City Palace Udaipur
Started By :
Maharaja Udai Singh
Arches, Hanging Gardens, Sheesh Mahal, Miniature Paintings, Museum
Shores of Lake Pichola
City Palace, Udaipur: Originally started by Udai Singh, additions have been made to this building in such an ingenious manner that it is difficult to imagine that the building was not conceived as a whole. Standing on the shores of Lake Pichola, one can reach the palace through 'Hathi Pol' (the Elephant Gate), the 'Bara Pol' (the Great Gate) and the Tripolia (the Triple Gate). Complete with resplendent pavilions, terraces, corridors and hanging gardens, the highlights of the place are Sheesh Mahal, Krishna Vilas, Chini Chitrashala, Mor Chowk and the Amar Vilas.
Approach to the palace is through the 'Hati Pol' or the 'Elephant Gate'. The 'Bara Pol' or the 'great gate' leads to the first court, which joins Tripolia or the 'triple gate'. Between the two gates are eight carved 'toranas' or arches, which mark the spot where the rulers were weighed against gold or silver, the equivalent value of which was then distributed among the poor. Beyond the Tripolia is the arena where the elephant fights were staged.
What to See in the City Palace
The City Palace consists of four main and several minor palaces. Part of the complex is a Hawa Mahal. The Palace of Joy, Dilkhusha Mahal, is decorated with frescoes and wall paintings. Moti Mahal, or Palace of Pearls, Sheesh Mahal, or the palace of mirrors and glass, and Krishna Mahal are lavishly decorated with colors and paintings. Mor Chowk is known for its unique peacock motif in mosaic. Bada Mahal, the garden palace, is built on a 90 feet high natural rock formation. The Chini chitrashala houses a rich collection of Chinese porcelain and Laxmi Vilas Chowk is an art gallery, which houses a distinctive collection of Mewar paintings. The Amar Vilas, the highest point with its hanging gardens, towers and terraces, presents a majestic and panoramic view of the town and Lake Pichola.
Architecture & Highlights
Built in granite and marble, the City Palace of Udaipur is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Approach to the palace is through the 'Hati Pol' or the 'Elephant Gate'. The 'Bara Pol' or the 'Great Gate' (built in 1600 AD) leads to the first court, which joins Tripolia or the 'Triple Gate' (built in 1725 AD). Between the two gates are eight carved 'toranas' or arches, which mark the spot where the rulers were weighed against gold or silver, the equivalent value of which was then distributed among the poor. Beyond the Tripolia is the arena where the elephant fights were staged.
The path then leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping pavilions, terraces, corridors and hanging gardens- a harmonious profusion hard to describe. The soft cream coloured central 'Chhatri' has facing of blue coloured tiles with massive octagonal towers crowned with cupolas. The Sheesh Mahal has inlaid mirror work. The Krishna Vilas has a series of miniature paintings, which are witness to the royal processions, festivals and the game of 'Chogan'.
'Raj Aangan' (Royal Courtyard) built in 1571 AD (16th century) by Maharana Udai Singh is oldest part of the palace. The Chini Chitrashala is famous for its Chinese and Dutch tiles, the latter of which has depiction of Biblical scenes including the flight to Egypt. Radha-Krishna stories are painted on the walls of the Bhim Vilas. The glass mosaic gallery with its superb stained glasses and portraits afford a panoramic view of the city below. The Mor Chowk has a brilliant mosaic of peacocks set in the walls showing the three seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. There are exquisite terrace gardens with fountains in the Amar Vilas.
The palace complex also houses the biggest and most beautiful temple of Udaipur the Jagdish Temple built in 1651 AD and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There is also a Museum in the fort which houses the armour of the valiant Maharana Pratap and the drums & bugles of Rana Sanga, another Mewar ruler.
Reaching the City Place, Udaipur
Air : Indian Airlines daily connects Udaipur with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Delhi. Dabok Airport is 21 Km. from the city centre.
Rail : The Railway Station is about 4 Km. from the city centre. Udaipur is directly connected by rail with Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Chittaur, Jodhpur and Ahmedabad.
Road : Udaipur is connected by National Highway No. 8, the major road link between Mumbai and Delhi. The Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Road Transport Corporation operate buses to Udaipur from various regions. Private bus companies also operate in the region during night hours.