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    Photo credit: Piyush Kumar - flickr

    India is blessed with a number of temples, forts and monuments. However, one of the most intriguing attractions for foreign and domestic tourists is experiences that define royalty in the country.

    Rich in history, some of the palaces in the country offer tourists an interesting insight into the royal culture. Out of the many states in India, Rajasthan is the first name that comes to mind when you talk about palaces. The beautiful golden sands of the state welcome you and take you on a journey into history with its spectacular forts and palaces.

    These erstwhile royal abodes are still reminiscent of the glorious era that has passed by. A walk through the corridors of these forts and palaces is magical. Although their occupants have long gone, you can still feel their presence in walls, pictures, artefacts and paintings. As beautiful as they are, they also provide valuable information regarding the heritage and erstwhile royalty of India. With some of the Royal India tour packages, you can experience opulence and royalty at its best.

    Before Indian Independence, there were as many as 565 kingdoms. The richest and grandest among all these kingdoms were that of Rajputs who occupied the state of Rajasthan. Similarly, the Nizams of Hyderabad had opulent palaces. During the British Raj, a large number of summer houses were also built in almost all the hill stations of the country.

    After independence, most of these summer houses were acquired by the royal crowd and converted into palaces. As a part of royal India tour packages, you can catch a glimpse of the regal era that once thrived in India.

    The royal heritage of our country is as intriguing as it is interesting. It is for this reason that hundreds and thousands of tourists from foreign countries flock to India to witness these marvelous creations.

    India's most beautiful and opulent locations:


    Photo credit: Russ Bowling - flickr

    The land of the Rajputs is one of the favourite places of every architecture and Indian heritage lover. Beautiful palaces; lovely golden sand dunes, camels, colourful outfits of the people, traditional song and dance -- everything about Rajasthan is a traveller’s delight. From Dal Baati Churma to camel rides, Rajasthan is a true delight.

    The scorching summer heat may get to you but the beautiful land compensates you with cool and breezy nights. Shop to your heart’s content in the local markets and pick yourself an antique or a traditional craft work. A journey to India is incomplete without visiting mystical Rajasthan.

    [Visit some of the most famous places while on holiday in Rajasthan]

    The palaces of Rajasthan are magical. They take you on a transcendental journey to the time when the land was ruled by Rajput kings. Proud, chivalrous and brave, the Rajputs are hailed till today as the bravest warriors this country has seen. The magnificent palaces of Rajputs are the only remnants of their heritage.

    There are several palaces in Rajasthan. From Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, you can find a number of palaces which are not just remnants of the glorious past but also great specimens of architectural excellence. The experience is absolutely incredible and it is probably for this reason that Rajasthan forms an integral part of any of the Royal India tour packages.

    1. Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur

    The Jai Mahal Palace was built in 1745 and is a fine specimen of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Once the residence of the Prime Minister of Jaipur, this palace has now been restored and is operated by the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces. It became India’s first palace hotel when it opened its doors to guests in 1955. The hotel today has about 100 rooms and six suites. The interiors will take you back to the colonial age.

    [Learn and experience the culture of Jaipur as you visit the local markets and experience the colourful streets]

    Each room is beautifully furnished and fully equipped with all modern amenities. The deluxe rooms of the hotel are decked up in the traditional Rajasthani decor. Original paintings by renowned artists adorn the walls of the room.

    Extreme care has been taken to provide a comfortable and luxurious ambience to the guests. The luxury rooms of the hotel are a treat to the eyes. Swathed in a beautiful turquoise and red scheme, the decor of the rooms is a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary styles.

    The hotel also has luxury rooms with sit outs and boasts of plush decor and all modern amenities. Each deluxe suite has a distinct theme and layout which reflect the Rajasthani culture and heritage.

    The Deluxe Premium Suites are rich and lavish and reflect the opulence of the royalty. The Jai Mahal Palace also offers recreational activities that are fit for a king. The activities include horse riding, golf and sightseeing in Ramgarh.

    2. The Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

    The Rambagh Palace is often referred to as the ‘Pride of Jaipur’. This palace too has been acquired by the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces and is one of the most magnificent and opulent palaces of Jaipur. Today, it stands as one of the most important palace hotels of the country. Nestled amidst 47 acres of gardens, the Rambagh Palace was the venue for Katy Perry’s wedding with Russell Brand.

    [Explore the majestic forts and palaces of while touring in Rajasthan on your holiday]

    The beautiful Rambagh Palace offers luxury and palace rooms, historical suites, royal suites, grand royal suites and grand presidential suites. The hotel arranges various recreational activities for its guests. The activities include Landmark Spotting, local shopping, vintage car rides, sports and other activities.

