A photo tour of the City Palace, Udaipur
The City Palace on the banks of Lake Pichola is the fist spot anyone who visits Udaipur heads to. It is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, and the interiors are absolutely stunning.
The palace is surrounded by the Aravalli hills, and has great vantage points to admire the views of the hills & the city of Udaipur.
History of the City Palace
In 1537, the Mewar Kingdom under the rule of Maharana Udai Singh II was at war with the Mughals, and was at risk of losing Chittor fort to them (the capital of the kingdom). The site for a new capital & palace was chosen, which was protected by the imposing Aravalli range, forests, and the lake. The construction of the City Palace began under the rule of Maharana Udai Singh II, but was completed over 400 years by his successors. It became the administrative complex of the Mewar Kingdom.
When you know that the palace was built over 400 years, and in the tastes of all the kings that reigned during that long a period, you begin to see why there are such different rooms in the palace. But that makes the palace an exciting piece of architecture to visit, as you don't know what to expect when you go from one room to the other. Every room has a distinct style, which I feel has influenced architecture & design around the country, and even clothing!
A short period of Mughal rule in Udaipur
Maharana Pratap Singh, the son of Maharan Udai Singh II, lost in war to the Mughal emperor Akbar, and the City Palace was under Mughal rule until after Akbar's death. The palace was handed back to the Mewars, (to the son of Maharana Pratap Singh-Maharana Amar Singh) by Akbar's son, Jehangir.
The above are pictures of the courtyard through which visitors enter the palace. The palace is built in marble & granite, which keeps the courtyard cool even on a warm day.
What I loved most about the palace are its many beautiful windows, and the views of the city, the Aravalis, and the lake from them. Just check out some of the intricate windows below! There obviously are so many more, and each done in a different style, but these are the few that I took pictures of.
The stained glass windows are best viewed on a sunny day! The sunlight brings in a rainbow of colours indoors!
These arched windows below are my absolute favourite! One frames the city of Udaipur beautifully, and the other grants views of the blues of Pichola Lake, & the Aravalis that surround it.
Then there are the windows that give us views like this one! Some of the best views of Udaipur city are from the City Palace-& you can see why!
It's not just the windows that steal your heart at the City Palace,Udaipur- just look at this door, and the hand painted blue tiles on the wall! This is one of my favourite spots in the palace. Just so beautiful!
The palace also has a museum which displays artillery, armour, & other artefacts from the royal families who once called this their home.
The walls of the palace are adorned with paintings depicting the wars that shaped the history of the Mewar Kingdom, hunting escapades, royal durbar, portraits of members of the royal family, and some portraits by Raja Ravi Varma.
The Sheesh Mahal below is one of the most exuberant rooms in the palace. It is a room that is entirely built with mirrors! So, when you look closely you can see yourself in every slab of mirror on the walls!
Visitors aren't allowed to enter, to preserve it as it is, but are allowed to look in through a small window. (Brownie points for spotting me in the picture! :p)
Below, is another room that I really liked, and I had to get a picture in the room, because, as you can see I blend right in!
The walls & ceiling are tiled with blue handprinted tiles.
The Blue of the Blue room below is divine! I don't think I have captured the beauty of the room in the picture. Nor did I have a wide angle lens to capture the entire room. The first picture shows the room through arched windows, and the second is the room itself.
The design of the rooms below remind me of block printed clothing that I absolutely love, and have so many of!
The intricate design on the outer wall of the palace that overlooks the courtyard is glass inlay work similar to the sheesh mahal featured above.
I wasn't wrong when I said the City Palace offers some of the best views of Udaipur! This is a view of the outer courtyard of the palace, the city, & the Aravalis!
The best view of the Jag Mandir Palace is from the City Palace! The picture below was taken from a window on the upper level of the palace.
The Jag Mandir Palace is accessible by boat, the details of which are mentioned below.
Entry Fee for City Palace
₹ 200-Camera Fee
Mon-Sun: 9.30 AM-5.30PM
Boat Ride to Jag Mandir Palace & back
Boat ride during the day
Sunset Boat Ride