Jai Vilas Palace & Scindia Museum

Top choice in Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh

The museum occupies some 35 rooms of the Scindias’ opulent Jai Vilas Palace, built by Maharaja Jayajirao in 1874 using prisoners from the fort. The convicts were rewarded with the 12-year job of weaving the hall carpet, one of the largest in Asia.

Supposedly, eight elephants were suspended from the ceiling of the durbar (royal court) hall to check it could cope with two 12.5m-high, 3.5-tonne chandeliers, said to be the largest pair in the world.

Bizarre items fill the rooms: cut-glass furniture, stuffed tigers and a ladies-only swimming pool with its own boat. The cavernous dining room displays the pièce de résistance, a model railway with a silver train that carried after-dinner brandy and cigars around the table.

Although the palace is undeniably impressive, more than a few people complain about the cost of admission. If money is tight then give it a miss.

Note: only the northern entrance to the palace grounds is open for visitors and it has to be approached from the west (no entry from Moti Mahal Rd).

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