Ranjit Vilas Palace – Vankaner near Rajkot
Ranjit Vilas Palace was built in 1907 A.D after its construction commenced in 1900s. Amarsinhji himself took the pains to build the Ranjit Vilas Palace on a hill, overlooking Wankaner town. It was inaugurated by and named after his dear friend Jam Ranjitsinhji of Jamnagar. The ground of the palace extends to two hundred and twenty five acres. The state guesthouse, Chandra Bhavan is also located in the same campus in the vicinity of the Ranjit Vilas Palace.
Ranjit Vilas Palace has a grand architectural finesse. The front and back facades are appropriately designed in response to its location. The receding volumes, on the front, creating a series of terraces culminating in two beautifully designed pavilions with gothic arches. The back facade, on the town side, really establishes the palace as an impressive landmark. The seven storied central clock tower capped by a Mughal dome and two five storied high bastions, at both the corners, culminate in hexagonal ‘Chhatris’ (Umberellas). The facade has arcades of arched Victorian windows Italianate pillars, Gothic arches and classical parapets. A massive Dutch roof spans the central wing of the palace. A double staircase is the unique feature of the interior of this palace, where the royal ladies could ascend and descend without being seen by men. A similar double staircase at Chateau de Chambord, Loire, France, dating to the Renaissance period, inspired this staircase.
Ranjit Vilas Palace has a memorable collection of swords, shields and daggers, 95 species of stuffed animals, duelling pistols, pig sticking spears, silver, linen chests, silver-plated howdahs, thrones, paintings and portraits. The palace has magnificent spiraling marble staircase, stained glass galleries, chandeliers and period furniture. The garage, on the grounds of the palace complex, has Vintage cars like the 1921 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, some imposing American cars and horse drawn carriages. The palace also has a stable of Kathiawadi horses. There are large grounds with beautiful Italianate fountains.