A land of palaces, forts and havelis, India is home to several architectural marvels that span across eras. Whether through the grandiose architecture or the beautifully pruned gardens, each property was created with the sole purpose of representing its resident through statements just as big as the property. Today many heritage properties have turned into hotels that offer the luxe-life to its visitors.
How to identify a heritage property?
Typically a heritage property is built before the 1950s and retains the original design of the property. The property should have at least five rooms and renovations should retain the original design.
Here are the top picks for heritage properties that you can also book for a getaway:
1. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Transport yourself to the opulence of the 18th Century at this breathtakingly beautiful palace that is the shining jewel of Lake Pichola. Accessible only by the Badipal jetty, it’s exclusive yet inviting. Originally the winter palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II of Rajasthan’s Mewar Dynasty, the palace is dripping in grandeur with colorful windows of Belgian glass, hand painted murals and sparkling views of the lake from its rooms, dinings areas and balconies.
2.Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur
A twist of traditional Indian architecture with modernity, this regal sandstone palace is located at the top of the Chittar Hill - the highest point in Jodhpur. Surrounded by 26 acres of perfectly manicured gardens, it comes with a unique view of the Mehrangarh Fort. Built between 1928 and 1943 the art-deco rooms lead you to pathways where you can take a heritage walk or simply explore the vibrancy of Jodhpur.
3.Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Arrive in style by horse-carriage, with butlers waiting on you at 2000 feet above Hyderabad. Trace the footprints of the Maharajas on the magnificent staircase, dine at the largest dining table in the world and live like the Nizam did in 1894. If you feel like you’re on cloud-9, you probably are!
4.Chidambara Vilas, Chettinad
Constructed by Tamil aristocracy between 1900 and 1907 this heritage building was conceived on a one-acre plot gifted to the Chettiyar family by the Maharaja of Puttukotai. The interiors comprise wooden pillars from Burma, tiles from Italy, Belgian mirrors and chandeliers for Daman and Diu.
5. Deo Bagh, Gwalior
This beautiful property is housed within a Bagh and was created in the 17th Century. The magnificent home to the royals of Gwalior, it has 15 rooms with access to the lush gardens, never-ending pillars and tall walls that tell stories of the warriors of India.
6. The Bungalow by the Beach, Tranquebar
Drape yourself in sunshine as you walk out to a long verandah that faces the beach. Soak in the quiet hum of the waves and the gentle gong of the temple bell. With nothing much aside from tranquility and the towering Danish Fort to its right this 17th century property. It makes for the perfect setting to escape to within this sleepy town that was once home to the Danish settlement in India.
7. The Amar Vilas, Agra
Check-in to this heritage hotel for uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal. And if you want to experience the romance of the Taj Mahal in-person, it’s only 600 metres away! The property extends the marvel of the monument of love to the hotel which epitomises mughal design throughout the hotel.
8.Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
India’s first luxury hotel, it was constructed by the Tatas in 1903. Poised at the Gateway of India, it’s an amalgamation of modern day comfort, history and maximalism. A host to dignitaries over the past, it’s an iconic landmark of India that’s located strategically within the business and shopping districts in Mumbai. With nine restaurants to choose from you can experience the best of global cuisine by celebrated chefs.
9.The Imperial, Delhi
Enter the Victorian charm of the 1900s with decadent interiors welcoming you into the era of the Raj. The former home to Indian aristocracy, the hotel’s interiors are plush with rose-wood furniture, colonial architecture and seemingly infinite corridors. This award-winning hotel is one of India’s finest for its opulence and service.
10. Welcomeheritage Fern Hills Royale Palace, Ooty
Built in 1884 during the British era, it was the Wadiyar family’s summer palace. Its lush gardens overlooking the serenity of Ooty are now open to guests who would like to check-in for a royal treatment. The panoramic views of the tea gardens, the burmese-teak interiors and ornamental papier-mâché ceilings transport you to the regal charm of the vintage era.
Whether you love the nostalgia of India’s past or the luxe-life of the royals, India has so many heritage properties to choose from. With the country being home to rulers with diverse taste in architecture and the colonial era contributed to by the British Raj, there’s golden nuggets of history left behind and waiting to be rediscovered!