    3. The Raj Palace, Jaipur

    The Raj Palace is one of the world’s leading heritage hotels and the oldest mansions of Jaipur. The hotel has been awarded the title of the ‘World’s Leading Heritage Hotel’ by the World Travel Awards four times in a row from 1997 to 2001. The hotel was also awarded the Best Heritage Hotel Award by the Indian Department of Tourism.

    The hotel is a boutique hotel with only suites and has a multi-cuisine restaurant, an antique crockery museum, spa and Ayurvedic rejuvenation centre.

    The most interesting fact about the hotel is that the gorgeous and exquisitely opulent Durbar Mahal suite of the palace which won the award for being ‘Asia’s Leading Suite’ in the World Travel Awards 2008, was used by the Maharaja himself. This beautiful palace is located to the north of the old city, near the Amber Fort.

    [Get the full Indian heritage and cultural experience - The Best of Rajasthan]

    The hotel arranges for royal safari trips to nearby palaces such as Jai Mahal and Amber Fort. Being situated in Jaipur, the Raj Palace is situated near several popular tourist destinations such as the Hawa Mahal, the Jantar Mantar, the City Palace, the Rambagh Palace, the Jai Mahal and the Albert Hall Museum. Guests can also enjoy camel and elephant safaris organised by the hotel.

    Apart from these hotels, there are several other luxury and heritage hotels in Rajasthan which can give you a glimpse of the beautiful history of Rajasthan and the lives of the royalty who lived in these palaces earlier. Some of the other popular palace hotels in Rajasthan include The Raj Mahal Hotel, the Hari Mahal Hotel, the Samode Palace, etc.

    For those looking for more economical accommodations but do not want to miss out anything on the history and heritage of the hotels, there are places such as the Alsisar Haveli, the Naila Bagh Palace and Hotel Umaid Bhawan.

    4. City Palace Complex, Jaipur

    Photo credit: Richard Moross flickr - flickr

    The City Palace Complex comprises of the Chandra Mahal and the Mubarak Mahal and is situated in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan. The palace had served as the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur and was built in between 1729 and 1732. The Chandra Mahal now has a museum in it but a major portion of it still serves as the royal residence.

    [Visit enchanting forts & old havelis of Rajasthan, Agra and Delhi on our Golden Triangle tour]

    The Mubarak Mahal exhibits a unique architectural style which is a fusion of the Mughal, Rajput and European architectural styles. It was built in the late 19th century by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. Besides the Chandra Mahal and the Mubarak Mahal, the complex consists of the Diwan-I-Khas, the Diwan-I-Aam, the Maharani Palace, the Bhaggi Khana, the Govind Ji Temple etc.

    5. Bagore Ki Haveli, Udaipur

    Photo credit: travelwayoflife - flickr

    For those interested in history and architecture, Bagore ki Haveli in Udaipur is a fine specimen. The haveli was built in the 18th century by the Prime Minister of Mewar, Chand Badwa. The palace has more than hundred rooms with exquisite glass work and mirror work decorations on the wall. It also has a collection of invaluable Mewar paintings.

    [Experience the royalty of India and live like the kings on a tour in Rajasthan]

    Initially, the Western Zone Cultural Centre had planned to renovate the haveli and make it a museum that preserved the cultures of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Rajasthan. However, the architectural splendour of the haveli was later retained and the museum now showcases the aristocratic culture of Mewar.

    Besides 138 rooms, the Bagore ki Haveli has numerous balconies, courtyards, corridors and terraces. The interiors of the haveli are embellished with attractive glass work and fine frescoes of the Mewari style.

    6. Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake, Udaipur

    Photo Credit: Uri Sittan Tripo - wikicommons

    Lake Pichola is an artificial fresh water lake situated in the city of Udaipur. The lake was created in 1362 AD and is one of the many contiguous lakes that have been created or developed around Udaipur.

    These lakes were primarily created to meet the irrigations and domestic use needs of the people of the city. There are two islands called the Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir located in the Pichola Lake. There are two palaces on these islands-The Lake Palace on Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir on the island with the same name.

    [Experience the beautiful city of Udaipur and the spledour of the Golden Triangle]

    The Fateh Sagar Lake is another major attraction of the city of Udaipur. Udaipur is called the City of Lakes and the Fateh Sagar lake is believed to be the pride of the city.

    The Fateh Sagar Lake too is an artificial lake which was created in 1678 by Maharana to the north of the Pichola Lake. Apart from tourism, the lake is also of much religious significance. Every year in the month of Shravan, a festival called the Hariyali Amavasya Mela is held on the banks of the lake.

    7. Monsoon Palace, Udaipur

    The Monsoon Palace is another one of the major attractions of the city of Udaipur. Formerly known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, the palace overlooks the Fateh Sagar Lake. The palace was named after Maharana Sajjan Singh of the Mewar Dynasty and was built in 1884.

