Weather :

Time Required : 3 hours

Entry Fee : Adult (Above 18 years) INR 300, Child INR 100, Student INR 100 

Timings : 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM

City Palace, Udaipur Overview

Built on the banks of Lake Pichola, the City Palace in Udaipur is considered to be the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. The magnificent palace was built in the year 1559 by Maharana Uday Singh and served as the main seat of power, where the Maharanas lived and administered the kingdom from. Subsequently, the palace was made even more splendid by his successors, who added a number of structures to it. The Palace now has an assortment of Mahals, courtyards, pavilions, corridors, terraces, rooms and hanging gardens. There is a museum here as well that showcases some of the finest elements of Rajput arts and culture - from colourful paintings to the typical architecture found in Rajasthani palaces.

Nestled in the bosom of the Aravallis, the granite and marble edifice of the City Palace stands in contrast to its quaint natural surroundings. The intricate architecture of the regal palace is a subtle mix of medieval, European as well as Chinese influences and is embellished with numerous domes, arches and towers. The City Palace itself lies on a bed of lush green garden and is quite an imposing sight to behold. The regal beauty of this attraction has quite a few fans in the film industry as well, and several movies such as 'Guide' and 'Octopussy' have been shot here. A gentle amalgam of architectural genius and rich heritage, the City Palace of Udaipur is a wonderful trip down the pages of history. 

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History of City Palace Udaipur

The history of the palace is tied to that of the Mewar kingdom, which had reached its heights near the territory of Nagda. The kingdom's founder was Guhil, who established the Maharana dominance in the year 568 AD. Subsequently, his successor Maharana Uday Singh II inherited the Mewar kingdom at Chittor in 1537, but the threat of losing control of the kingdom to the Mughals compelled him to move the capital to a region near Lake Pichola. Flanked by forests, lakes and the mighty Aravalli Hills, the new city of Udaipur was safe from invaders and went on to build the palace on the advice of a hermit.

The first structure to be built here was the 'Rai Angan', from where on the construction of the complex was taken up with full vigour and finally completed in the year 1559. However, many changes were made to the then existing structure, which were spread over a period of 400 years. Rulers such as Udai Singh II added a few structures here, including 11 small separate palaces. Upon the Maharaja's death, his son Maharana Pratap succeeded him but was unfortunately defeated by Akbar at the Battle of Haldighati. Udaipur was overtaken by the Mughals but was returned to Maharana Pratap's son after Akbar's death.

The increasing offences by the Marathas forced Maharana Bhim Singh to sign a treaty with the British, accepting their protection. The palace was under their control until Indian independence in 1947 and the Mewar Kingdom was merged with democratic India in 1949.

Architecture of City Palace Udaipur

The main facade of the City Palace is quite a striking sight, with a height of about 244 metres and 30.4 metres width. A unique feature of this palace is that it is homogeneous in the design and construction of its many structures, owing to the fact that many additions were made to it over the course of time. Built out of granite and marble, the interiors of the palace are richly decorated with intricate mirror work, marble-work, murals, wall paintings, silver-work, inlay-work and coloured glass. Elegant balconies, tall towers and cupolas add another shade to its structure of the complex. An inviting view of the city can be seen from the terrace of the palace. 

Inside, the City Palace is a labyrinth of long corridors which are designed so as to avoid surprise attacks by enemies. The entrance to the complex has an elephant gate, known as Hati Pol. There is a beautiful Jagdish temple at the entrance of the magnificent palace. It is followed by a Bari Pol or the big gate which leads the way to the courtyard which in turn leads to the Tripoli or the triple gate. The city palace houses various luxurious apartments overlooking the entire view of the city. The Raj Angan, which means royal courtyard, is the oldest part of the complex and was built by Maharana Uday Singh. The Mahals have now been transformed into museums. The City Palace has 11 wonderful palaces and most of these are turned into galleries now. Amar Vilas in the highest point of the palace where you can see hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces.

