In the foothills and valleys of Western Himalayas, the states of Himachal Pradesh, Northern Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir have plethora of palaces and villas hinting at the rich architectural heritage of the past.

Palaces are prehistoric monuments that have an important existence in the History. They are the one and only existing proof of the wars, intrigues and their respective Kings and kingdom. Apart from the historical significance Palaces also describe the religious and cultural facts about the king or kingdom that ruled the state. It defines about the art and literature. One may also find many interesting stories about the palaces. One may find difference in design and architecture of various palaces in different topographies of a country.

The settlements in Himachal Pradesh, with their typical culture and religious heritage, add a towering magnificence to the densely forested Himalayan stretch on the northern border of India. The architectural pattern of palaces and villas depict the prevalent and inevitable tradition of Himachal Pradesh. Few noted must-visit palaces in this state are the Judge’s Court in Pragpur, Woodville Palace in Simla and Nalagarh Fort.

Padam Palace

Known for his unwavering principality and exotic taste in architectures, Raja Padam Singh envisaged a monument that would reflect the glorious past of the princely states and thus the task of construction was undertaken by his chief engineer, Bir Chand Shukla. After six years (1919-1925), the monument, named after the king, witnessed the merger of Bushair State with the Indian Union. The two-storey building, built entirely out of wood and stone is a tribute to the excellent work done by the craftsmen. Quarries at Khaneri and jungles of Munish and Dhamreda provided for the building materials. Black gram paste was used for cementing the stone blocks. With a slanting roof with spiral projections, the building has a lawn for festivities and public ceremony. The wooden screen intricately designed for illumination however doesn’t expose the inside. There is also a wooden masterpiece, Macchkandi or royal seat, designed by Gurjit Singh Fishta and the credit for the woodwork goes to the father-son duo, Gurmail Singh and Gurdev Singh.

Rang Mahal

Built by Raja Umed Singh in the mid 18th century, the walls of beautiful Rang Mahal palace are decorated with wall paintings depicting the life and times of Lord Krishna. There is a touch of Punjab Hills style and the architecture is greatly influenced by Mughal tradition. Later, further additions were made by Jit Singh and Charat Singh. Situated in Chamba, the palace was a women’s residence until 1947 and has now been converted into a college. Himachal Emporium, mostly famous for fine silk embroidered rumals, well executed by the Chamba women, has a outlet in the Mahal.


The emporium is open on week days from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. and 2 to 5 P.M.

Viceregal Lodge

Once, the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin, Viceregal Lodge is a six-storey building with well-maintained gardens and lawns and has an in-built cafe. Standing atop the Observatory Hills, this Rashtrapati Nivas was the arena to many important decisions that changed the fate of the sun-continent.  Completed in 1888, the building is now the Centre for Advanced Studies.

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