    [Along with grand palaces, experience the wildlife of Rajasthan]

    Due to its ideal location, the palace enables its visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful lakes and the surrounding countryside. It is believed that the Maharana built the palace at the present location so as to get a view of his ancestral home in Chittorgarh. The palace served as the shooting location for the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy.

    8. Udai Bagh, Udaipur

    [Take a cultural and heritage walk in Udaipur and see a different side of the city]

    The Udai Bagh hotel in Udaipur is one of the most beautiful heritage hotels in the country. In fact, the heritage hotel is a unit of the Hotel Udaikothi. Situated at a distance of just 10 minutes from Hotel Udaikothi, the Udai Bagh hotel offers the best in comfort and luxury. Located in the midst of the Aravalli mountains, the Udai Bagh hotel in Udaipur has a beautiful garden and designer tents. Each tent is furnished with antique furniture and luxurious furnishings.

    9. Jhalamand Garh, Jodhpur

    The Jhalamand Garh castle is situated on the outskirts of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. It was constructed in the 18th century and is surrounded by the village Jhalamand Garh. The palace belongs to the Sisodia clan of Mewar and was shifted to Marwar. For his services rendered to Jodhpur state, the Jagir of Jhalamand was gifted to Thakur Gambhir Singhji Sahib.

    10. Kesar Bagh, Jojawar

    The Kesar Bagh property was built after the Rawla Jojawar. It represents the true tradition of Rajput hospitality. The word ‘bagh’ denotes a large estate like property. Situated in the foothills of the Aravalli Hills, the building was recreated by the present Rao Sahib of Jojawar. Enjoy vintage car rides, service with uniformed butlers and strolls in luxurious fruit orchards at the Kesar Bagh.

    11. Khandwa Haveli, Jaipur

    The Khandwa Haveli is the oldest heritage hotel in the city of Jaipur. The haveli was an old bungalow which has now been converted into a hotel. Apart from offering comfortable accommodation, the haveli showcases artifacts and hand painted frescoes and miniature paintings. The beautiful collection of artefacts and art items also draws art lovers to the haveli throughout the year.

    12. Rohet Garh, Jaipur

    The Rohet Garh fort was built in 1622 AD. The fort was bestowed upon Thakur Dalpit Singh I for his exemplary service to the Rathores of Rajasthan. The Rohet Garh Fort holds its place in history and is considered as one of the most important fiefdoms belonging to the state of Marwar.

    13. Fort Pachewar Garh, Pachewar

    The Pachewar Garh was built about 300 years ago. The fort at present has been converted to a family run heritage hotel. The massive ramparts imposing gates and spacious apartments highlight its beauty. The Pachewar Garh is known for its natural beauty and presents a live  sign of rural tourism.

    14. The Jaipur House, Mount Abu

    Situated in Mt. Abu the Jaipur House was built by Maharaja Ram Singh. The present Maharaja of Jaipur, Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh, and her highness Maharani Padmini Devi converted the palace into a luxurious heritage hotel.

    [Discover captivating past and the amazing present of India with a holiday in Rajasthan]

    It provides facilities of international standards with the refined milieu of the interiors carried throughout the rooms.   The Jaipur House offers its guests the finest of facilities in a royal way.

    15. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

    Photo credit: Ajajr101 - wikimedia

    Located at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, the Umaid Bhawan palace is one of the world’s largest private residencies. It is managed by the Taj Hotels and is a popular destination in any of the royal India tour packages. The palace is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh. The palace serves as the principal residence of the royal family of Jodhpur. It has more than 347 rooms . It was previously known as Chittar palace.


    16. Kuthira Malika,Thiruvananthapuram

    Vizhinjam Beach at Thiruvananthapuram

    Photo credit: Thejas Panarkandy - flickr

    Puthen Malika palace also known as the Kuthira Malika is located on the south-eastern side of the famous Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. It was built by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma.

    [Discover the natural beauty of God's own country with our Kerala eco tour]

    The name of this palace is derived from the 122 horses that are carved into the wooden walls of the palace. It was built in 1840 and forms a part of royal buildings near the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

    17. Matancherry Palace, Kochi

    The Matanchery palace was built by the Portugese in the mid 16th century. The palace was in turn gifted to the local Rajah as compensation for a temple that was destroyed by the Dutch. It was also called the Dutch palace. It is a two storied building and has a small temple located in the central courtyard. The building contains the weapons and clothes from the Rajahs of Kochi.    

