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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

In royal residence at Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace

People come here for a taste of Jodhpur’s old-world extravagance…

By Manu Sharma
General Manager at Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace

Part hotel, part museum, Taj Umaid Bhawan is also the sixth largest royal residence in the world where the Maharaja and his family still live today. Designed by Edwardian architect, Henry Lanchester, this magnificent structure was commissioned to provide employment to 3,000 people affected by Rajasthan’s famine. It took almost 14 years to build and was completed in 1943. Today we’re as renowned as the Mehrangarh Fort with a dedicated museum and daily heritage tours exclusive to our guests.

Arrivals are treated with much fanfare; ceremonial drums, trumpets, a red carpet and a cupola to shade you as you sip champagne. The interior is similarly extravagant incorporating Art Deco design complete with a soaring domed lobby and terrazzo tiles running throughout.

Of the 70 rooms (or 347 if you count the royal quarters), the Maharaja and Maharani Suites are undoubtedly the most lavish. The latter overlooks the immense palace gardens and attempts to recreate royal indulgence with its own spa-like bathroom and dining room.

A Jodhpur martini is a must at our Trophy Bar reminiscent of the old-world hunting era. So is dinner at our restaurant, Risala, for lawn-facing views and fiery lal maas under portraits of former maharajas. As you can imagine, private dining is our thing – amid the immaculate lawns with the peacocks strutting about, candle-lit by the outdoor pool or perched high up on a terrace so you can see the whole city lit up in the evening and the looming Mehrangarh Fort. You don’t even need to leave the property with the subterranean spa and Zodiac pool, as well as tennis and badminton for the energetic.

Our little black book knows no bounds with experiences from vintage car rides and rose petal baths to polo practice at the Maharaja’s private stables. One of the most authentic activities though is a trip to Krishna rural village to meet its people and see traditional craftsmanship such as pottery and carpet weaving. It just gives you that insight into the local culture that has remained intact throughout the years.


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Alfred & Manu Sharma

Born and educated in Kolkata, Manu founded his calling in hospitality with Taj Hotels in 1993 working in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. Since then, the company, recognising his talent, helped him further his expertise with various business courses and development programs. Today as a seasoned General Manager, he focuses on creating long lasting relationships and ensuring every guest has the best possible experience when staying with Taj. He is married to his wife, Rashmi, a pillar of support, and is a proud father of two.

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