About Karan Mahal
The Karan Mahal estate and villa which was constructed in the 1920’s is located on a saddle at the foot of the Shankaracharya Hill on Gupkar Road, Srinagar. The prominent location of Karan Mahal renders a unique double view for its visitors and residents. In the north it overlooks the Dal Lake with the Zabarwan mountain range, and in the south, it looks across the vast valley up to the Pir Panjal mountain range.
In 1936, Karan Mahal became the establishment and residence for the Crown Prince of Jammu & Kashmir, Dr. Karan Singh, the son of Maharaja Hari Singh. Subsequently, when Dr. Karan Singh became Head of State and Governor for nearly two decades, the residence also served as the ‘Raj Bhavan’ or the ‘Governor’s Residence’, which witnessed the swearing-in ceremonies of Prime Ministers and later Chief Ministers of J&K.
Many significant political and social events took place at Karan Mahal where his wife, Maharani Yasho Rajya Laxmi was known to be the most charming and gracious hostess. Eminent personalities and international luminaries including the leader of the Soviet Union, N.S. Khrushchev, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Edwina Mountbatten, President Rajendra Prasad, Indira Gandhi and Joseph Campbell among other legendary figures were entertained at Karan Mahal on a regular basis.
The Karan Mahal villa overlooks the vast private orchard of the estate adjoining the hillside and lakeside, which offers walking trails amidst rich flora and fauna including hundreds of fruit trees, cedar forests, chinar and walnut trees, wildlife and birdlife. Guests can relish the richness of fresh fruits served from our very own orchard.
The charming European style villa which has been recently restored by the royal family of Jammu & Kashmir, houses seven luxurious guestrooms including three lavish suites, all with private balconies and sprawling gardens, which always keep the magnificent views in sight.
The interiors of Karan Mahal including the elegant drawing room and the imperial dining room, are adorned with many heritage elements including handwoven vintage Kashmiri carpets, handcrafted wooden ceilings, crystal chandeliers, art deco furniture and exquisite artefacts.
The art of handcrafted wooden ceilings, called Khatamband enrich every single room in the property. All the designs that exist in the history of this local wood work are present in the house.
Karan Mahal became residence to Yuvraj Vikramaditya Singh and Yuvrani Chitrangada Raje in 1988, soon after they were married. The following year saw the onset of a troubled phase in Kashmir Valley, that was to last for over 20 years. It was not until 2011 that they decided to begin restoration and renovation of Karan Mahal. The whole process of restoring this exquisite royal residence took 10 years. In April 2021, Yuvraj Vikramaditya and Yuvrani Chitrangada Raje opened the doors of their home for discerning guests.
Karan Mahal is exclusively open for resident guests only, keeping in mind the value of both the privacy of resident guests and that of the owners.
The royal kitchen at Karan Mahal which has kept alive age-old recipes of the royal family, offers varied cuisines including the traditional Dogra, Nepalese and Kashmiri dishes. The menu for the day incorporates both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and our chefs are happy to discuss meal preferences and customise our fixed menus, to suit your palate.
For generations, the Royal family has been patron to many artisans that create outstanding pieces of papier-mache, carpets and shawls. A special selection of these handicrafts is curated upon request by the guests.
We promote traditional folk singers who perform Kashmiri songs accompanied by an instrument called the rabab. While the younger generation of budding talent are also called upon to render musical evenings for guest celebrations at extra cost.
Some of the staff at Karan Mahal comprise people who have been retainers of the Royal family for over 3 generations.
For those who find the need to venture out of the luxurious expanse the estate offers, Karan Mahal is barely minutes away from the renowned Royal Springs Golf Course, the famous Dal Lake, the Tulip Gardens, the Mughal Gardens and Srinagar city. Guests are encouraged to witness the floating vegetable market that opens at dawn on the Dal Lake.