    Jammu and Kashmir

    18. Amar Mahal Palace, Chak Rakwalan


    Photo credit: RameshSharma1 - flickr

    The Amar Mahal palace is located in Jammu and Kashmir was built in the nineteenth century for Raja Amar Singh by a French Chateau. It was later converted into a museum after it was donated to the Hari-Tara charitable trust by Dr Karan Singh.

    The golden throne weighing 120kg is one of the chief exhibits of this museum. It has library with 25,000 antique books and many rare art collections. Situated in the right bank of river Tawri, the palace was the last official residence of the Dogra Rajas.

    19. Leh Palace

    Photo Credit: Drmaliktariq - wikicommons

    The Leh palace is situated in South Leh and was once the world’s highest building. It was modelled after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It was built in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal but was abandoned after the Dogra forces took control of Ladakh. The Leh Palace is a nine storey building.

    [Take an adventurous road trip to Ladakh - An overland journey to Ladakh]

    The palace is being restored by the Archaeological survey of India. The palace is open to the public and provides views of Leh and its surrounding areas.

    Andhra Pradesh

    20. Hill Fort Palace, Hyderabad

    The Hill Fort Palace is located near the Naubat Pahad in the Nampally district, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Its spreads over 6.5 acres of land and is the home of Prince Muazzam Jah. It was built in 1915 by Sir Nizamat Jung. It now functions as the Ritz Hotel.


    21. Shaniwar Wada, Pune

    Photo credit: Ashok Bagade - wikicommons

    The Shaniwar Wada is located in the city of Pune in Maharashtra and was built in 1746. It belonged to the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818. The fort was almost destroyed in an fire explained in 1828. The palace became the centre of Indian politics in 18th century.

    [Find out more about our tours and experience Maharashtra like you never have before]


    22. Maharaja Palace, Vadodara

    Photo Credit: Emmanuel Dyan - flickr

    The Maharaja Palace was constructed when the Gaekwad family started ruling the state of Vadodara. It refers to a bevy of palaces in Vadodara. The Sakar Wada was the first building to be constructed. The Lakshmi Vilas palace built by Maharaja Sayajirao in 1890 is one of the most decorated places with a rich collection of antiques namely armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble and terracotta.     

    Tamil Nadu

    23. Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanyakumari

    Photo credit: Aviatorjk - wikicommons

    [Find out more about the tours in Tamil Nadu that would complete your holiday]

    The Padmanabhapuram Palace is located in Thuckalay, situated in Kanya Kumari District, Tamil nadu. It is about 20 km from Nagercoil, and about 50 kilometers from Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala. Located at the foot of Veli Hills, the palace was constructed in 1601 AD by Ravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Venad between 1592 and 1609. The palace consists of several structures like the Mannarasala, the kottaram. King’s council chamber is the most beautiful part of the palace.

    Mysore, Karnataka

    Another destination in the country which is known for its palaces and royal grandeur is Mysore. Mysore is the third largest city in the state of Karnataka. This beautiful city is situated on the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, Mysore is situated at a distance of 146 km from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka.

    The princely kingdom of Mysore was under the reign of the Wodeyar dynasty, except in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan emerged as illustrious leaders of the region.

    24. The Mysore Palace

    Photo credit: Kelman Chiang

    The Palace of Mysore also known as the Amba Vilas Palace served as the official residence of the Wodeyars, who had ruled the princely state for more than seven centuries and are a must visit in most royal India tour packages.

    The first palace was built by the Wodeyar kings in the 14th century; however it was demolished and reconstructed several times. The present structure was completed in 1912 and further modifications were made to it in 1940.

    [Visit the beautiful palaces of Mysore on our city of palaces tour]

    The Mysore Palace is second only to the Taj Mahal in terms of tourist interest. The Mysore Palace is a stunning specimen of the Indo-Saracenic architecture and has been prepared by blending Gothic, Rajput, Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. The palace has a central dome and is three-storied. One of the towers of the palace has about 145 stories.

    The palace was built using grey granite with deep pink marble domes. A British architect, Henry Irwin, was roped in by the then Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana to complete the work of the palace.

    The palace is surrounded by an expansive and extremely beautiful garden. Above the central arch of the palace, an exquisite statue of the goddess of wealth and prosperity Goddess Gajalakshmi is carved.

    [Experience an open jeep tour of Mysore - Tippu's trail jeep tour]

    The Mysore Palace serves as the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival every year. The festival is the most extravagant celebration in the city and is held in the months of September and October every year. The festival has been celebrated in the city by the Wodeyars since 1610 and even after all these years there has been no change in the gaiety and fervour during the festival.

    The Mysore Palace has some very interesting rooms such as the Amba Vilas, which was used by the king for a private audience. The Gombe Thottil or Doll’s Pavilion has a gallery of dolls dressed in traditional attire from the 19th century and early twentieth century.

