Nadesar Palace, Benares (Varanasi)

1 - Nadessar Palace

Nadesar Palace – this is the back facade, boasting a large porticoed balcony on the second floor. In the foreground are the swimming pool and the polo grounds.

Nadesar Palace is a dream of a boutique hotel. First built by the East India Company in the late 1700s, it was then taken over by the Maharajah Prabhu Narain Singh of the Royal House of Benares from 1889, and the property has belonged to the royal family ever since.

The Palace was used as a guesthouse – in 1906, George V and Queen Mary stayed in the palace when they were touring India as Prince and Princess of Wales respectively. In the 2000s, the Taj Group took over the management of the palace, and after an extensive restoration, re-opened it as the Taj Nadesar Palace.

2 - NAdessar Palace

Arriving at the gates to Nadesar Palace – note the coat of arms of the Royal House of Benares.

3 - Palace Front

This is the front side of the palace, with a large porte-cochere and another large porticoed balcony on the second floor.

4 - Balcony

Chairs on the second floor balcony at the back of the palace.

5 - TErrace

The second floor balcony at the front of the palace.

6 - Back Garden

View of the grounds and the white marble pavilion.

The property boasts only 4 rooms and 6 suites, each of them with high ceilings typical of colonial properties, four-poster beds and clawfoot baths in the bathrooms. Every room comes with personal butler service.

The palace itself is a splendid piece of Neo-classical architecture, with a large porte-cochere out front, and a magnificent porticoed balcony out back. Antiques and works of art fill the guest rooms and public spaces of the palace, such that stepping into the building, is like stepping back in time to the days of the British Raj.

7 - Bedroom Other Way

My room…

8 - Bathroom

The bathroom…

9 - Fireplace II

The ground floor sitting room.

10 - Dining Downstairs

The ground floor dining room.

15 - Palace at Night

The palace at night. Dinner is served every evening at the ground floor patio.

The palace sits in its own extensive grounds, a tour of which may be had in the Maharajah’s former horse carriage, driven, incidentally, by a grandson of the Maharajah’s former horse carriage driver.

On the horse carriage tour of the property, we pass by plots of cultivated land, which I am told is where many of the vegetables served in the kitchen are grown.  That probably explains why everything served by the kitchen was absolutely delicious.

12 - Carriage

The Maharajah’s former horse carriage.

13 - Cupola

On the grounds of the palace.

14 - Pavilion Day

The marble pavilion.

16 - Breakfast

Simple, but simply scrumptious breakfast.

And then there is the pool, which sits at the foot of the Palace’s back facade, and affords a view of the grounds. I spent one late afternoon luxuriating in its cool waters, watching as the sun set over the trees in the distance, and marvelling at how this tranquil oasis could even exist, just metres away from the hustle and bustle of today’s Varanasi.

11 - Pool

The swimming pool.

17 - Palace and Pool

A final view of the Palace and the swimming pool. With this, we bid Benares goodbye.

NEXT STOP on The Grand Tour III: Madras (Chennai) 

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Heritage, India, Landmarks & History, Photography, Sociology & Urban Studies, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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