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25 Best Palaces in India (plus Castles and Forts – Photos)

When it comes to Indian architecture, spectacular is an understatement. These palaces and forts are truly incredible structures built over many centuries. We hand-picked 25 of the very best.
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If it’s decadence you want in a palace, look no further than these incredible palaces in India.  Our list also includes castles and forts, but the lion’s share are ornate, huge and spectacular palaces.

Of course you’ve heard of the Taj Mahal, but that’s just one of many examples of superb Indian architecture.

Victoria Memorial landmark in Calcutta

Victoria Memorial landmark in Calcutta

Victoria Memorial landmark in Calcutta

The Victoria Memorial

A large marble building in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, the Victoria Memorial was built between 1906 and 1921 dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. It was designed by William Emerson in Indo-Saracenic revivalist style while the construction was led by Messrs. Martin & Co. of Calcutta.

About the Victoria Memorial

  • Where: Calcutta, India
  • When: 1906-1921
  • Who built it: William Emerson
  • Style: Indo-Saracenic revivalist style
  • What is it now? Museum
  • Current owner: Government of West Bengal
Umaid Bhawan palace

Umaid Bhawan palace

Umaid Bhawan Palace compound

Umaid Bhawan Palace compound

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the world’s largest private residences. Located in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India, the palace was built in 1928-1943 on the order of king Umaid Singh, who commissioned Henry Vaughan Lanchester to lead the architectural plans of the building. Lanchester then used the Beaux Arts style, or also known as Indo-Deco style as the architectural design. Today, the palace has three purposes, first being the residence of the royal family, then a luxury Taj Palace Hotel and lastly, a Museum focusing on the 20th-century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family.

About the Umaid Bhawan Palace

  • Where: Jodhpur, India
  • When: 1928-1943
  • Who built it: Henry Vaughan Lanchester
  • Style: Beaux Arts style (Indo-Deco style)
  • What is it now? Residence of the royal family / Taj Palace Hotel / Museum
  • Current owner: Gaj Singh
Udaivilas Palace

Udaivilas Palace

The Oberoi Udaivilas is a luxury hotel rated as the world’s best hotel in 2015 by Travel + Leisure and is a popular venue for luxurious destination weddings. It was constructed in the 19th century over the late hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.

About the Udaivilas Palace

  • Where: Udaipur, India
  • When: 19th century
  • Who built it:
  • Style:
  • What is it now? Luxury hotel
  • Current owner:
Taj Mahal in Agra, India

Taj Mahal in Agra, India

The Taj Mahal is one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a part of the 7 Wonders of the World. It is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra, which was built in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is also called the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage, as well as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history.

About the Taj Mahal

  • Where: Agra, India
  • When: 1632-1653
  • Who built it: Mughal emperor Shah Jahan
  • Style: Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? UNESCO World Heritage Site / 7 Wonders of the World
  • Current owner: Indian Government
Royal Rajwada Palace

Royal Rajwada Palace

Rajwada is a historical palace in Indore city built by the Holkars of the Maratha Empire in the 18th century following the Indo-Saracenic Maratha style. Today, it serves as a fine example of royal grandeur and architectural skills.

About the Royal Rajwada Palace

  • Where: Indore, India
  • When: 18th century
  • Who built it: Holkars of the Maratha Empire
  • Style: Indo-Saracenic Maratha style
  • What is it now? Historical palace museum
  • Current owner: The Khasgi Ahilyabai Holkar Charities Trust
Red Fort Lal Qila

Red Fort Lal Qila

Red Fort Lal Qila

Red Fort Lal Qila

The Red Fort was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty. It is a historic fort in the city of Delhi in India built in 1639-1648 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan following the Indo-Islamic and Mughal architecture. Currently, it is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and a very beautiful tourist attraction.