Structures in City Palace Udaipur

The palace is a conglomeration of a number of different structures. They are as follows:-

1. Gateways: The palace has a number of entrances, starting with the 'Bari Pol' towards the left, 'Tripolia', which is a triple arched gate built in 1725, to the centre and 'Hathi Pol' to the right. The main entrance to the palace is through the Bara Pol which welcomes you into the first courtyard. This is the place where the Maharanas used to be weighed with gold and silver and the jewels were distributed among the poor. Marble arches have been constructed here as well, and is called the Toran Pol. 
2. Amar Vilas: The Amar Vilas is an elevated garden area which has a wonderful hanging garden richly decorated with fountains, towers, terraces and a square marble tub. Built on the highest level of the palace, this was where the royals spent their leisure time. Amar Vilas also gives way to the Badi Mahal. 
3. Badi Mahal: Also known as the Garden Palace, this edifice is propped on a natural rock formation which is 27 metres high. A swimming pool is also situated here which was used during the celebration of Holi. A hall here houses miniature paintings of 18th and 19th centuries, wall paintings of Jag Mandir and Vishnu of Jagdish temple.
4. Fateprakash Palace: The Fateprakash palace has now been converted into a hotel. Rare items such as crystal chairs, dressing tables, sofas, tables, chairs and beds, crockery, table fountains and jewel studded carpet are present here. Incidentally, these have never been used as Maharana Sajjan Singh had ordered these rare items in 1877 but he died before they arrived here.
5. Durbar hall: The Darbar Hall is a relatively newer addition and was built in 1909 as a venue for official functions in the Fateprakash Palace itself. The hall is embellished with scintillating chandeliers and has a display of Maharana' portraits and weapons 
6. Bhim Vilas: This is another gallery which has a vast collection of paintings depicting Radha and Krishna. 
7. Chini Chitrashala: A distinctive attraction here is the Chini Chitrashala, which has a collection of beautiful Chinese and Dutch tiles.
8. Choti Chitrashali: A gallery dedicated to pictures of peacocks.
9. Krishna Vilas: This chamber also has an elaborate collection of miniature paintings 
10. Manak Mahal: This was a hall for formal audiences for the Mewar rulers. It has a raised niched which is completely covered with mirrors from the inside. Motifs such as sun-face emblems can be seen here. The largest of such an emblem is also seen on the wall of the Surya Chopar, a reception centre at the lower level. 
11. Mor Chowk: This chamber is an integral part of the inner areas of the palace, and has a detailed illustration of three peacocks which represent the seasons of summer, winter and monsoon. The peacocks have been designed with 5000 pieces of glass, which shine in green, gold and blue colours. At the upper level, there is a projecting balcony, which is flanked by inserts of coloured glass. Adjacent to this chamber is the Kanch-ki-Burj, which has a collection of mirror mosaics adorning the walls. The Badi Charur Chowk within this chowk is a smaller court for private use.
12. Rang Bhawan: This was initially the royal treasury and now houses temples of Lord Krishna, Meera Bai and Shiva located here.[6]
13. Sheesh Mahal: Also known as the Palace of Mirrors, it was built in 1716 by Maharana Pratap for his wife Maharani Ajabde.
14. Museum: The ladies chamber or 'Zenana Mahal' here has been converted into a museum open for the public.

Best Time To Visit City Palace

Morning and evening hours are cooler and less crowded. Winter months from October to March are preferable to visit City Palace.

Tips For Visiting City Palace

1. Photography is allowed in permitted areas. The fee for photography is INR 200 and for Videography is INR 500.
2. Carrying water, sunblock and sunglasses is advisable here
3. Be careful around the relics in the museum 
4. It can get very crowded during peak season and long weekends

Hotels Near City Palace

You can find comfortable accommodation at Hotel Ishwar Palace, Hotel Udaigarh, Hotel Chandra Prakash, Hotel Raj Palace and Fateh Prakash Palace. You can also treat yourself to an indulgent hotel experience at the Oberoi Udaivilas or Taj Lake Palace.

How To Reach City Palace, Udaipur

The City Palace is a popular tourist spot and is well connected by a network of by unmetered taxis, auto rickshaws, tongas and city bus service. Ferry rides from City Palace to Jagmandir are available as well and cost INR 400 per person.  

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gauranshi srivastava 1 year ago
The best season to visit Udaipur is October to March. The Udaipur Palace is the biggest monument in the city. Apart from the main palace, there are three more palaces, each palace corresponding to a season. The main palace has three divisions- the residence of the royal family, the Oberoi Uday villas and the museum. There are few cafeterias inside but a number of vendors are present outside the palace. There are two museums- one which displays the splendid history of the warriors and the other which has the weapons and armaments of the royal family. Having a guide is advisable.

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