Hardcover with dust jacket.
As early as the 14th century, stories glorifying the exotic palaces of Indian rulers began to circulate in the West, stories confirmed upon closer acquaintance. Even today, they are magical sites - small towns rather than single buildings, in which the Hindu and Muslim rulers of the subcontinent dispensed their laws and enjoyed their wealth.
The palaces are displayed here in colour photographs taken by Antonio Martinelli who enjoyed complete access to the buildings, while George Michell tells their story. The oldest surviving examples were erected by Muslim conquerors who swept down through the country from the 12th century onwards, notably those at Mandu and Bidar. In the north, the Mughals built vast edifices at Fatehpur Sikri, Agra and Delhi. The Hindu Rajputs in central and western India created citadels still well preserved - as at Gwalior, Udaipur and Amber. Southern India, another Hindu realm, offers the towers of Chandragiri and the timber halls of Padmanabhapuram. Finally, there are lavish palaces built by princes under the British Raj, such as those found at Mysore, Baroda and Morvi: some Indian, others clothed in Art Deco. Here is a record of these buildings, witnesses to a regal aspiration to recreate heaven on earth.