The Umaid Bhawan Palace is not only one of India's most imposing palaces but also among its most recent. This lavish art deco monument to royal living had an improbable conception: it was built as a public relief and employment project during a long period of drought. Over one million square feet (90,000 m�) of the finest marble was used in the construction of the palace. A special type of sandstone, called Chittar sandstone, has been used in constructing the palace and this gives it a special effect. For this reason, it is also referred to as Chittar Palace by the locals. Its style of construction, with beautiful balconies, charming courtyards, green gardens and stately rooms, makes it a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The project employed three thousand artisans over a period of 15 years (1929-1943). The palace is named after its builder, Maharaja Umaid Singh (1876-1947), who was incidentally the president of the British Royal Institute of Architects. In 1977, the palace was segmented into the royal residence, the Heritage Hotel and a museum. Its 98 air-conditioned rooms are elegantly decorated with antique furniture as well as all the other amenities of a five star hotel.