Umaid Bhawan Palace when completed in 1943 was considered world’s largest private residence. Part of the palace was converted into a hotel in 1971 and recently the hotel bagged World’s best hotel at the Traveller’s Choice Award. With many firsts to its credit, do you know what’s the inspiration behind its architecture?
Primary objective of building such a huge palace that has more than 300 rooms was to provide employment to locals who were suffering due to continuous drought in the region. No wonder then it took 14 long years for the palace to complete.
Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the finest examples of Indo-deco design. Spread over an area of 26 acres of land including 15 acres of garden, the palace consists of a throne chamber, a private meeting hall, a Durbar Hall to meet the public, a vaulted banquet hall, private dining halls, a ballroom, a library, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two marble squash courts, and long passages.
Architectural plan for the building was prepared by Henry Vaughan Lanchester and the palace was built with “dun-coloured” (golden–yellow) sandstone with two wings. Makrana marble has also been used, and Burmese teak wood has been used for the interior woodwork.
Interiors of the palace was designed by Stefan Norblin from Poland who created the frescoes in the throne room on the east wing. The interior of the palace is in art deco design.
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 103 feet (31 m) in the interior part which is capped by an outer dome of 43 feet (13 m) height.
Lanchester was a contemporary of Edwin Lutyens, who had planned the buildings of the New Delhi government complex. So, there is nothing strange if you could find some (or many) similarities in the palace which Lanchester designed and some of the jaws-dropping monuments of Lutyens Delhi. Lanchester patterned the Umaid Palace on the lines of the New Delhi building complex by adopting the theme of domes and columns.