About the Red Fort Lal Qila

  • Where: Old Delhi, India
  • When: 1639-1648
  • Who built it: 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
  • Style: Indo-Islamic style / Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? UNESCO World Heritage Site / Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Indian Government
Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan

The Rashtrapati Bhavan, formerly known as Viceroy’s House is the official home of the President of India located in New Delhi, India. The building’s construction started in 1912 and was completed in 1929. The British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens led the architectural plans for the building, following the Delhi Order architectural style.

About the Rashtrapati Bhavan

  • Where: New Delhi, India
  • When: 1912-1929
  • Who built it: Edwin Landseer Lutyens
  • Style: Delhi Order architectural style
  • What is it now? Presidential House
  • Current owner: Indian Government
Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace in the Indian State of Karnataka is a historical palace and a royal residence named after the city of Mysore. Originally, or better known as the Old Palace was built in the 14th century bearing the Hindu architectural style but was destroyed by a great fire and was forced into reconstruction in 1897. On the following years of rebuilding, the palace was finally completed in 1912 by British architect Lord Henry Irwin under the command of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and his mother Maharani Kempananjammanni Devi in Indo-Saracenic style. Currently, the Mysore Palace is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in India, next only to the majestic Taj Mahal.

About the Mysore Palace

  • Where: Mysore, India
  • When: 1897-1912
  • Who built it: Architect Lord Henry Irwin
  • Style: Indo-Saracenic style
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Indian Government
Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort

The Mehrangarh, otherwise known as Mehran Fort is one of the largest forts in India located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It was built in the 15th century by the ruler of Mandore, Rao Jodha who is also credited with the origin of Jodhpur in India. The Mehran Fort has 7 gates, with Jai Pol, Fateh Pol, Dedh Kamgra Pol and Loha Pol being the most famous. The fort also has a museum inside, housing a collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes, and furniture, along with a museum exhibiting the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period.

About the Mehrangarh Fort

  • Where: Jodhpur, India
  • When: 15th century
  • Who built it: Rao Jodha
  • Style:
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: Indian Government
The Lukshmi vilas palace

The Lukshmi vilas palace

The Laxmi Vilas Palace was the residence of the royal family of Baroda and was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, commissioning Major Charles Mant as the chief architect. The architecture followed the Indo-Saracenic Revival style that started in 1890. The palace is still the residence of the Gaekwad royal family.

About the Lukshmi vilas palace

  • Where: Baroda, India
  • When: 1890
  • Who built it: Major Charles Mant
  • Style: Indo-Saracenic Revival style
  • What is it now? Residence of the Gaekwad royal family
  • Current owner: Gaekwad royal family
Laxmi Niwas Palace

Laxmi Niwas Palace

The Laxmi Niwas Palace was commissioned by Maharajah Sir Ganga Singh to serve as his royal residence built between 1898 and 1902. It was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob in Indo-Saracenic style. At the turn of the 21st century, the palace stopped being the royal family residence and was converted into a luxury hotel owned by Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd.

About the Laxmi Niwas Palace

  • Where: Bikaner, India
  • When: 1898-1902
  • Who built it: Maharajah Sir Ganga Singh
  • Style: Indo-Saracenic style
  • What is it now? Luxury hotel
  • Current owner: Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd.

The Taj Lake Palace is a former summer palace of the royal dynasty of Mewar that was built between 1743 and 1746. Jan Niwas was the founder of this palace, and successive rulers used this as their summer resort. It boasts the Rajput architecture that Maharana Jagat Singh II of Mewar picked as the palace’s architectural style. The palace was then turned into a luxury hotel managed by the Mewar Dynasty’s head until the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces took over in 1971.

About the Taj Lake Palace

  • Where: Udaipur, India
  • When: 1743-1746
  • Who built it: Maharana Jagat Singh II of Mewar
  • Style: Rajput architecture
  • What is it now? Luxury hotel
  • Current owner: Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Jaswant Thada mausoleum

Jaswant Thada mausoleum

The Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph in Jodhpur built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State in 1899 in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II to serve as the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar. The Jaswant Thada is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble that are extremely thin and polished, emitting a warm glow when illuminated by the Sun.

