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Nadesar Palace – Varanasi

Situated in one of the oldest living cities of the world, on the banks of the river Ganges, Nadesar Palace has hosted royalty, statesmen and celebrities since 1835. The name Nadesar is derived from the Goddess Nadesari, whose shrine is located in the front of the Palace. Set amidst verdant gardens, mango orchards, marigold and jasmine fields, Nadesar Palace is a haven of peace and tranquility.

Works of art from the Maharaja’s collection decorate the walls of the Palace’s 10 luxurious suites. Embellished with original pieces of furniture refurbished to recreate the atmosphere of a bygone era, the décor of the rooms is intended to evoke the colours of marigolds, jasmines, and pale pink lotuses that are offered to the holy Ganges.

Dining at the Nadesar Palace is an indulgent experience starting with breakfast on the sun-kissed verandah; a spiritually inspired plated meal at lunch in the dining room, and a barbeque dinner by the poolside.

To unwind, the Palace offers a round of golf on the greens, a guided nature walk or a day at the Jiva Spa. On offer at the Jiva Spa is a signature treatment ‘Abhisheka’ inspired by time-honoured Indian purifying rituals.

The exact origins of the stately Palace as it stands today, remain rather mysterious, however the patches of its history that are known are very colourful indeed.

The Palace was named after the goddess Nadeshwari, whose shrine stands on its grounds. When exactly the Palace took its place besides the temple, nobody will ever know. However, circumstantial evidence indicates that in January of 1799, Mr. Davis, the then Magistrate of Benares was residing in this building, which stands opposite the mint house. The Magistrate gallantly defended himself and his family from the attack of Wazir Ali, the deposed king of Awadh from within its walls. The circular stair case atop which Mr.Davis positioned himself still exists in the building.

Mint House was built by The East India Company in 1795, and, though there are indications that the Palace may have been standing before Mint House, there is no mention of it as late as 1787 and even 1803, during the visits of Lord Cornwallis and Lord Valentia respectively. Surely, if the Palace had stood then, it would have been chosen as the residence of these stately visitors.

Whenever it may have first been built, Nadesar Palace’s new heyday arrived in the nineteenth century. James Prinsep – the architect – was appointed Secretary of the Benares committee by the Bengal Presidency. Along with mapping the city, widening the roads, and creating the sewage system, Prinsep restored and refurbished the Palace and Mint House to their modern stateliness.

The Palace was then taken over by Maharaja Prabhu Narain Singh during his rule between 1889-1931. Nadesar Palace was now his city residence, and in which he entertained his guests with pomp and splendour.

The first visitors of note were the then Prince and Princess of Wales, who later became King George V and Queen Mary. It has since played host to, amongst others: King Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran and Queen Sorraya, King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, King Mahendra Bikram Shah of Nepal, Lord Mountbatten, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru-the first prime minister of independent India, Queen Elizabeth II & His Holiness Dalai Lama.

Named after the celebrities who stayed here as the Maharaja’s guests, each room and suite at the Palace draws inspiration from the city, its culture and its timeless tradition. Choose from four luxuriously appointed Palace Rooms, four Historical Suites and two Royal Suites that have a living room, a master bedroom and a dressing area. Royal Suites offer a view of the beautiful landscaped gardens. Historical suites offer views of the gardens, swimming pool or the golf course & Palace rooms offer a view of the lush green gardens.