City Palace of Udaipur
The most popular sightseeing place in Udaipur, City Palace stands magnificently on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola. It was built over nearly 400 years, with contributions from several rulers of the Mewar dynasty.
Location: On the banks of Lake Pichola
Built by: Started by Maharana Udai Singh, completed by his successors
Built-in: Started in 1559 – till 18th century
Highlights: Largest palace complex in Rajasthan
How to reach: One can easily reach Udaipur City Palace either by taking local buses, tongas, auto-rickshaws and taxis from the city
Udaipur City Palace is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan, located peacefully on the banks of Lake Pichola. This majestic City Palace is the most-visited tourist attraction of Udaipur and often distinguished as the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Initially, Maharana Udai Singh built this superb wonder, but the present form of the Palace is the result of subsequent additions by his successors.
City Palace Udaipur History
City Palace boasts of the wonderful blend of Medieval, European and Chinese Architecture. The Palace has various towers, domes, and arches, which add to the flavor of the heritage site. Towering on the banks of Pichola Lake, City Palace is truly a feast to the eyes. City Palace is a marvelous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms, and hanging gardens. Encircled by fortifications, this imposing Palace is wholly built-in granite and marble.
City Palace has several gates that are known as “Pols”. ‘Bara Pol’ (Great Gate) is the main gate to the City Palace complex that will take you to the first courtyard. On passing ‘Bara Pol’, you will come across a triple arched gate, which is known as ‘Tripolia’. Between these two gates, you would see eight marble arches or Toranas, where Kings used to weigh themselves with gold and silver. Besides Tripolia, there is an arena where elephant fights were staged. Across ‘Tripolia’, you would enter the ‘Elephant Gate’ or the ‘Hathi Pol’.
City Palace comprises 11 wonderful palaces, which were built by different rulers still they resemble each other. With the sheer glimpse of unique paintings, antique furniture, and exquisite glass mirror & ornamental tiles work of these palaces, you will get amazed. Manak Mahal (Ruby Palace) has figures of crystal and porcelain. However, Bhim Vilas flaunts a fabulous collection of miniature paintings depicting the real-life stories of Radha-Krishna.
The ‘Krishna Vilas’ is known for the noteworthy album of miniature paintings portraying royal processions, festivals, and games of the Maharanas. Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) is celebrated for its lavish decor while Sheesh Mahal (Palace of mirrors) is known for its breathtaking mirror work. ‘Chini Chitrashala’ is renowned for its Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles. ‘Dilkusha Mahal’ (Palace of Joy) is known for the murals and wall paintings.
Bada Mahal is the exotic garden palace that stands erect on a 90 feet high natural rock formation. Rang Bhawan is the palace that used to contain royal treasure. There are temples of Lord Krishna, Meera Bai, and Shiva, located right to the ‘Rang Bhawan’. ‘Mor Chowk’ has exceptional glass mosaics of peacocks, set in the walls presenting the three seasons of summer, winter, and monsoon. ‘Laxmi Vilas Chowk’ is an art gallery with a distinctive collection of Mewar paintings.
Situated in the premises of City Place complex, Jagdish Temple is the biggest and most beautiful temple of Udaipur. This temple Appeals to the aesthetic sense of the people and we will further discuss it in our other section. You can also trace a Shrine of Dhuni Mata in the complex of City Palace. This part is considered as the oldest part of the Palace where a sage passed his life meditating here.
City Palace Museum Udaipur
In 1974, a part of the City Palace and the ‘Zenana Mahal’ (Ladies Chamber) has been transformed into a museum. The museum is open for the public and we have discussed it in our other section about museums. One can locate some striking paintings in the ‘Zenana Mahal’ which further leads to Lakshmi Chowk. ‘Lakshmi Chowk’ is a beautiful white pavilion. In City palace, the most captivating sight can be viewed from the towers and terraces of ‘Amar Vilas’ from where you can get a breathtaking view of Lake Pichola.
‘Amar Vilas’ is the highest point of this Palace and has wonderful hanging gardens with fountains, towers, and terraces. City Palace is structured in a way that it offers a splendid view of the lake from all its Balconies, cupolas and towers. Unlike the craggy exterior, City Palace has amazing interiors with delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silverwork, inlay work, and the surplus of colored glass. The exquisite work of City Palace cannot be bounded in words, so one must visit this palace to capture the real picture of it.
City Palace Udaipur, the largest palace complex of Rajasthan located on the banks of Lake Pichola, is the epitome of a colossal citadel that is a concoction of Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Oriental architecture. The construction of this magnum opus, started by Maharana Udai Singh II, was carried on by his successors. Each king commissioned his vision to this bastion by sourcing architectural influences and constituents from different parts of the world. Despite having a diverse assortment of architectural influences, they fit seamlessly to showcase the palace as a congruous marvel.
The City Palace is a fantastic compendium that opens up pages of the fascinating stories of the rise of this city, the journey of the Mewar Kingdom and the life of this dynasty’s bravest and most famed warrior, Maharana Pratap, son of Maharana Udai Singh II.