Place Amidst The Royal Garden
The garden in which the Palace lies was earlier known as Kesar Badaran ka Bagh or the Garden of Kesar Badaran. The garden lay just outside the city walls and belonged to Kesar Badaran, the chief maid of Chandravatji and the governess of her son Sawai Ram Singh. Ram Singh's father, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh III died in 1835 under mysterious circumstances at the age of 16 when his son and heir was only 15 months old. According to the Rajput court laws the prince wasn't allowed to leave the zenana or the women's quarters. He would be permitted to go out of female influence only when he came of age. This became a problem for the East India Company who couldn't control the mind of the young prince. Later, the Rajput elders decided that the zenana wasn't an appropriate environment for the prince to be brought up. The British suggested that the prince should have a palace built for him away from the dominance of the zenana. Ram Singh was often made to visit the garden of Kesar Badaran and this was where the first structures - an enclosure and a four-room pavilion - came up on the grounds of the garden.
The Royal Construction Begins
When Kesar died without an heir the garden automatically became the property of the state and Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II (1835-1880) became the owner. The garden came to be known as Ram Bagh and became the favourite retreat of the maharaja. It was used as a hunting lodge, a rest house and as an official guesthouse. Ram Singh's son Madho Singh (1880-1922) added more rooms in 1887 to accommodate his guests and turned the Ram Bagh into a lavish 26-room manor. The mansion was further expanded to the plans of Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, the Chief Engineer and Director of Public Works Department from 1867 to 1902. The extension of the building included 10 additional bedroom suites, a dining room and a reading room along with one reception in each of the palace's three wings and verandahs. Ram Bagh was extravagantly decorated with hand carved marble jalis (latticework in the windows), sandstone balustrades, cupolas and chattris (cenotaphs). A squash court, a tennis court, indoor swimming pool complete with trapeze and a polo field were also added to the palace.
The Royal Layout of The Palace
Sawai Man Singh died in 1922 and left the State of Jaipur to his 11 year old adopted son Sawai Man Singh II. History again repeated itself and Sawai Man Singh's guardian, Sir James Roberts decided that the prince must be given a proper education away from the zenana. A month after the Maharaja's death Sir James converted Ram Bagh Palace into a school for the growing prince.
and eventually just like Ram Singh, Man Singh developed a fondness for the place. Even before he attained majority, Man Singh declared Ram Bagh as his official residence and on 20 January 1925, the garden-cum-manor-cum-guest house-cum school became a royal palace. Sumptuous amount of money were spent on the palace to convert it into a befitting residence of the maharaja. The interiors were furnished by Hammonds of London that included a magnificent red and gold Chinese room, chandeliers, crystal, fountains, and illuminated dining tables all of Lalique. The palace gardens were once feature in Peter Coat's the Most Beautiful Gardens of the World. It is also the only residence in the world that has a polo field attached to it.
Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur Rajasthan Ram Bagh Palace converted into Residence of Rajpramukh.
After Independence the state of Jaipur was merged with Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Bikaner to become the Greater Rajasthan Union in 1949. As the ruler of the largest, richest, and most powerful of Rajput states, Man Singh was honoured with the title of Rajpramukh or Head of State of the Union for life, with Jaipur as the capital. Ram Bagh Palace thus became the official government residence of the Rajpramukh.
Palace Converted into Luxurious Hotel
However, in 1956 his office was suddenly terminated and in order to reduce expenses due to the loss of wealth and privilege, Man Singh decided to convert his beloved home into the state's first luxury hotel. and on 8 December 1957 the Ram Bagh Palace Hotel was formally opened and the Maharaja of Jaipur became the first active princely hotelier in India. The palace was later expanded from 26 rooms to 80 in 1968, and in 1972 the Taj Group of Hotels took over its management. The most expensive rooms in the palace hotel are the Maharaja Suite, the Maharani Suite and the Mountbatten Suite and are always in demand by the foreign tourists. The hotel has also retained the original dining room, Suvarna Mahal, built in the 18th century French style and has huge crystal chandeliers. The Polo Bar still has on display some of the trophies and memorabilia of the Jaipur polo team at its counter.