautiful marble fountain in the palace compound is adorned with three intricately carved marble figurines. This is one of the finest examples of European marble sculpture. Kusum Vilas Palace is the official residence of the Royal family of Chota Udepur.
Prem Bhavan Palace – Chotta Udepur
The Prem Bhavan Palace in the adjacent campus to kusum Vilas Palace, is now a heritage hotel. It offers excellent accommodation, food and package tours to near by interesting places. Sprawled over 18 acres, both the Palaces are marvels of architecture and with splendid blend of old with modern facilities.
Navlakha Palace – Gondal
The Navlakha Palace dates back to 17th Century. The Palace is situated on a river bank with a grand masonary base rising to the monumental scale of over 30 eter above the river bed. It has high gateway approach with clock tower from the town side. The Palace entrance lead to huge open spaces. It has high roofed administrative blocks with grand staircase with banister on the extreme left corner leading to intricately carved pavision opening to an open terrace. The Grand Darbar Hall has huge windows opening to long balcony supported by intricately carved brackets with backdrop of river view. It has chandeliers, gilt wooden furniture, antique Belgian mirror work and stuffed panther as décor. The Palace Museum display artifacts, gifts and messages received by Sir Bhagwatsinhi, a great visionary ruler who introduced social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created Gondal, a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century.
Riverside Palace – Gondal
Built in the 1800s as the residence of the Yuvraj (Indian equivalent of a crown prince) of Gondal princely state, the Riverside Palace is now a heritage hotel owned and run by his descendants. The riverside palace is located at the edge of the Gondali River; built in colonial style of architecture, amidst a garden with huge trees. It has huge high-ceilinged rooms with period furniture, marvellously appointed sitting arrnagements, and a view of the river from the rooftop.
The living room is decorated in European taste, while the Indian room has brassware, beadwork and paintings in typical Indian style. The series of galleries and terraces of the palace building bring nature close to the visitors of this heritage hotel.
The Orchard Palace – Gondal
The Orchard Palace in the Huzoor Palace estate of the Maharaja of Gondal was the guest anex of the main palace. It has been converted into a heritage hotel owned and managed by the family. It has large, high-ceilinged rooms and antique-furnished interiors. It is built in colonial style with an arcade of semi circular arches, set in the midst of fruit orchards. The garden in the front, a beautiful fountain with lily pond and marble statues enhances the beauty of the palace. The main sitting room has a collection of paintings, antique furniture, bird eggs and many interesting art objects.
Dolat Nivas Palace – Idar
Dolat Niwas Castle was built by Maharaja Dolatsinhji (1922-28 AD) with a picturesque view of the naturally protected Hill Fort, Idar located at the edge of Aravalli range. Idar, known as ‘Ilva Durga’, it also find mention in Mahabharata. Dolat Niwas Castle is in the midway while taking a flight of about 700 steps leads to the fortress plateau. It is a seven-storeyed structure with a maze of staircases, terraces, balconies and courtyards.
Art Deco Palace – Morbi
Art Deco Palace (1931-44 AD)is a marvellous example of influence of last phase of art deco movement fo Europe. It is built in granite, a low two storey which resembles the London underground stations of Charles Holden. The palace has six drawing rooms, six dining rooms, and fourteen bedrooms. The decorated subterranean bedroom, with many erotic murals and a bathroom made from seashells are also noteworthy.
Digvir Nivas Palace – Vansda, Surat
The Digvir Niwas Palace is one of the finest examples of royal architecture in the early 20th century situated on the banks of river Kaveri, Vansda which was founded by Maharaval Virsinhji in 1781. The Digvir Niwas Palace is a low profile linear building, with Ashlar stone masonary. The approach the palace is through a beautiful plaster decorated gate and the octagonal ‘chhatris’ on both sides of the entrance gate give it an imposing look. The setting of the palace building and the campus layout seem to have been inspired by British castles and French chateaux of the European aristocracy. It is one of the finest example of Royal Architecture.
Laxmi Vilas Palace – Baroda
Laxmi Vilas Palace, an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic school, was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. Major Charles Mant was the architect.It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built in the nineteenth century and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. It remains the residence of the Royal Family, who continue to be held in high esteem by the residents of Baroda.Its ornate Darbar Hall is sometimes the venue of music concerts and other cultural events. It has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgium stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations. Outside of the Darbar Hall is an Italianate courtyard of water fountains. The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta by Fellici. The grounds were landscaped by William Goldring, a specialist from Kew Gardens. The palace is open to the public and an audio tour is available.