    The Kalyana Mandapam is a grand marriage hall with stained glass panels and peacock motifs. The palace complex has about 12 temples within its premises.

    25. Jaganmohan Palace


    Photo credit: Ryan - flickr

    The Jaganmohan Palace is another architectural masterpiece built under the patronage of the Wodeyar dynasty. The palace has served as the residence of the royal family when the Mysore Palace was under construction.

    The Jaganmohan Palace has been renovated and is now being used as an art gallery and function hall. The palace was constructed in 1861 by King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II to house the royal family, after the Mysore Palace was destroyed in a fire.

    The coronation of King Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar was also held in the Jaganmohan Palace. In 1915, the palace was converted to an art gallery and was renamed as Shri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. The palace has also been used as a function hall.

    The early convocation ceremonies of the Mysore University were held in this hall and the first session of the Legislative Council of the Mysore State was also held here in 1907.

    [Visit some of the colonial landmarks on a walking tour in Mysore]

    The beautiful palace has been built in the traditional Hindu architecture style. The interiors of the palace have been adorned with spectacular murals.

    These murals were prepared using vegetable dyes and are the earliest known specimens of the Mysore style of painting. The murals depict scenes of Dasara. The family tree of the Wodeyars is also painted on one of the walls.

    The present day art gallery houses the largest collection of artefacts in South India. The gallery has about 2000 paintings, many of which are works of Raja Ravi Varma.

    The others are from different schools of paintings such as Mughal, Shantiniketan and Mysore. Apart from paintings, other items such as brassware, sculptures, antique coins, musical instruments and weapons of war have been put on display in the gallery.

    26. Jayalakshmi Vilas

    The Jayalakshmi Vilasa isn’t a palace, but is one of the most important buildings in Mysore. The mansion was built by the King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV for Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani, who was the eldest daughter of the Maharaja Chama raja Wodeyar. The Princess was later married to Sirdar M Kantharaj who became the Dewan of Mysore.

    The mansion was built to commensurate the status of the Princess and the Dewan. The mansion is located amidst the lush green surroundings of the Manasagangothri and is located on a hillock on the western bank of the Kukkarahalli Kere or Lake. Presently, the mansion serves as a gallery for huge collection of priceless artefacts and has been declared as a heritage building by the Karnataka government.

    [Experience old world glory of the city on a walking tour in Mysore]

    The mansion, which was built in 1905, was originally called the First Princess Mansion. The Dewan of Mysore had a house in the Fort of the Palace, which was known as the Gunamba House.

    The Jayalakshmi Vilasam was later on acquired by the University of Mysore and large scale renovations were done which incurred expenses to the tune of Rs 1.17 crores. The renovation work, which spread over a period of four years, was also funded by the Infosys Foundation.

    The Jayalakshmi Vilasam is primarily made of brick and mortar, timber and iron. The renovated building has as many as 287 beautifully carved doors, 300 windows and 125 rooms.

    27. Lalitha Mahal

    The Lalitha Mahal is another one of the architectural masterpieces bestowed by the Wodeyar dynasty. It is the second largest palace in Mysore and is strikingly distinct in terms of colour scheme and architectural style. The palace was built on the orders of King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV for an exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India.

    The palace is modelled on the lines of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and is, undoubtedly, one of the finest structures in Mysore. It was converted into a heritage hotel in 1974 and is currently being operated by the Ashoka Group of the India Tourism Development Corporation. However, the group has retained the original ambience of the palace in order to provide a royal experience to its guests.

    [Discover historical sites of Mysore on bicycle on a vintage Mysore cycling tour]

    The Lalitha Mahal is of particular interest due to its interesting architectural style. Modelled on the lines of the St. Paul’s Church in London, the palace was planned by an architect from Bombay, EW Fritchley, and built by B Munivekatappa.

    The palace uses architectural styles of the English manor houses and Italian palazzos. The palace has two stories and the supporting structure of the palace is a double Ionic column.

    A breathtaking view of the Chamundi Hills and the Mysore city can be enjoyed from the Lalitha Mahal. The interiors of the palace have been adorned with full length portraits of Wodeyar Kings, Belgian crystal chandeliers, Italian marble floors, cut glass lamps, mosaic tiles, heavy furniture and exotic Persian carpets.

    28. Rajendra Vilas

    The Rajendra Vilasa is another architectural masterpiece bestowed upon the state by the Wodeyar dynasty. The stunning architectural style, craftsmanship and fine detailing make the Rajendra Vilasa palace a must-visit.

    The palace is situated on top of the Chamundi Hills at an elevation of about 1,000 feet. It is believed that there was another building in place of the Rajendra Vilasa around 1822, which served as a summer retreat for the Wodeyar royal family.

