Udaipur City Palace – Regal Gem of Mewar Dynasty
Rajasthan is full of monuments, palaces and forts related to medieval Rajput royalty. Back then it was ruled by various princely states of Rajputana. Generations of these royal families created these magnificent forts, palaces and monuments. Today, we are visiting one such royal palace in the capital city of the Mewar Dynasty. The City Palace, Udaipur.
From the History Book of City Palace:
When Maharana Udai Sigh II was on a hunting trip in jungles around Pichola Lakes, he met a hermit. Hermit advised Maharana to build a new capital at this site. As Mughal pressure was increasing day by day on Chittor fort which was the capital of Mewar. Maharana Udai Singh II decided to act on the hermit’s advice. At first, he commissioned the building of ‘Rai Angan’ a royal courtyard at the place where he met the hermit. Since then, his successors continued to build the palace complex for the next 400 years. They lived here and administered the kingdom from this palace complex. As a result, this is the most iconic and important historic monument.
This huge palace complex situated on the eastern ridge of Pichola lake is built entirely in marble and granite. Maharana Udai Singh II started the construction of this complex. Subsequently, the complex grew in size with efforts of the next 22 generations of Sisodiya Rajputs. It consists of 11 small individual palaces built over the period of 400 years. A maze of pathways and chawks connect the palaces which avoids any surprise attack. When you enter from the main Tripolia (triple) gate, you come to the Suraj Gokhda, facade used for public addresses followd by the Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard). Then the strings of palaces starts with the Dilkhush Mahal (heart’s delight), the Surya Chopar, the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of glass and mirrors), the Moti Mahal, the Krishna Vilas, Shambu Niwas (current royal residence), the Bhim Vilas, the Amar Vilas that faces the Badi Mahal (the big palace).
At the end of the string are the Fateprakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace. They are now modified as heritage hotels. Amar Vilas palace has raised gardens. Many places house a rich collection of miniature paintings portraying royal possessions, festivals and games, collection of Mewar paintings, collection of Chinese and Dutch paintings. Since 1974, a part of the city palace and the ‘Zenana Mahal’ (Ladies Chamber) is a museum which is open to the public.