Filming locations of… Viceroy’s House
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cinema release of Viceroy’s House on 3rd March, we have created a tour visiting some of the historic sights associated with British rule, which ended in 1947 with the partition of India. Here we walk you through the main locations featured in the film and included on the tour.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha and starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson, Viceroy’s House tells the true story of the end of an empire and the birth of two nations. It is a story that is deeply personal to Chadha, whose own family was caught up in the tragic events that unfolded as the Raj came to an end.
Chadha says, “My personal connection with this story was the main reason I wanted to make Viceroy’s House. Given it is about both Britain and India, I believe I am in a unique position to tell this story of our shared history. We were fortunate enough to shoot at Lutyens’ masterpiece, the Viceroy’s House, now Rashtrapati Bhavan and home to the President of India. Most of our film was shot in the royal splendour of Rajasthan at the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s residence – the Umaid Bhawan Palace hotel. The hospitality and love we receive in India is overwhelmingly warm and affectionate: they make everyone feel like a maharaja.”
Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi
Now known as Rashtrapati Bhavan (translated as ‘President’s Palace’), the building was formally known as the Viceroy’s House. Designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens, construction began in 1911. It remained the Viceroy’s House until 1947 with the signing of an independent India. An impressive structure, it was built using 700 million bricks, and sits within a 130-hectare presidential estate, including landscaped Mughal gardens.
Today you can walk through the gardens and see Durbar Hall, where Nehru took the oath of office of Prime Minister of Independent India from Lord Mountbatten (the last viceroy of India) in 1947.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur and overlooked by the muscular Mehrangarh fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of the great palaces of India. The vast marble and sandstone structure is one of the largest private residencies in the world, built in the fashionable Indo-deco style of the 1930s as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family. The palace was built between 1929 and 1943 and over 3,000 artisans worked over 14 years to create this magnificent, and now somewhat faded, edifice.
Descendants of the maharajah still occupy one wing, while another is a fascinating museum featuring a number of priceless heirlooms and antiques, including the maharajah’s (now vintage) car collection. A section of the palace has been converted into an elegant Taj hotel. Both stately and elegant, the hotel overlooks 10.5 hectares of tranquil gardens and features wonderful domes and parquetry, as well as swimming pools and tennis courts.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is where the majority of filming was completed, and can be clearly seen in the clip below.
Balsamand Palace, Jodhpur
The Balsamand Palace overlooks the spectacular Balsamand lake, a 13th-century artificial lake, popular as a local picnic spot. The heritage hotel is a fine example of Rajput architecture in red sandstone, set within wide expanses of lush green gardens.
The palace has been a setting for royal leisure and recreation for centuries. During filming, the palace stood in as the Viceroy’s House staff compound.
Various, Jodhpur & Naguar
While most of the filming in Jodhpur took place in the Umaid Bhawan Hotel, there are a few other locations also used in the area: Raoti Palace, Ship House and The Chopasni School, which stood in for the staff/kitchen quarters downstairs.
Another location used is two hours’ drive away from Jodhpur in the town of Naguar; it is the striking 12th-century Ahhichatragarh fort complex, surrounded by urban settlements, historical monuments and bodies of water.
Our 11-day private tour In the Footsteps of the Viceroy visits some of the main filming locations, including Rashtrapati Bhavan, now the official residence of the President of India, and the Balsamand Lake Palace in Jodhpur. It also includes a vintage car tour of Jaipur and a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra. View tour >
Find out more about the film and book tickets here >