About the Jaswant Thada

  • Where: Jodhpur, India
  • When: 1899
  • Who built it: Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State
  • Style: Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? Cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar
  • Current owner: Royal family of Marwar
Jal Mahal (Water Palace) on Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur, India

Jal Mahal (Water Palace) on Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur, India

Jal Mahal, literally means Water Palace is an architectural showcase of the Rajput style of architecture built in 1596 by Maharaja Madho Singh I. Although named “Water Palace”, it wasn’t intended to be a palace but was originally the Maharaja’s hunting lodge. However, during the 16th century, severe drought swept through the state of Rajasthan in northern India, forcing them to create a dam around the lodge, submerging its lower side. In the 18th century, they renovated the area, expanding it and turning it into a lake. Today, the Jal Mahal is inaccessible to tourists, and plans of converting the building into a restaurant have surfaced.

About the Jal Mahal

  • Where: Jaipur, India
  • When: 16th century
  • Who built it: Maharaja Madho Singh I
  • Style: Rajput architecture
  • What is it now? Privately owned
  • Current owner: Private owner
Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior, Madyha Pradesh, India

Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior, Madyha Pradesh, India

Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior, Madyha Pradesh, India

Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior, Madyha Pradesh, India

The Jai Vilas Palace, also known as the Jai Vilas Mahal is a nineteenth-century palace located in Gwalior, India built by Maharajadhiraj Shrimant Jayajirao Scindia Alijah Bahadur, the Maharaja of Gwalior. He founded the palace to serve as the royal family’s residence and is still currently in use by the descendants of the former royal Maratha Scindia dynasty. It was built in a combination of Italian, Corinthian and Tuscan architecture designed by Sir Michael Filose.

About the Jai Vilas Palace

  • Where: Gwalior, India
  • When: 19th century
  • Who built it: Maharajadhiraj Shrimant Jayajirao Scindia Alijah Bahadur, the Maharaja of Gwalior
  • Style: Italian, Corinthian and Tuscan architecture
  • What is it now? Still residence of the former royal Maratha Scindia family
  • Current owner: Jyotiraditya Scindia
Jahaz Mahal (called Ship Palace in english) in Mandu

Jahaz Mahal (called Ship Palace in english) in Mandu

The Jahaz Mahal, famously known as the Ship Palace is located next to Hauz-i-Shamsi in Mehrauli, Delhi. It was believed to have been built during the Lodi dynasty period to provide transit accommodation as a Sarai or inn to a vast number of pilgrims from Afghanistan, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco and Turkey who came to Delhi to visit the many Muslim shrines. Another alternate purpose of the Jahaz Mahal is to serve as a retreat for the emperors, Akbar Shah II and Bahadur Shah II and their families, during the summer months, away from the heat and dust of Delhi.

About the Jahaz Mahal

  • Where: Delhi, India
  • When: 1452–1526
  • Who built it: Mughal Dynasty
  • Style: Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? In Ruins
  • Current owner: Indian Government
Jag Mandir Palace, Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Jag Mandir Palace, Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Built on an island in the Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir, also called the “Lake Garden Palace” was built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1551 and was completed in the mid 17th century. This palace was very important to Prince Khurram who later became Emperor Shah Jahan that it became the inspiration for one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal.

About the Jag Mandir Palace

  • Where: Udaipur, India
  • When: 1551
  • Who built it: Maharana Jagat Singh I
  • Style: Rajput architecture
  • What is it now? Luxury Hotel
  • Current owner: Arvind Singh Mewar
Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) in Jaipur, India

Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) in Jaipur, India

The Hawa Mahal sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the zenana, also known as women’s chambers. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in Rajput style architecture to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city.

