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Udai Bilas Palace

Rajasthan, India

1/5 Udai Bilas Palace on Gaib Sagar, Dungarpur
Udai Bilas Palace on Gaib Sagar, Dungarpur
2/5 The marble dining table in the Zenana Chowk, Udai Bilas Palace
The marble dining table in the Zenana Chowk, Udai Bilas Palace
3/5 Guest room at Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur
Guest room at Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur
4/5 The maharajas collection of classic cars at Dungarpur Mews, Udai Bilas Palace
The maharajas collection of classic cars at Dungarpur Mews, Udai Bilas Palace
5/5 The beautiful Juna Mahal, Udai Bilas Palace
The beautiful Juna Mahal, Udai Bilas Palace

In a gorgeous setting on the banks of Gaib Sagar lake, 120km south of Udaipur, Udai Bilas Palace is a truly authentic heritage hotel. From the original one pillared palace it has been added to over the years by generations of the royal family and dominated by three wings built in the 1940s. It is still the residence of the Maharawal of Dungarpur and his family and is wonderfully eccentric, completely fascinating and utterly romantic.

The whole place is held in time warp with beautiful but well-worn Art Deco furniture, threadbare rugs and the original 1940’s wallpapers and fabrics. It perhaps goes without saying that there is no phone, television, mini-bar or other modern trappings in any of the 20 guest rooms but all have splendid views of the lake or mountains. The bathrooms too are vintage works of art (including the plumbing).

Aware that guests don’t always find it easy to eat while surrounded by the dozens of hunting trophies in the Africa Room, the latest addition is the Zenana Chowk an elaborate banquet hall with a huge marble table with an illuminated water pool running through its centre.

One of the best things about staying here is the access it gives you to one of Rajasthan’s best kept secrets, the family’s 13th-century Juna Mahal. It doesn’t look much from the outside but this old palace houses room after room of the most stunning wall paintings. Keep heading up to the top floor to see a collection of miniature paintings depicting scenes from the Kama Sutra hidden behind cupboard doors in the maharaja’s suite. There are also the family collection of vintage cars at Dungarpur Mews to visit, temple ruins, reserve forest and Dungapur itself that you can explore by bicycle. A sunset boat ride on lake is a leisurely way to enjoy more than 120 species of birds.

Accommodation:

Art Deco palace hotel owned and run by the Maharawal of Dungapur with 20 rooms infinity pool flanked by stone elephants

Experience:

Inclusions / Exclusions:

About Rajasthan and India

See all areas & places to stay in India
1/5 The City Palace on the shore of Lake Pichola, Udaipur
The City Palace on the shore of Lake Pichola, Udaipur
2/5 Holy cows wander the lanes lined with painted houses in Jaisalmer's living fort
Holy cows wander the lanes lined with painted houses in Jaisalmer's living fort
3/5 Inside the City Palace in the Pink City of Jaipur
Inside the City Palace in the Pink City of Jaipur
4/5 Buying supplies in the bazaar, Deogarh
Buying supplies in the bazaar, Deogarh
5/5 Mehrangarh fort towers over Jodhpur's blue city
Mehrangarh fort towers over Jodhpur's blue city

Rajasthan

Rajasthan is probably the best known state in India and for some it is the very essence of the country. With its royal palaces and impregnable forts, vast deserts and magical festivals, and everyday life bursting with colour it is a natural place for many first-time visitors to begin their discovery of India. Read more?

1/5 For many first time visitors, Rajasthan is India. Rural villages pulse with vibrant colours of saris, turbans and even painted cow horns in contrast to the desert.
For many first time visitors, Rajasthan is India. Rural villages pulse with vibrant colours of saris, turbans and even painted cow horns in contrast to the desert.
2/5 Young tigers rough and tumble in the lake at Tadoba
Young tigers rough and tumble in the lake at Tadoba
3/5 View of Mt Trishul in the Himalaya while trekking in the Kumaon hills
View of Mt Trishul in the Himalaya while trekking in the Kumaon hills
4/5 A myriad of colourful sculptures representing gods of the Hindu pantheon decorate temple towers across India
A myriad of colourful sculptures representing gods of the Hindu pantheon decorate temple towers across India
5/5 The balmy Kerala Backwaters make for the perfect tropical escape
The balmy Kerala Backwaters make for the perfect tropical escape

India

Hike with views of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya, drift through lazy tropical backwaters, visit colourful desert villages and explore jungles home to endangered wildlife. India has diversity like nowhere else on earth. With such complexity, India has a unique identity that can captivate you in one moment and challenge you in the next.  We personalise your India tour to give you the experiences you want while smoothing your way through this incredible country. Read more?

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Andrea Hulme

Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway.

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