The Ranbanka Palace: A sanctuary for connoisseurs of heritage and fine living
neha chahar | 06 Aug 2014

Ranbanka Palace one of the top hotels in Jodhpur was built in 1927 for Maharajadhiraj Sir Ajit Singh and today is the only property in the blue city Jodhpur to be classified as a heritage hotel bythe Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The hotel gets its name from the war cry of the brave Rathoreclan; the unconquerable in battle. This glorious sandstone building has stood the test of time,its walls, fire places, hunting trophies, jharokas, intricate marble inlays are an epitome of the glorious bygone era.

The Rathore clan goes back to the ancient dynasty established in the 8th Century. They are said to be descendants of Lord Ram from the Rasthrakuta solar dynasty and belong to the Suryavansha (solar race) branch of the Kshatriyas, a warrior caste of Hindus. In the 16th century Jodhpur became a fief under the Mughal Empire and benefited from this exposure to the wider world, as a new style of art, architecture and culture and traditions got the Mughal flavor.

Under the strict control of Aurangzeb, the house of Rathore remained semi autonomous. However when Maharaja Jaswant died without a legal heir, it allowed Aurangzeb to take over controls of the kingdom. This resulted in many altercations and when Aurangzeb died in 1707 Durgadas Rathore evicted the Mughals and restored Jodhpur to its rightful ruler, Maharaja Ajit Singh.

The Marathas took over as lords of the region depleting the states wealth, the British were silent spectators till the early 19 century when they convinced the Raja at that time Man Singh to enter into a subsidiary alliance, after which the Rajas of Marwar (or Jodhpur) continued as rulers of a princely state. Jodhpur at this time had the largest land area and its merchants the Marwaris flourished and had a very dominant position in trade.

The 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade was a brigade that served alongside British Empire forces and was formed from Imperial Service Troops provided by the Indian Princely States of Hyderabad, Mysore, Patiala and Jodhpur; which each provided a regiment of lancers. The fearless Jodhpur lancers were known as "Jo Hukams" for their reckless valor and discipline.

At the turn of the 20th Century, arts and architecture were thriving in Jodhpur. In 1927, the current Ranbanka Palace hotel was custom-built as a part of the residence for Maharajadhiraj of Jodhpur, Sir Ajit Singh Ji (1907–1978). He was the younger brother of Maharaja Umaid Singh and youngest son of Maharaja Sir Sardar Singh ji. As Prime Minister of the state he was given space to make his home.

Ranbanka Palace designed by an English architect is a part of Ajit Bhawan. This magnificent sandstone building effortlessly captures the era's salient simplicity and pronounced opulence. It was built with two floors in mind and has been executed in the red Jodhpur stone from its era.

After Maharaja Umaid Singh's death in 1947 Maharaja Sir Hanwant Singh later acceded Jodhpur to the new Dominion of India. After the State Reorganization Act of 1956, Jodhpur was made part of the state of Rajasthan. The Rajputs a brave clan are very nostalgic about their past and the Maharaja of Jodhpur is considered the head of the Rathore clan.

The title of Maharaj is inherited by all legitimate males for seven generations. The sons are known as Raajkumar during their father's lifetime and Maharaj afterwards. The eighth generation and beyond, inherit the title of Thakur, through the eldest son, and Kumar Shri through the younger sons.

In the year 2000, Ranbanka Palace was converted into a hotel and is today a certified classic heritage hotel. It is in the frontline of regal hospitality in India. Ranbanka Palace takes you straight to the land of kings and the culture of royal Marwar, the beautiful building captures the beauty of today and seamlessly blends it with echoes of the long-gone era.