City Palace, Udaipur
After leaving Chittor due to its strategic disadvantage, the Sisodiya Rajputs established their new kingdom as the city of Udaipur and made it the capital of Mewar. The construction of the City Palace was started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh and was improved by his successors for the next 300 years. The palace is one of the most visited monuments in India and is known for its opulent Hindu Rajput Architecture.
The City Palace Museum
More than four centuries ago, in A.D. 1559, Rana Udai Singh II the father of Rana Pratap, laid the Foundation of the City Palace after the birth of his grandson Amar Singh I and on the advice of a Hermit Goswami Prem Giriji Maharaj, who had a small hut on this hill. The enormous complex of the old palace standing on a low ridge called Rana Magri (Rana’s Hill) overlooking lake Pichola on the west is a tribute to the constructive genius and architectural taste of the Maharana’s of Mewar, ranging from Rana Udai Singh II to the present 76th Custodian of House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar.
It has been so planned and integrated with the original building that the entire structure assumes a shape of one edifice from the exterior, with canopies, towers, domes, cupolas, bastions, beautifully carved balconies and ornamental turrets.
The City Palace built by Rana Udai Singh II has been added to and extended by the successive generations of Maharanas, notably by Rana Karan Singh, and Rana Sangram Singh II. Maharana Sajjan Singh and Maharana Fateh Singh further expanded the palace in the 19th century.
The building is a unique depiction of the architectural and artistic evolution of Mewar through centuries. The City Palace has always been a self-sufficient developing centre within itself and shall continue to grow into an ideal prototype of a living palace complex.
The City Palace Museum, Udaipur was set up in 1969 by Maharana Bhagwat Singh ji to safeguard and preserve the cultural heritage and the time honoured traditions of the people of Mewar.
A palace of palaces “The City Palace of Udaipur” is located on the bank of beautiful Lake Pichola in Udaipur. The development of City Palace Udaipur is credited to several kings of Rajput dynasty, starting from Maharaja Udai Singh, and way back in 1559. The Udaipur City Palace incorporates many other royal palaces within its premises. Hence called “A palace of palaces”, the City Palace itself, is built in the Ornamental style and is the largest one of its type in Rajasthan. The City Palace Udaipur is built on a hilltop and hence produces a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. A fusion of Rajputana and Mughal architecture styles, displaying the royal grandeur of ancient Indian Kingdoms, the Udaipur City palace is a architectural masterpiece, to be visited and explored in your holidays.
History of City Palace Udaipur
City Palace Udaipur is one of the largest royal palaces in the Rajasthan State. The history of City Palace Udaipur goes back to the time when Maharana Uday Singh was establishing the city of Udaipur. He and his future generation built the palace one after other.
Maharana Uday Singh II was the supreme of the Mewar Kingdom in Chittor where they used to rule from Chittorgarh Fort. But due to subsequent wars with the Mughal Kingdoms and of the fear that he may lose the place,he chose the site of Lake Pichola which was safe and surrounded by Aravalli Range , Dense Forests and lake Pichola.
Rai Angan or the Royal Courtyard was the first building of the City Palace.
City Palace Udaipur Architecture
The City Palace in Udaipur was built in a royal style and is considered the largest palace of Rajasthan, a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles, and was built on a hilltop that gives an exotic view of the city and its surrounding, including several historic monuments such as the Lake Palace in Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir. The City Palace of Udaipur has eleven enchanting palaces within itself. These royal apartments will just treat your eyeballs with the views of beautiful paintings, attractive mirror work and ornamental tiles work and traditional furniture of the royals.There are different palaces inside the City Palace and they are named differently for their different purposes.
Fateprakash Palace is another architectural wonder of the palace which has now been converted into a luxury heritage hotel. The Palace features various luxury artifacts like dressing tables, crockery, crystal chairs and many others.
The wonderful crystal and porcelain figures can be seen in Manak Mahal or Ruby Palace.
Bhim Vilas is famous for its unique miniature paintings touching the theme of the real-life story of Lord Krishna and Radha.
Sheesh Mahal boasts of stunning mirror work.The Krishna Vilas deserve mention because of its miniature paintings portraying royal articles, games, and festivals of the raja-maharajas. to see the beautiful Dutch and Chinese ornamental tiles visit Chini Chitrashala.
And finally the most interesting part of the royals was the Dilkusha Mahal which is considered the palace of Joy by displaying murals and wall paintings. The Jagdish temple located in the palace is a beautiful temple and the biggest temple of the city.
Interesting Facts About Udaipur City Palace
Although there are number of gates to the palace, but the main entry gate is known as Bara Pol and it is believed that the Maharajas used to be weighted under the Bara Pol with gold and silver, which then was distributed amongst the local people of the kingdom.
The Udaipur City Palace complex is constructed on a hilltop, where a hermit (who was meditating on top of a hill above the Pichola Lake) met Maharaja Udai Singh and asked him to develop that very spot as his palace’s complex.
The Elephant fights were also organized by the kings in the City Palace complex, whose pictures are depicted by paintings on the walls of the palace. It is also said that these elephants were fed with Opium, just before the fight used to begin.
How to Reach City Palace in Udaipur
The nearest airport is Dabok in Udaipur; from Dabok you can easily get private taxis, cabs to the City Palace Udaipur.
If you would like to visit by train, then you can step down at Udaipur railway station, which is well connected to all the major cities of the country via regular trains. Then you can hire a private taxi up to the Palace.
Also, there are frequent buses to Udaipur from all its nearby cities.
Things to Consider Before Planning to Visit Udaipur City Palace
The museum inside the City Palace Udaipur timings is from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, on all days, except Holika Dahan (Indian Festival).
Do not miss out on nearby attractions as well, such as Lake Pichola, Shiv Niwas Palace etc.
Beware of the local frauds wandering around, do exchange your money at authorized currency exchange centers only.
Important Information For City Palace Museum
tourists and Visitors can enter the City Palace Museum from Badi Pol or you can enter through Chander Chowk. It can be reached via Airport from taxi which will take about 30 minutes. The last ticket for the museum is sold one hour prior to the closing time.
The Mewar Sound and Light Show is also organized during evening at the Manek Chowk
City Palace Udaipur Timings : 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
English Language : October – March (All Week)
Hindi Language : May – August (All Week)