Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Founded By: Maharana Uday Singh
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Udaipur is the City
Palace, situated in the heart of the city. The palace towers over Lake
Pichola and counts amongst the most beautiful constructions by the
Rajput rulers of Rajasthan. Even though the interiors of the City Palace
of Udaipur are much more exquisite than its exteriors, it does not fail
to mesmerize its onlookers. The Rajput love for art and architecture is
truly reflected in the architecture of this magnificent palace, which
was built by Maharana Uday Singh of the Sisodia clan.
The Maharana initiated the construction work of the City palace shortly
after he founded the city of Udaipur. With time, the throne of Uday
Singh was occupied by successive Maharanas, who added more structures to
the palace complex. However, one does not find any incongruity in the
overall design of the palace. Rather, people applaud the charming
harmony and synchronization of the construction work. Presently, the old
parts of the museum have been converted into a museum, while two new
portions are serving as hotels.
The architecture of the City Palace of Udaipur represents a beautiful
fusion of the European and Chinese architectural styles. Each of the
numerous palaces, courtyards and gardens of the edifice seeks to exude a
distinct charm. City Palace is made up of granite and marble and its
main entrance is provided by Hathi Pol, the Elephant Gate. Coming into
the view next, are the Bada Pol (gate) and the Tripoli Gate. It was at
the Tripolia Gate that the kings used to weigh themselves in gold and
silver and later distribute the same amongst people.
After the Tripolia Gate, one comes across the courtyard in which
elephant fights used to be organized. One of the popular structures of
the City Palace is the Suraj Gokhada, the place where King addressed his
subjects, mainly during an emergency situation. The Moti Mahal situated
inside the palace premises is adorned with awe-inspiring mirror work.
The section near the main entrance has been converted into a weapons
museum, where a large amount of armories, including the deadly
two-pronged sword, has been displayed.
There is also a Mor Chowk (Peacock Square) inside the palace, where
beautiful glass mosaics of peacocks adorn the walls. These peacocks
represent three different seasons, namely summer, winter and monsoon.
The Krishna Vilas of the City Palace houses a rich collection of
paintings, which illustrate varying events and moods in the life of the
Maharanas. Then, you have Manak Mahal, which is known for its amazing
collection of crystal and porcelain figures. The Bhim Vilas Palace
stands festooned with splendid paintings of Radha-Krishna.
There is also a Zenana (ladies) Mahal inside the complex of the City
Palace of Udaipur. The palace of the ladies and Dilkhush Mahal are
popular for the marvelous frescoes that beautify their walls. The
Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles that decorate the Chini Chitrashala
lend it a timeless charm. If the Sheesh Mahal boasts of thousands of
sparkling mirrors, the Laxmi Vilas Chowk has a luxuriant assortment of
Mewar paintings. Do not forget to visit the Amar Vilas, which has
beautiful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces.
The edifice also provides a breathtaking view of the not only Lake
Pichola, but also the entire city of Jaipur. Some time back, the Shiv
Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace were converted into luxury
hotels. Still, these palaces are definitely worth a visit. The Crystal
Gallery of Fateh Prakash Palace is especially popular, as it houses a
rare collection of Osler's crystal items. These items were ordered from
England, by Maharaja Sajjan Singh, but he passed away before they could