A guide to visiting Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Also known as the ‘Blue City’, Jodhpur is home to some of the most magnificent pieces of architecture. Nestled at the edge of the mighty Thar Desert, Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan.

Jodhpur was founded by Suryavanshi Rao Jodha in 1459. The city is guarded by mighty forts on both sides – Mehrangarh Fort on the west and Umaid Bhawan Palace on the east. Even as one marvels at the engineering genius of these forts, sightseeing in Jodhpur can be breath-taking.

Umaid Bhavan Palace jodhpur

Of the places to visit in Jodhpur during your family vacation, Umaid Bhawan Palace should top the list. Spread over 26 acres, it is one of the largest private residences in the world. A part of this fort is a heritage hotel today. Constructed during 1928-1943, it was one of the last palaces to be built before India’s independence. The palace is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh and is also called Chittar Palace because stones from the nearby Chittar Hill were used for its construction.

The 347-room palace boasts of Indian and European styles of architecture. A part of the palace is still used as the residence of the former royal family. Other rooms have been converted into the Taj Palace Hotel and a museum. Interestingly, it is the only palace in India to have a working elevator! The museum at Umaid Bhawan Palace hosts a large collection of vintage cars as well as a collection of clocks used at different points of time in history.

The best time to visit Umaid Bhawan Palace is between October and March. Also, the gardens are at their prime in autumn and winter. Summers can be harsh, so unsurprisingly the city has seen many droughts. In fact, Umaid Bhawan Palace itself was said to have been built in order to give employment to the drought-stricken locals.

Here are some tips that will make your visit more memorable:

  • Hire a guide – there are many available who speak both English and Hindi
  • The museum is a must-see; it offers an insight into how the royals lived
  • Wear comfortable footwear since you will be doing a lot of walking
  • Do not forget to carry water, sunscreen, and your shades
  • Keep your camera handy because can take some beautiful pictures here

The palace is located 3 km from the airport and 5 km from the railway station. There are luxury and state buses available for transportation. Visiting time is between 10 am and 4.30 pm, and it usually takes 2-3 hours to cover the palace. The entry fee is Rs 30 for Indians and Rs 100 for non-Indians; for children it’s Rs 10.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Jodhpur while on a family vacation, Pratap Niwas Resort in Jodhpur is a great choice. With an old-world charm and a royal touch, this Club Mahindra affiliate resort has spacious rooms, each with a different decor. Some come with balconies overlooking a nearby village and some have jharokha seating. Club Mahindra reviews of the resort in Jodhpur speak very highly of the amenities provided, especially the grand swimming pool. When you visit the picturesque city of Jodhpur, let Club Mahindra be your window to the city!

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Edwina D'souza

Read write watch, 2 left hands and feet, recluse, gazer and occasionally suffer from wanderlust syndrome!!

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