Top palaces and forts to explore in Rajasthan

Mehrangarh Fort

If you’re planning a trip to Rajasthan in India you’ll have many amazing attractions to explore, but perhaps some of the state’s most striking monuments are its palaces and forts. There are many of these worth discovering on your getaway, but we’ve singled out a few of the best.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort
The fort is situated 400 feet (122 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Wikipedia

The Mehrangarh Fort is one of the most stunning buildings in Jodhpur, with the enclave perched on the edge of a sheer cliff that overlooks the city. It dates back to the mid-15th century and within its walls are the Maharaja’s palace, numerous temples and ornate gardens.

What’s remarkable about this place is that the Maharaja of Jodhpur still lives in the palace, although some of it has been converted into a hotel and other chambers are a museum. The Mirror Hall and Flower Hall are two of the most spectacular rooms open to visitors.

Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner

Lalgarh Palace is a recent addition to the beautiful desert city of Bikaner, having been constructed in the early part of the 20th century. As a result, you can see the influence of many European architectural styles, with Italian colonnades and intricate latticework among the building’s features.

The three-storey red sandstone palace is the home of the Bikaner royal family, while in the west wing you’ll find the Shri Sadul Museum and the fourth-largest private library on the planet.

City Palace, Udaipur

The City Palace is just one of several stunning buildings worth exploring in Udaipur – we’ll talk about another of these in a minute. This particular structure sits on the shores of Pichola Lake and has been added to over the years since its initial construction in the 16th century.

There are actually multiple palaces within this one vast complex, making it the largest in Rajasthan. You’ll notice Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles are combined throughout the buildings, while there are charming quadrangles and beautiful gardens concealed among the many temples and palaces.

Lake Palace, Udaipur

The Lake Palace sits on a 1.5 hectare island in the middle of Pichola Lake and is fairytale-like in its design and location. It was built in the mid-18th century as a royal summer residence by Maharana Jagat Singh and covers the entire island, so it appears that the white marble building is rising up out of the water.

The Lake Palace has since been converted into a luxury hotel, which is the perfect place for a romantic night away if you’re planning a holiday to India as a couple.

Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest such enclaves in the world, making it a real sight to behold. There are four huge gateways that provide access to the complex, where you’ll find the Raj Mahal (or royal palace), numerous temples, eateries, shops and homes.

What makes this fort so impressive, aside from its size, is that it’s been continuously inhabited since its construction in the 12th century. Approximately one-quarter of the city’s population still lives within these vast sandstone walls, making this a living heritage site that’s a real delight to explore.

Some of the most striking homes are the havelis, which were constructed centuries ago by wealthy merchants. It’s possible to go inside some of these elaborate houses, although you’ll usually need to pay an additional entry fee to do so.

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