    [Experience the night life of Mysore on foot with our tours we offer!]

    According to popular belief, this building was the place where King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV received lessons in philosophy and English. However, this building was brought down and the King conceptualised the plan for the Rajendra Vilasa in the early 1920s.

    The palace was commissioned by the king in 1938 -1939. Although, many elaborate plans were made regarding the construction of the palace, several ideas had to be dropped and the construction has to be downscaled due to paucity of funds.

    29. Royal Horse Safaris

    Photo credit: Ville Hyvönen - flickr

    To complete your experience of regality especially in Mysore, an integral part of any royal india tour packages is a royal horse safari. You must experience the Royal Horse Safaris hosted by Maharaj Kumari Meenakshi Devi and her son.

    You get to choose from the finest thoroughbred and half-bred horses from the stable of the Maharajkumari. The horses are of Indian bred Marwari and Kathiawari lineage and were once used in races. Although they have retired from the races, these horses still offer an excellent riding experience.

    The best time to enjoy this ride is between the months of October and March. During this time, the city of Mysore experiences the best weather and the terrain is much more navigable.

    The horses have grooms who check on the horses in every 10 to 15 km and take care of them through grooming, saddling, unsaddling, feeding, brushing etc.

    [Want to explore India on a horseback? Read more in our guide to horse riding in India]

    In Rajasthan too, Royal horse safaris are usually conducted in regions with desert wildlife, rural areas of the state or in hilly regions. Guests are asked to dress in the conventional Jodhpuri breeches, hats and boots for the ride.

    The best part about this particular package is that you get to ride the best of horses and experience royalty in its finest. The Royal Horse Safari is an exhilarating experience. You can view a large number of important landmarks ranging from the Jain Temples of Ranakpur to the Cloud Palace.

    This exciting ride through the beautiful countryside of Rajasthan will enable you to experience Rajasthan, its royal heritage and local culture like never before. For long safari rides, it is advisable that only experienced people or those who know horse-riding undertake the activity.

    The safaris usually last for at least 4 to 5 hours. Furthermore, it is advisable to take some time and get acquainted with the horse and train yourself for the ride. The Royal Horse Safari covers the Mehrangarh Fort, Desert tracts, Wildlife and Bishnoi village, secluded palaces, lush green countryside and hilly tracts of Kumbalgarh sanctuaries.

    30. Royal Desert Safaris

    Enjoy an evening in the desert like the royalty once did. It is believed that the Mughal Emperor Jahangir initiated the trend of desert safaris. During a trip to Kashmir for summer retreat, the Emperor halted in the desert and set up his camp.

    The camp had all the facilities that the Emperor needed. This trend was then carried on by the Rajput rulers who set up camps in the desert and arranged for food, drinks and entertainment during hunting trips, outdoor evenings, marriage parties and royal gatherings.

    [Experience the Thar desert life in a desert safari at Jaisalmer]

    From being just an accommodation for the night, desert safaris became a reason for celebration. You too can enjoy a night on the beautiful golden sands of the desert, under the starlit sky.

    There are several packages available that offer accommodation, food and entertainment. Furthermore, you can go on excursions led by experienced guides to some really beautiful offbeat destinations in the desert.

    Photo credit: rajkumar1220 - flickr

    [Enjoy camel riding in Thar desert on a full day desert safari tour]

    You can choose from long and short excursions. The short excursions are in places near the campsite. There will not be a landmark or monument to admire, but the wonderful way of life of the people of the desert will instill awe and admiration in you.

    The longer trips lead to Khichan, which is home to a large number of migratory birds from October to March. As many as 8,000 to 10,000 birds can be seen in the region during the winter season.

    31. Royal India Train Journeys

    For those who are interested in visiting historical buildings during a trip to Rajasthan, the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels is a must-have experience. The Palace on Wheels is an experience that you will never forget. The interiors of the train reflect the richness and opulence of the Rajputs.

    Exquisitely furnished interiors, spacious lounge, comfortable bar cum lounge and restaurant cars that dish out lip smacking Rajasthani, Continental and Chinese dishes are the epitome of luxury and lavishness in this train which is also called the ‘Golden Chariot’.

    The Palace on Wheels train starts from the Safdarjung Railway Station and traverses into the beautiful state of Rajasthan every Wednesday night. Turbaned Khidmatgars await your orders and serve you in a manner that makes you feel no less than a king.

    [Read more about the 4 best luxury trains Rajasthan has to offer]

    The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels through Rajasthan is a delight. The beautiful culture, traditions and heritage unfold before your eyes as you delve deeper and deeper into the secrets of the state. The beautiful palaces and forts of Rajasthan are reminiscent of the glory of the Rajputs and the grandeur of the era that has passed.

