City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

Towering over the beautiful Pichola Lake, City Palace-Udaipur is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan. It is one of the largest palace complexes in the state of Rajasthan. Built in granite and marble, it depicts a unique blend of medieval European and Chinese architecture.

 

Towering over the beautiful Pichola Lake, City Palace-Udaipur is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan. It is one of the largest palace complexes in the state of Rajasthan. Built in granite and marble, it depicts a unique blend of medieval European and Chinese architecture.

Maharaja Udai Singhji of the Sisodia Rajput clan built the City Palace in 1559. Though succeeding Maharajas made several additions to this beautiful complex, it has retained its uniformity. The palace consists of large number of elegant and magnificent buildings, gardens, fountains, chowks(verandahs) and towers. The interior of the palace is richly embossed with delicate mirror work, marble work, wall paintings, silver work and leftover of colored glass.City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

photo by-hasan riyaz

The palace is accessible through ‘Hati Pol’ or ‘Elephant Gate’ through the main road, the ‘Badi Pol’ or ‘Big Gate’ on the northern end and the main gate ‘Tripolia’ or ‘Triple Gate’. When  entering the palace through ‘Badi Pol’, along the western wall are eight Torans (carved arches); these mark the ‘tuladan’ or ceremonial weighing of Maharana’s with gold, silver or grain, which were then distributed among the masses.

There are a number of structures within the complex. Some of them are as follows:

Rai Angan

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

It is the most important courtyard of The Mardana Mahal; the ceremonial chowk where the Maharanas were anointed as Rulers of Mewar. By 1559, Rana Udai Singh Ji II had witnessed the building of Rai Angan, one of the oldest structure within the entire City Palace complex.

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The Manek Chowk

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

This is a place within the palace where public meetings, ceremonial processions and festivals were traditionally conducted. It is now dotted with shops and emporiums for the visiting public. Facing the Manek Chowk is another Palace called the Mardana Mahal, which form the Male Quarters.

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Moti Mahal

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

Moti Mahal or the Palace of Pearls. It is decorated with mirrors and tiles. Moti Mahal was the private residential palace of Rana Karan Singhji. Maharana Jawan Singhji added to the ornamentation of the Palace two hundred years later. Two magnificent chambers Bheem Vilas and Pitam Niwas are parts of the Moti Mahal.

Bhim Vilas: This has paintings depicting real life stories of Lord Krishna and their beloved Radha. Spectacularly decorated in Royal blues this was the favorite palace of Maharana Swaroop Singhji.

Pitam Niwas: This is yet another serenely beautiful royal chamber. It was built for Rana Jagat Singhji in II (AD 1734 – 1751).

Maharana Bhupal Singhji (AD 1930-55) also preferred these chambers.

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Suraj Gokhda

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

This is the place where the very famous and awe-inspiring emblem of Surya Dev- the Son God, is placed. Surya Gokhda can be seen from Manek Chowk. Surya Choupad is a room below Pitam Niwas, wherein an equally beautiful Surya emblem, which is gold plated and embedded with gems and mirror-inlay, is placed.

This emblem stands tall to represent that the Maharanas of Mewar are the worthy followers of Surya Dev and are hence the Suryavanshi Rajputs.

Maharana Bhupal Singhji is credited with the creation of this glorious image of Surya Dev that has become a part of the rich heritage of Mewar.

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Mor Chowk

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

This is the Peacock Courtyard and forms the integral part of the inner courts. It consists of three beautiful peacocks depicting three seasons of the year which are summer, monsoon and winter. These are decorated with mirror mosaic. They were built during Maharaja Sajjan Singh’s reign i.e. 200 years after the palace was established.

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Dil Khush Mahal

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure This is also known as ‘The Palace of Joy’ or ‘Heart Delight Palace’ and was built in the year 1620. It has a beautiful picture gallery with some of the finest and the rarest paintings of the Mewar School. This Mahal has red and green windows that filter the natural light into colored lights.

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Kanch ki Bhurj

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure

The walls, domes and ceiling of this chamber, profusely decorated with red and golden glass mirror work, look strikingly beautiful and completely breathtaking. The murals depict important court scenes and battles. To prevent the murals from damage they have been covered with glass.

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The Krishna Vilas

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure It a memorial shrine with beautiful and delicate miniature paintings . It is dedicated to Krishna Kumari, daughter of Maharana Bhim Singhji. Shambhu Niwas: It is now the Royal Residence, where present Maharaja of Udaipur, Arvind Singh Ji Mewar resides with his family.

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Badi Mahal/ Garden Palace

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure This is the highest point of the City Palace complex and is also known as Shiv Prasanna Amar Vilas. It provides a picturesque view of Lake Pichola. It has a garden courtyard with shrubs, trees, ponds, fountains, arched pavilion and is surrounded by verandahs on three sides.

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Zeenana Mahal

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure These are the Queen’s quarters, the Palace for Royal Women , and an integral part of the City Palace Museum. The arcade verandahs have a display of royal Palki (palanquins), buggies etc. It is almost windowless but very spacious inside. The first floor has another ‘picture gallery’ dedicated to Shri Ji Arvind Singh Ji Mewar.

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Fateh Prakash Palace and Shiv Niwas Palace

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega StructureDarbar Hall Fateh Prakash palace

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega StructureShiv Niwas Palace Hotel

These are the latest addition to the complex and have been converted into Heritage Hotels. The entire palace is the property of the Mewar Royal Family and a number of trusts look after the running and maintenance of the huge structure.

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City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structure The added attraction for the tourists is the very famous ‘Sound and Light Show’ held in the evening at ‘Manek Chowk’. 1500 years of history has been compressed into 57 minutes of the show named ‘ The Legacy of Honor’ and it is the only one in the private sector in India. Every year city palace, hosts the prestigious Maharana Mewar Foundation Awards, which have been attended by famous personalities like Ms. Kiran Bedi, Mrs. Shabana Azmi, Bharat Ratna Lata Mangaeshkar, Shashi Tharoor, to name a few.

City Palace: The Incredibly Magnificent Royal Mega Structurephoto credit: eternalmewar.in

There are other beautiful and historic monuments surrounding the City Palace. These include ‘ The Jag Niwas’(The Lake Palace) in Lake Pichola, ‘ Jag Mandir’, and ‘The Monsoon Palace’ (Sajjan Garh) on top of a hillock. City Palace and the near by monuments have been hosts to many film shoots, royal marriages, and other lavish programs attended by many famous personalities and dignitaries. These weddings include the wedding of famous Bollywood Actress Raveena Tondon and Hotelier and Industrialists Priti Paul. The famous James Bond movie ‘Octopussy’ also features ‘Jag Mandir’ and ‘Monsoon Palace’. Beauty and splendor of Udaipur has attracted tourist from all over the world. City palace has been like a cherry on the cake with its ancient glory and rich architecture and has been a center of attraction since ages for both national and international tourists.
Author’s note: All information, details, historic facts and other useful data are taken from various sources like eternalmewar.in, other travel blogs, websites, HRH’s official travel guide(hard copy). We are thankful to HRH and their media section for helping us in making this article successful.

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