Umaid Bhawan Palace
The Umaid Bhawan Palace at Jodhpur, India's last great Palace, was constructed between 1929 and 1944. The Palace was originally envisaged as a drought relief measure and the intention was to provide employment to over 3000 people afflicted by consecutive years of drought.
Constructed in what can loosely be described as the Indo-Art-Deco style, this magnificent edifice with 347 rooms was the world's largest private residence when it opened its doors as a royal residence in 1944. Named after The Late His Highness Maharaja Umaid Singhji, the palace has been the residence of Maharaja Umaid Singhji and his successors.
In fact, even today a section of the Palace is still the private residence of the royal family of Jodhpur, currently headed by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II. Converted to a hotel in 1972, the Palace was thrown open to the public at large as a residential hotel. Since 1978, the hotel has been associated with one of India's premier hotel chains-ITC Hotels. Today it the flagship of the welcome Heritage Chain, which runs charming heritage hotels spread across Rajasthan and its adjoining states.
Guests and residents of the Palace experience aspects of royal living, with period furniture, priceless antiques and artefacts adorning the public areas as well as the rooms in which the hotel section is situated Classified as a 5 Star Deluxe property by the Government of India, the Umaid Bhawan Palace has every modern convenience to cater to today's traveller and several unique features.
The Central Dome soars 110 feet overhead, and provides spectacular centerpiece - a focal point for all the visitors to the property .The Trophy Bar, the Risala Restaurant ,the Marwar Hall, the Pillars restaurant and the Kebab Konner from the backbone of the hotels Food & Beverage activities, providing residents and guests a choice of dining options and cuisines.
The view from the Pillars, especially at sunset, are spectacular. Landscaped gardens adorn the exteriors of the building and the spacious lawns at the rear of the Palace create an ambience which is at once serene, restful and yet spectacularly royal. Deep inn the heart of the building, the Zodiac Swimming Pool is a cool blue retreat. Located indoors, it is in fact under the main plinth of the building, tucked away in the basement, which makes it private an accessible only to residents of the hotel.
The private museum attached to the Palace contains a small but exquisite set of display section, exhibiting arms, furniture, antique clocks and priceless China vases that formed a part the private collection of Maharajas of Jodhpur. The Umaid Bhawan Palace is equipped to cater to all segments of travelers, be they visitors on business or leisure to the city of Jodhpur.
The Palace has in the past few years become increasingly popular as a conference destination and venue with meeting spaces available for small and large numbers contained within the building. A visit to Jodhpur cannot be complete without the experience of staying at the Umaid Bhawan Palace, which is rated as perhaps the world's finest palace hotel.