North & Central India, India

Kwardha, in the remote state of Chattisgarh, is about as far off the tourist trail as it’s possible to get in India. If foreigners pass through at all it tends to be en route between Orissa and the tiger reserves of eastern Madhya Pradesh. One place, however, deserves to be a destination in itself. Dating from the 1940s, the Maharaja’s palace here is more evocative of the last century than just about any other princely pile in the country.

Run by its present incumbents as a low-key heritage hotel, the stately domed building exudes an aura of shabby grandeur, from the circular Durbar Hall, with its lofty Neoclassical pillars and elaborate stucco ceilings, to the antique-filled rooms and suites, whose covered terraces overlook 11 acres of wooded grounds.

The Maharaja and Maharani join guests for meals in a dining room line with glass-cases full of heirlooms. The welcome is genuine and un-obtrusive. This is one heritage hotel that wears its history lightly.

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