    Another such wonderful journey is offered by the Indian Maharaja or the Deccan Odyssey. The train offers a weeklong journey that covers important tourist destinations in Maharashtra and North India.

    The Deccan Odyssey or the Indian Maharaja is a train that is run in joint venture by the Ministry of Railways and the Maharashtra Tourist Development Corporation.

    The train is the epitome of luxury and comfort. It has about 21 coaches and two Presidential suites. The most attractive feature of the train is that it has a Spa Car to add to the luxury of the passengers.

    Train journeys for tourists are a popular offering in India. Apart from these major trains, some of the other tourist trains in India include the toy trains of Shimla and Darjeeling.

    For tourists who love the old world charm, the Shimla toy train and the Darjeeling toy train are the best options. Other trains that play an important role in connecting the tourist circuit in the country include the Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express and other luxury trains of India that must be included in any royal India tour packages.



Corbett National Park

Expanded over an area of 308 sq km, Jim Corbett National Park was established in the year 1936 and is one of the oldest national parks in the country. Situated at the base of the magnificent Himalayas, it is the first Tiger Reserve in the country and stands to be one of the most popular weekend getaways from Delhi. Though visitors are allowed to certain parts of the reserve, the park makes for a fun and exciting wildlife tour.

The national park is the perfect place for those wildlife species that seek refuge in its wonderfully green thickets. As the first national park to introduce and execute the ‘Project tiger’ campaign, Corbett national Park has been repeatedly termed as one of the best national parks in the country! So get your cameras and binoculars ready to go wildlife exploring soon!

Distance from Delhi: 254km

Best time to visit: November to June

Attractions: Bengal Tigers, Indian Elephant, Wild Buffaloes, Leopards, Crocodiles and Gharials

Activities: Jeep Safari, Elephant Safari, Wildlife Tours and nature photography


Lal Tibba

In the local language, Lal Tibba means the Red Hill. This is said to be the oldest and the most populated place in Mussoorie. The place is known for its scenic beauty courtesy the pleasant sunrise and sunset that leave the visitors spell bound. Do carry woolens irrespective of the month of the visit.

Location: It is situated in the Landour area and lies at an altitude of 8000 metre above the sea level.

Highlights: Lal Tibba is even famous as the Depot Hill because of the presence of a depot here. Besides this there is camp of the Indian Military services, All India Radio and Doordarshan. Hills of the Lal Tibba are also popular amongst the shoppers as there are a number of markets in the nearby areas.

Best Time: The best and the most ideal time to visit Lal Tibba is the summer months of March and June. Avoid travel during the monsoon months as there maybe leeches here.

Valley of Flowers Trek

Amongst all the exhilarating trekking in Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand, the trek to the Valley of Flowers is known to be the most enchanting and mesmeric. Discovered in 1931 by Frank Smith, a vivid botanist, explorer and mountaineer, the locals still believes the valley to be the abode of the angels and fairies.

The mystical and heavenly appearance, mesmeric beauty and the splendid outlook of the valley make it such.
Originating from Ghangria; on the foothills of the Western Himalayas, this fascinating trek comprises of rugged terrains, narrow passages, enticing views of the nearby peaks and steep climbs.

 Ascending the strenuous terrains, it takes around a few hours to reach the main valley and upon reaching the flat land, one should spend enough time exploring and witnessing the wonders of the nature.

Best season:
 Mid July to Mid August

 6 Days

 3,600 m


Visit the adventure capital of India, the marvelous and thrilling city of Rishikesh on your next vacation with your friends and family!  The 'Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas', Rishikesh is located at the base of the Himalayas and is blessed with the gorgeous, thundering river of Ganga, the popular trek friendly rugged terrains, challenging peaks, strenuous rapids and dense forests! If you are an ardent traveler, then Rishikesh makes for one of the most ideal weekend getaways near Delhi.

Being one of the holiest cities in India, Rishikesh is quite famous for its scenic landscape and serves as a gateway to other important religious centers such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The adventurer paradise is a happening hub of many ancient temples and attractions such as Gita Bhawan, Laxman Jhula, Bharat Mandir, Neelkanth Mahadev, Swarga Ashram, Triveni Ghat amongst others! Grab your cameras and adventure gear and head to Rishikesh for an adventure packed holiday!

Distance from Delhi: 228km

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Attractions: Triveni Ghat, Ram and Lakshman Jhula, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and Vashista Cave

Activities: River Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Camping, Rappelling, Rock Climbing and Trekking 



If lush green plains and misty clouds allure you to nestle in a hammock and read a good book, far away from the city life then you need to head to Nainital, a stellar getaway place near Delhi for trekkers and nature lovers alike! Situated in the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayan ranges, Nainital is also known as the 'Lake District' of India.

