Have you ever slept in a royal palace? Rajasthan is often referred to as the ‘Land of Kings’ as many maharajas and maharanis have lived here throughout history. Many palaces still stand today as powerful reminders of these sovereign times, and travellers from all corners of the globe flock to Rajasthan’s colourful cities to visit – and even stay – in these historical edifices.
Yes, that’s right. Some palaces have been transformed into lavish hotels, giving holidaymakers a chance to live like a royal for a day... or three.
When India gained independence in 1947, India’s royal figures lost their official powers, so they had to diversify to retain their prestigious positions. Some transformed their homes into sumptuous hotels, and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is the largest accommodation group managing these former palaces.
In Jaipur, Rambagh Palace is an architectural splendour of elaborate masonry, glimmering marble, Murano crystal chandeliers and all kinds of decadent magnificence.
Jodhpur’s Umaid Bhawan Palace is interesting because the former royal family still reside in a subdivision on the sprawling grounds. Guests do not see them; nonetheless, it’s easy to imagine what royal life might have been like simply taking in the surrounds. The daily heritage walk, conducted by a butler donned in crisp livery, offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the palace while admiring the grandiose structure and gardens.
And no exploration of Taj palaces is complete without a sojourn at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Like the name might have you believe, this extravagance is positioned – as if floating – on a man-made lake. A private boat whisks you to the hotel lobby for check-in and from that moment on life will not be the same. Rose-petal showers, waiters who know what you desire, there are even suites fitted out with an ornamental swing. Life really does feel like a dream here.