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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Umaid Bhawan Palace

Umaid Bhawan Palace
Originally uploaded by Umang Dutt
3 image panorama of the magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace. Unfortunately I did not have a tripod, so the 3 images were shot hand held.
Note to self : Always carry a tripod :)

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 Maharaja of Jodhpur, this monument has 347 rooms and serves as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family.

Umaid Bhawan Palace was called Chittar Palace during its construction due to its location on Chittar Hill, the highest point in Jodhpur. Ground for the foundations of the building was broken on 18 November 1929 by Maharaja Umaid Singh and was construction work was completed on 1943.

Built on the Chittar Hill in southeastern area of the Jodhpur, construction employed more than 5000 men for fifteen years. The building does not use mortar or cement to bind stones together; all of its pieces are carved stones joined together by a system of carved interlocking of positive and negative pieces. A specially constructed train line was used to transport these large blocks of stone. Umaid bhavan is designed in such a manner that it always maintains the temperature at approximately 23 degrees Celsius.
The palace grounds cover 26 acres (10.5 ha), out of which the constructed area covers 3.5 acres (1.4 ha) while 15 acres (6.1 ha) are devoted to the lawns.

Designed by renowned Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, the palace is a blend of eastern and western architectural influences. The building's prominent central dome, a majestic 105-foot (32 m) high cupola, is influenced by the Renaissance, while the towers draw inspiration from Rajput tradition. The project was to cost the Maharaja Rs 94,51,565. The resident engineer for this project was Hiranand U. Bhatia. The interiors for the palace were designed by Maples of London, however, in 1942 the ship transporting them was sunk by the Germans. As a result, the Maharaja employed the services of a Polish interior designer. The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin. The new Chittar Palace was a fitting tribute to its ancestor, the imposing and majestic Meherangarh Fort, which was built by Rao Jodha and never invested by force of arms.

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