 It has also been termed as a pious place for Hindus and is one of the most popular hill stations near Delhi due to its fascinating hills, picturesque plains, enjoyable climate and stunning lakes.  Adventurers engage in trekking activities and hike to the top of the beautiful hills just to witness the beautiful view and the wispy sky.

Distance from Delhi: 278km

Best time to visit: March to June and October to February.

Attractions: Nainital Lake, Governor's House, Eco Cave Gardens, Naini Peak and Snow View Point

Activities: Lake Visits, Village and Wildlife tours, Cable Car Rides, Rock Climbing and Trekking


Chopta-Tungnath Trek

Chopta Tungnath trek is a relatively unexplored trekking destination, which is known for its mesmerizing scenic beauty. The trek towards Tungnath, the 3 from Tungnath takes you to Chandrashila, which is situated at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level.

Chopta is blessed with rich flora and fauna as it is located in the midst of dense forests, with a beautiful floor of rhododendrons, interspersed by deodar and pine trees. During the first one and half kilometers, you will pass through a sea of brightly coloured rhododendrons and silver oak forests. Following this the vista opens to green alpine meadows which take you to the Tungnath temple.

According to folklore, the arms of Lord Shiva are believed to have emerged here. On trekking a kilometer further ahead, you will reach the Chandrashila peak from where you get spectacular views of the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas glistening in the sun rays. The grassy meadows of the region make it an ideal spot for camping too.

Chopta is well-connected by roadways connecting Guptakashi and Gopeshwar. The weather is lovely and the views are simply breathtaking.

Best season: May to June and August to September

Duration: 3 Days

Altitude: 3680 m



Known as the ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’, Mussoorie is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and was discovered by Captain Young in the 18th century. It serves as a perfect getaway to escape from the heat of Delhi summers and is located at an altitude of 2000m above sea level. Mussoorie has its emerald hills enveloped in thick, rich greenery and attracts tourists from all over the country!  You can explore the quaint marketplaces in Mussoorie and sightsee some of the popular landmarks in the area such as Landour Bazaar, Lal Tibba, Chaar Dukkan, Gun Hill, the Mussoorie Library and the Savoy Hotel.

Mussoorie is undoubtedly one of the best hill stations in the country. Home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in Uttarakhand, Mussoorie offers the most enchanting panoramic view of the Shivalik Ranges and the Doon Valley.

Distance from Delhi: 270km

Best time to visit: March to June and September to November

Attractions: Gun Hill, Waterfalls, Lakes, Benog Wildlife sanctuary, Tibetan Buddhist temple,  Sir George Everest's House and Nag Devta Temple

Activities: Trekking, Nature Walks, Bird Watching, Boating, Ropeway Rides and Temple Visits


Nag Tibba

One of the most well-known treks near Delhi, the Nag Tibba peak stands in the Tehri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. This trek over the weekend is witnessing growing footfalls, and offers splendid views of the Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Gangotri and Kedarnath mountain peaks en route.

What makes this an ideal first trek are the relatively easy routes etched along the mountain. Thick Deodar forests blanket the hill, and the best seasons to visit are between February and June, and September to December. The Nag Tibba trek route is circular in nature, and the differing starting and ending points ensure that there is no overlap at any point. The lush meadows hide patches behind them that act as serene camping sites.

Distance from Delhi: 347.4 Kilometers approximately

Nearest Railhead:
Dehradun Railway Station


Har Ki Doon

A pristine hanging valley in the Garhwal range, Har Ki Doon is one of the simplest trekking places near Delhi—making it an ideal foray into Himalayan trekking for amateurs. Fulfilling scenes of nature’s majesty carry you through rampant alpine vegetation, glaciers and breath-taking views. For the hill folk, time has remained elusive and one gets to notice their lives from close quarters. The best season to visit is during the months from April to November, and is one of the closest places for trekking in Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 299 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Dehradun Railway Station


Kedarkantha Trek

Close to another marvel of nature, Har Ki Doon, lies the Kedarkantha trek passing through windy trails of the Garhwal Himalayas. A classic winter trek unravelling untouched mountain-villages on its path, it’s the perfect trek to prepare for the other more arduous Himalayan treks. 

Abound with flora and fauna, the Kedarkantha treks passes around the rim of Govind National Park and is open throughout the year. This place for trekking near Delhi is flanked by the Swargarohini peak and a hanging valley, complete with views that’ll blow your mind away.

Distance from Delhi: 428.2 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Dehradun Railway Station


Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favorite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above the sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.


Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri-armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except for the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the centre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

To see the pure, rugged face of nature, One must visit Ladakh once in their lifetime.


Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.


Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.


Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.


The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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