India's rich cultural heritage is a big draw for avid travellers from across the world and as such the heritage hotels in the country attract large numbers of visitors annually.
TripAdvisor's has named top 25 heritage properties in India in its 2013 Travellers Choice Awards for Heritage Hotels, based on millions of reviews and opinions of travellers. While Rajasthan retains its position as the undisputed heritage state with 12 out of the 25 best heritage properties from the state, this year also marks the entry of Sikkim and West Bengal in the coveted list.
Following are the top ten heritage hotels in the country:
1. Taj Lake Palace Udaipur, Rajasthan
2. Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, Rajasthan
3. Taj Rambagh Hotel, Rajasthan
4. The Taj Mahal Palace, Maharashtra
5. Ratan Vilas, Rajasthan
6. The Oberoi Grand, West Bengal
7. Chapslee, Himachal Pradesh
8. Samode Palace, Rajasthan
9. Vivanta by Taj, Kumarakom, Kerala
10. Netuk House Hotel, Sikkim
The top 25 heritage properties, some of which are over 100 years old and have been carefully restored to former glory, play an important role in providing the experience of distinctive cultural milieu of various regions across India.
The oldest Indian heritage properties in the list include:
* Samode Palace, Rajasthan (over 475 years old, Rank 8) A splendid example of regal Indo-Saracenic architecture, the palace combines the best of Indian and Mughal styles.
* Jai Mahal Palace, Rajasthan (over 250 years old, Rank 23) Set amidst 18 acres of beautifully landscaped Moghul Gardens, this incomparable palace dates back to 1745 A.D. A masterpiece in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, it blends spotlight-grabbing opulence with tantalising comforts that transport guests to a world of Rajasthan magnificence.
* Samode Haveli, Rajasthan (over 175 years' old, Rank 20) Built by Rawal Sheo Singhji as a manor house for the royal family. It reflects the style and elegance of the family, and the art and architecture of the times and culture, all of which have been impressively restored today.
* Oberoi Grand, West Bengal (over 125 years old, Rank 6) Fondly referred as the Grande Dame of Chowringhee, it offers the ultimate classical residence in the City of Joy. This heritage hotels neo-classical facade and grand-pillared entrance mark a successful fusion of classical Victorian and traditional Indian style, and reflect the citys colonial history. Standing stately for over 125 years, the Oberoi Grand combines classic architecture and charm with