Sajjan Garh: A Crown Bejeweled
The palatial residence and magnificent white marble monument known as Sajjan Garh is located on the Bandsara Peak of Aravalli range. Approximately 5 kms from the City of Lakes this fort is also known as Monsoon Palace. It was built by Maharaja Sajjan Singh (1874-1884) of the Mewar Dynasty. A winding road leads up to the hill to the palace. The trip to the palace is absolutely mesmerizing with beautiful dense forest on the sides and a picturesque view of Lake Pichola from the top.
The palatial residence and magnificent white marble monument known as Sajjan Garh is located on the Bandsara Peak of Aravalli range. Approximately 5 kms from the City of Lakes this fort is also known as Monsoon Palace.
It was built by Maharaja Sajjan Singh (1874-1884) of the Mewar Dynasty. A winding road leads up to the hill to the palace. The trip to the palace is absolutely mesmerizing with beautiful dense forest on the sides and a picturesque view of Lake Pichola from the top. In 1983 James bond movie Octopussy, Sajjan Garh was one of the shooting locations.
Maharana Sajjan Singh wished to build a nine storey building, as an astronomical center to keep a watch on the monsoon clouds. It is therefore also called as Monsoon Palace. But, due to his untimely death at the age of 26, the plans were shelved down. This structure was preserved by the kings as a royal shooting fort. Due to it strategic location, at the height of about 3100 feet above sea level and 1100 feet above the lake Fateh Sagar level this fort also served important for security and vigilance of the city.
The palace is built on beautifully carved marble pillars with fine motifs of leaves and flowers. These marble pillars were carved at the bottom of the peak and then transported to the top with the help of elephants.
The Sajjan Garh palace has high turrets with guards on each turret. It has a grand central court with a staircase and many rooms and quarters. Like other palaces in Rajasthan, this structure is also divided in several quarters, halls and complexes inside the building. Mardana Mahal (men quarters), Zanana Mahal (female quarters), the Dewane -e-Aam (hall for public audience), the Deewane-e- Khas (hall for private audience).
It is vibrant example of Rajasthani art and architecture, with shinning wall of lime plaster, marble pillars, jharokhas, domes and fountains, is also equipped with ingenious rain water harvesting system. This innovative way of collecting rain water for all the year consumption was very essential for the dry desert condition of the region. For collecting rain water an underground cistern with a storage capacity of 195,500 litre exists in the grounds of the palace. But still this water supply was found inadequate.
The palace overlooks ‘Shikar badi’ or the ‘Khas Odi’, a shooting box, on the left side of the hill. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh and is now been converted into a small palace with exotic surroundings.
The hillside of the palace comprises of dense forest and was utilized by rulers as a shooting preserve. It has now been converted into Sajjangarh Wild Life Sanctuary. This sanctuary is India’s best sanctuary to observe and photograph the endemic White napped tit (Parus Nuchalis).it is an important bird area site also.
The Lalit Group is operating a restaurant at Sajjan Garh which offers a spectacular view of the beautiful Udaipur city, overlooking Fateh Sagar and Lake Pichola. The restaurant operates from 0900 hours in the mornings to 1800 hours (till sunset) in the evening.
Previously owned by Royal Family of Mewar, it also served as military cantonment for few years. At present it is controlled and managed by the Forest Department, Government of Rajasthan and is open for public viewing from morning 8 a.m. to evening 6 p.m. Entry charges: Indian INR 10, foreigner INR 80, Students INR 2.
In the night the illuminated palace looks like a crown on the rocky hill and appears to be floating in the sky. But, this sky touching piece of architectural excellence looks glorious at the time of sunset.
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