Qila Mubarak,  Punjab, India

The ancestral home of the maharajas of Patiala, this richly ornamented but fading 18th-century fort is an Arabian Nights fantasy of soaring buttresses and latticed balconies. You can’t enter the interior of the fort, but you are allowed to walk between the hugely impressive inner and outer walls, surrounded by crumbling masonry and flocks of emerald-green parakeets.

Just inside the main entrance, to your right, the 1859 Durbar Hall (admission ₹10) has a wonderful collection of royal weaponry, outrageous chandeliers and other treasures rescued from the decaying palaces. It’s open from 10.15am to 4.45pm, every day except Monday. The grounds of the fort itself are always open.

Visit India Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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