Place: Umaid Bhawan Palace
State: Jodhpur, Rajastan
Umaid Bhawan Palace, located at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India, is one of the world's largest private residences. A part of the palace is managed by Taj Hotels. Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, grandfather of the present owner Gaj Singh of the palace, this edifice has 347 rooms and serves as the principal residence of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family. A part of the palace also houses a museum.
The entire palace complex built with sandstone and marble is set in an area of 26 acres (11 ha) of land including 15 acres (6.1 ha) of well tended gardens. The palace, magnificent in its lavish proportions, consists of a throne chamber, an exclusive private meeting hall, a Durbar Hall to meet the public, a vaulted banquet hall, private dining halls, a ball room, a library, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two unique marble squash courts, and long passages.
The interior central dome sits above the sky blue inner dome. The inner vaulted dome is a major attraction in the palace which rises to a height of 103 feet (31 m) in the interior part which is capped by an outer dome of 43 feet (13 m) height. The entry to the palace has decorations of the Coat of arms of the Rathore Royal family. The entry leads to the lobby which has polished black granite flooring. The lounge area has pink sandstone and marble floors.Maharaja Gaj Singh, known as "bapji", stays in a part of the palace. The architecture of the palace is described as an amalgam of lndo-Saracenic, Classical Revival and Western Art Deco styles. It is also said the Maharaja and his architect Lanchester had considered the features of Buddhist and Hindu edifices such as the Temple Mountain-Palaces of Burma and Cambodia, and in particular the Angkor Wat in preparing the layout and design of the palace. The interior of the palace is in art deco design. The interior decoration is credited to J.S. Norblin, a refuge from Poland, who created the frescoes in the throne room on the east wing. An architectural historian commented that "it is the finest example of Indo-deco. The forms are crisp and precise".