The Wealthy Heritage: Source of Income for India’s Prominent Royal Families

Famous royal families with extensive historical legacies have called India home. These royal clans’ lavish castles and estates have served as both a symbol of their regal ancestry and significant sources of money for them. In this essay, we will examine the magnificent palaces and historic hotels that numerous Indian royal families have leased to illustrious hotel chains, creating a considerable source of income for them.

The Mewar Dynasty – Udaipur

The Mewar Dynasty conjures images of the valiant Maharana Pratap, an iconic figure in Indian history. Today, the legacy lives on through His Royal Highness Arvind Singh Mewar, the 76th custodian of the House of Mewar. Beyond his royal duties, he is a successful businessman, heading the HRH Group of Hotels. One of the crown jewels of the Mewar Dynasty is the Udaipur palace, where Maharana Pratap’s descendants, including the current king and his wife Maharani Vijayaraj, reside. Notably, the Lake Palace and Fateh Prakash Palace have been leased to the Taj Group of Hotels. Besides, the king has diversified his interests, opening a captivating museum showcasing antique cars, and managing his father’s prized crystal collection.

The Royal Family of Jaipur – Jaipur

The Royal Family of Jaipur has an interesting lineage. His Highness Bhawani Singh, the last titular head, adopted his daughter Diya Kumari’s son, Padmanabh Singh, who now holds the title of Maharaja of Jaipur. Apart from his royal heritage, Padmanabh is a national-level polo player. The iconic Rambagh Palace, currently operated by Taj Hotels, stands as a testament to the family’s grandeur. To provide tourists with a regal experience, Padmanabh has partnered with AirBnB to offer a suite within the palace premises. The proceeds from this venture go to the Princess Diya Kumari foundation. According to reports, the net worth of the Jaipur royal family is an astounding $2.8 billion.

The Rathores of Jodhpur – Jodhpur

Jodhpur was ruled by the mighty Rathore family, and their descendants continue to reside in this historic city. The Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace are remarkable legacies of their reign, being the largest private residences and forts globally, respectively. Maharaja Gaj Singh, the present head of the Rathores, resides in the Umaid Bhawan Palace with his family. This magnificent palace, now managed by the Taj Group of Hotels, attracts numerous tourists from around the world. The union of Hollywood celebrity Priyanka Chopra and singer Nick Jonas at Umaid Bhawan Palace added to its fame. Besides, Maharaja Gaj Singh has served as a member of the Rajya Sabha and as the Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago.

The Gaekwads of Baroda – Vadodara

The Gaekwads, originally from Pune, held dominion over Baroda (now Vadodara) since the early 18th century. The current head, Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, inherited assets worth over Rs 20,000 crores. Among their treasures is the awe-inspiring Laxmi Vilas Palace, the world’s largest private residence. Additionally, Samarjitsinh is the custodian of valuable paintings by renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma and possesses numerous assets, including precious gold and silver jewelry. Furthermore, he is actively involved in managing the trusts of 17 temples in Gujarat and Banaras.

The Nawabs of Pataudi – Pataudi

Completing our list is the legendary Pataudi family. The Nawabs once ruled the kingdom of Pataudi, with the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi being the last titular head. Beyond his royal lineage, Mansoor Ali Khan was a revered former captain of the Indian Cricket Team. The Pataudi Palace, also known as Ibrahim Kothi, sprawls over 10 acres and has housed various Pataudi dynasty members. Notably, the property underwent a transformation between 2005 and 2014, becoming the Pataudi Palace Hotel. Although it no longer belonged to the family after Mansoor Ali Khan’s demise in 2011, his son Saif Ali Khan bought back the property in 2014, keeping it closely tied to their heritage.

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The palaces and heritage hotels owned by India’s royal families not only serve as reminders of the country’s majestic past but also play an essential role in contributing to their financial stability. These ancestral properties have evolved into successful ventures, managed by prestigious hotel groups, attracting tourists from all corners of the globe. The historical significance and regal charm of these establishments ensure that they continue to captivate visitors, adding a touch of opulence and grandeur to their experiences.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How can I visit the Udaipur palace of the Mewar Dynasty?

The Udaipur palace is open for tourists to explore. You can book tickets and guided tours at the palace entrance.

Is the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur open for public visits?

Yes, the Rambagh Palace is open for tourists. You can experience the royal luxury by booking a stay or taking a guided tour.

Are tourists allowed to visit the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur?

Absolutely! The Mehrangarh Fort welcomes visitors from all over the world. You can purchase entry tickets at the fort entrance.

Can I stay at the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara?

The Laxmi Vilas Palace is not available for regular accommodation. However, you can explore its beauty during designated visiting hours.

What are the popular attractions near Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur?

Umaid Bhawan Palace is located close to Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada, making it convenient for tourists to explore these landmarks.

Does the Pataudi Palace offer guided tours of its heritage?

While the Pataudi Palace is privately owned, guided tours or stays are not available. However, its history and charm continue to captivate from afar.

Are photography and videography allowed inside these heritage hotels and palaces?

Generally, photography is allowed in most areas of these royal establishments. However, specific rules might apply to certain sections.

Are there any special events or festivals celebrated at these palaces?

Yes, some of these palaces host cultural events, art exhibitions, and traditional festivals that offer visitors a glimpse into the rich heritage of India.

Can tourists explore the antique car museum at the Udaipur palace?

Yes, the antique car museum at the Udaipur palace is open to the public, showcasing an impressive collection of vintage automobiles.

What are the best months to visit these heritage destinations in India?

The best time to visit these places is during the cooler months, typically from October to March, when the weather is more pleasant for sightseeing.


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