About the Hawa Mahal

  • Where: Jaipur, India
  • When: 1799
  • Who built it: Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh
  • Style: Rajput architecture
  • What is it now? Historical monument
  • Current owner: Indian Government
Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace

The Falaknuma is a palace located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Originally belonged to the Paigah family, it was built by Nawab Sir Viqar-ul-Umra, Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the uncle & brother-in-law of the sixth Nizam. It was then owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad later on. The Falaknuma was designed in Palladian style architecture led by William Ward Marrett to serve as the private residence of Sir Viqar-ul-Umra. Currently, the Falaknuma operates as a luxury hotel under the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

About the Falaknuma Palace

  • Where: Hyderabad, India
  • When: 1884-1893
  • Who built it: Sir Viqar-ul-Umra
  • Style: Palladian style
  • What is it now? Luxury hotel
  • Current owner: Mukarram Jah

Darwaza-i-Rauza in Chowk-i Jilo Khana

One of the components of the Taj Mahal complex, the Darwaza-i-rauza features mausoleum, the mosque and the guest pavilion. Also called as the Great Gate, this Mausoleum constructed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri under the order of Shah Jahan in 1631-1653 is listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

About the Darwaza-i-Rauza

  • Where: Agra, India
  • When: 1631-1653
  • Who built it: Shah Jahan
  • Style: Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? Mausoleum / UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Current owner: Indian Government
City Palace In Udaipur, India

City Palace In Udaipur, India

City Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

City Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

The City Palace of Udaipur located in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan was built in the 16th century by the city founder Maharana Udai Singh II following the Rajput style architecture. The City Palace was opened to the public as the City Palace Museum in 1969 and managed to retain its glorious form.

About the City Palace of Udaipur

  • Where: Udaipur, India
  • When: 16th century
  • Who built it: Maharana Udai Singh II
  • Style: Rajput architecture
  • What is it now? City Palace Museum / Open to the public
  • Current owner: Arvind Singh Mewar and Mahendra Singh Mewar

The Bangalore Palace located in Bangalore, Karnataka, India is famous for its remarkable Tudor Revival style architecture. The architect who worked on the palace’s design is still unclear. The property was bought by the British Guardians of the minor Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar X from Rev. J. Garrett who owned the area where the palace is located. Using their personal funds, Chamarajendra Wadiyar’s British Guardians transformed the place into a mixture of Tudor and Scottish Gothic architecture that resulted in a jaw-dropping grand palace that we see today.

About the Bangalore Palace

  • Where: Bangalore, India
  • When: 1878
  • Who built it: Chamarajendra Wadiyar’s British Guardians
  • Style: Tudor Revival style
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: HH Pramoda Devi Wadiyar
Amber Fort courtyard in Jaipur Rajasthan, India

Amber Fort courtyard in Jaipur Rajasthan, India

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Located in Amer, Rajasthan, India, Amber Fort is an artistic mix of Rajput and Mughal architecture that was built in 1592. It was founded over the former fort standing on the site, constructed to serve as the residence of its Rajput rulers. The successive rulers of the Amber Fort added modifications and improvements until it became the fort that is known today. Amber Fort is currently part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About the Amber Fort

  • Where: Jaipur, India
  • When: 1592
  • Who built it: Maharaja Man Singh I
  • Style: Mix of Rajput and Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? UNESCO World Heritage Site / Open to the public
  • Current owner: Government of Rajasthan
Aga Khan palace in Pune, India

Aga Khan palace in Pune, India

Located in Pune, India, The Aga Khan Palace was built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III where Mahatma Gandhi and other prominent nationalist leaders were interned by the British following Gandhi’s Quit India campaign in 1942. Legend says that Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III built this palace as an act of charity, helping the poor people of Pune who were hit by famine drastically as he employed 1000 people to construct the palace.

About the Aga Khan Palace

  • Where: Pune, India
  • When: 1892
  • Who built it: Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III
  • Style: Mughal architecture
  • What is it now? Headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society / Monument of National Importance
  • Current owner: Indian Nation

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