The Palace compound is of over 700 acres and houses a number of buildings, particularly the Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. The Museum building was constructed as a school for the Maharaja’s children. Today a large number of works of art belonging to the Royal family have been displayed in the museum. The most remarkable of these is the fabulous collection of the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda.
Nazarbagh Palace – Baroda
Nazar Bagh Palace is a royal property with three storeyed grandeur marvel which is the oldest palace in Baroda. It was constructed by Malhar Rao Gaekwad in the late 19th century This palace was used on ceremonial occasions by the Gaekwads. Today it houses the royal family heirlooms.
Makarpara Palace – Baroda
Makarpura palace was built by Maharaja Khende Rao in 1870. It was extended and renovated by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. A beautiful palace designed in the Italian style, the Makarpura palace is now a training school of the Indian Air Force.
Pratap Vilas Palace – Baroda
Pratap Vilas Palace was build in 1914 A.D. during the rule of His Royal Highness Jam Ranjitsinhji. It has European architecture with Indian carvings that give it a totally distinct appeal. Its porticoed entrance has excquisite carvings and is embellished by stuffed tigers. The Darbar Hall however is the piece-de-resistance with mosaic floors, seven domes, 12 chandeliers, intricately sculpted cedar balconies and a silver throne. It is spread over an area of 720 acres with gardens and a golf course. Carvings of creepers, flowers, leaves, birds and animals on the columns make the palace lively. It has columns and arches drawn from South India, Central India, North India and Islamic tradition. Pratap Vilas Palace, houses the prestigious Railway Staff College of India.
Raj Mahal – Vadhwan near Ahmedabad
The Rajmahal Palace was built in the 19th century by HH Bal Sinhji and was earlier called Bal Vilas Palace. It is located in 13-14 acres of park-like grounds with tennis courts, lily ponds, fountains, out houses and cricket pitches. The centerpiece is a beautiful pillared courtyard with marble statues. There is a marvelously appointed Darbarhall with painted ceilings, king-sized portraits and a throne. There are beautifully restored vintage cars and a library of automobile books.
Hawa Mahal – Vadhwan near Ahmedabad
The Hawa Mahal which means ‘wind palace’ was an ambitious project, abandoned halfway by the Wadhvan rulers. The incomplete structure stands outside the fort and is and architect marvel which reflects different stages of construction. Even today, around the Hawa Mahal, one can see Sompura artisans carving stones for various Hindu and Jain temple projects in India and abroad.
Ranjit Vilas Palace – Vankaner near Rajkot
Ranjit Vilas Palace was build in 1907 A.D after its construction commenced in 1900s. Amarsinhji himself took the pains to build the Ranjit Vilas Palace on a hill, overlooking Wankaner town. It was inaugurated by and named after his dear friend Jam Ranjitsinhji of Jamnagar. The ground of the palace extends to two hundred and twenty five acres. The state guesthouse, Chandra Bhavan is also located in the same campus in the vicinity of the Ranjit Vilas
Ranjit Vilas Palace has a grand architectural finesse. The front and back facades are appropriately designed in response to its location. The receding volumes, on the front, creating a series of terraces culminating in two beautifully designed pavilions with gothic arches. The back facade, on the town side, really establishes the palace as an impressive landmark. The seven storied central clock tower capped by a Mughal dome and two five storied high bastions, at both the corners, culminate in hexagonal ‘Chhatris’ (Umberellas). The facade has arcades of arched Victorian windows Italianate pillars, Gothic arches and classical parapets. A massive Dutch roof spans the central wing of the palace. A double staircase is the unique feature of the interior of this palace, where the royal ladies could ascend and descend without being seen by men. A similar double staircase at Chateau de Chambord, Loire, France, dating to the Renaissance period, inspired this staircase.
Ranjit Vilas Palace has a memorable collection of swords, shields and daggers, 95 species of stuffed animals, duelling pistols, pig sticking spears, silver, linen chests, silver-plated howdahs, thrones, paintings and portraits. The palace has magnificent spiraling marble staircase, stained glass galleries, chandeliers and period furniture. The garage, on the grounds of the palace complex, has Vintage cars like the 1921 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, some imposing American cars and horse drawn carriages. The palace also has a stable of Kathiawadi horses. There are large grounds with beautiful Italianate fountains.
HOTELS IN GUJARAT