City Palace Udaipur is the best sightseeing place in Udaipur, Rajasthan state of India.
With magnificent palaces and exquisite sceneries, Udaipur brings you the magical splendor of a place that the royals of Mewar enjoyed centuries ago. But, when remains the most alluring part of Udaipur is the City Palace, the magnificent structure, depicting the perfect amalgamation of Rajasthani, European, Chinese and Mughal architecture.
Before the visit, I had only seen this palace on different programs on television, movies and on internet and have always longed to visit the City Palace Udaipur. I was just stunned by the magnificence, the beauty and how immense the City Palace Udaipur was.
This palace has an architecture like no other in Udaipur, it looked so rich and extremely picturesque. The architecture of the City Palace Udaipur truly reflects the history of the Mewar Kingdom.
Built with premium marble and granite, the breathtaking City Palace Udaipur features the beautiful ensemble of marble-work, silver-work, mirror-work, inlay-work, wall paintings and murals. Presently, a few parts of this sprawling building are converted into luxury hotels, which have earned this place quite fame.
The beautiful City Palace Udaipur is built on the banks of the Lake Pichola. The views of the City Palace Udaipur are spectacular and so are the views of the Udaipur city and overlooks the famous and one of the most beautiful lake of the Udaipur city apart from the Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola and the Floating Lake Palace which was converted into a five-star hotel later.
However, the fact that offers this beautiful City Palace Udaipur its “star” status is that it is built over a period of 400 years, started by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia Rajput family, who shifted his seat of power from Chittorgarh to City Palace Udaipur.
We were informed by our guide, that around twenty-two Maharanas have contributed and added to the beauty of the City Palace Udaipur over the period of 4oo years since its construction.
The picture below shows the evolution of the City Palace Udaipur over the span of 400 years.
It all started in the 16th century when Maharana Udai Singh 2, the then Maharana of Mewar Kingdom started building the City Palace Udaipur in 1553 as he chose the Udaipur city as his new capital and later the construction was further carried on by his successor Maharanas.
The son of Maharana Udai Singh 2, Maharana Pratap Singh after his father’s death, came to the throne. He lost the Mewar to the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1576 at the Battle of Haldighati and Udaipur fell under the Mughal rule. However, Maharana Pratap was a fearless man and the defeat didn’t stop him. He pledged to never bow his head before the Mughal Emperor or anyone. And therefore, succeeded and later on was able to take back the Mewar and other lost parts of the kingdom.
Let us check out in details some of the major attractions of the City Palace Udaipur. Know the secret to the beauty, allure and grandeur of this amazing palace.
- Tripolia Pol – The triple arched gate
The main entrance to the complex is through this gate built in 1725 by Maharana Sangram Singh 2. The entrance is from the northern side of the City Palace Udaipur. During the initial phase of construction, it was decided that huge wooden doors will be attached to the arches however, they were never made.
It was then, almost after 3 centuries, the present 76th Custodian – Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar ordered that the doors should be made. It is said that the doors are very heavy and that they weigh more than 4000 kilograms.
The majestic gate gives an idea about the opulence of the palace itself. It leads to the road that will take you to the palace.
Tourists and visitors will be able to check out numerous stores by local craftsmen, book binders and many other talented individuals lining along the sides of the road. Do check them out as you approach the palace itself. There is history in every part of the massive complex.
The entrance doors were massive with the canons placed outside and royal guards guarding the royal doors of the Palace.
- Mor Chowk is a beauty in itself
“Mor” means Peacock and “Chowk” means courtyard.
Exhibiting exquisite taste and mastery in art and craftsmanship, the Mor Chowk is one of the finest works you will witness during your visit to the City Palace Udaipur. Also known as the Peacock courtyard, this is the most elegant part of the entire City palace Udaipur and a location every tourist and traveler must visit.
You can find few Peacock mosaics made out of glass here which are really very beautiful.
- A Floating Palace on Lake Pichola
It might not have made it to the list of world’s greatest wonders, but the Floating Palace on Lake Pichola is nothing less than magnificence in itself. Constructed between 1743 and 1746 on instructions by Maharana Jagat Singh II, this beauty has served as the summer residence for generations of the descendants of the Maharana.
Today it is one of the most celebrated and well-known luxury hotels in India. Anyone visiting City Palace in Udaipur must try to get an accommodation in this architectural marvel.
It is always a treat to be treated like a royalty, and while most of us are devoid of that treatment, you can certainly taste some flavours of the royal treatment during your stay at this palace. From lavish interiors to the royal like treatment, this luxury accommodation option is certainly the finest in Udaipur and something you ought to enjoy during your stay in the City Palace to make the experience worthwhile.
The boat ride from the floating palace to the shore and back is a novel experience in itself.
- Badi Mahal
The Badi mahal is also known as the Garden Palace and is one of the magnificent locations of the City Palace Udaipur. This used to be the men’s section within the City Palace.
The brilliance of the architecture is in the delicate and tasteful mix of Mughal style along with the Rajput flavour. The Garden Palace was constructed on a natural rock formation and has a beautiful garden with lush greenery and beautiful blooms enhancing its beauty to this date.
A trip to the Garden Palace or the Badi Mahal is mandatory if you are to enjoy every flavor of the City Palace Udaipur and soak in all its beauty.
- The Manak Mahal is a must see
During your visit to the City Palace Udaipur there are numerous palaces and places to check out. One of the most important among all of them is the Manak Mahal, also known as the Ruby Palace.
The Manak Mahal was built by Maharana Karan Singh during his rule AD 1620 – 1628 however, the beautiful glass-in-lay work was later on done by Maharana Swarup Singh during his rule AD 1842 – 1861.
The grandeur of the palace and the beauty and opulence of what it once was can be witnessed to this day. The palace is one of the most recognizable parts within the City Palace Udaipur, even though there are numerous other palaces to check out.
Just as the name suggests, this palace is made out of exquisite and rare red glass of the finest quality along with generous use of ivory. Well, use of ivory wasn’t a felony during the time this palace was built and the craftsmen certainly made good use of ivory during the designing of the palace. There are certain sections within the palace which are restricted, but you will be able to check them out from outside anyway.
The Golden Sun used to be the insignia of the Rajput Kings during their rule and the Surya Emblem or the symbol of the Sun adorns various parts of the palace. You will come across the Surya Emblem during your trip of the Manak Mahal as well.
In the picture of Surya Emblem above, if you try to focus, the man on the left hand side of the emblem is a “Bhil Warrior”, they belonged to a tribal group, Bhil. On the right hand side of the emblem you can find a “Rajput Warrior” & they both are holding a picture which shows Kingdom of Mewar.
Since the Kingdom of Mewar was founded, the Rajputs have considered themselves as the descendants of the Surya (The Sun) and that they worship The Sun every morning. As per the customs, the King would only have his meal after he has worshiped the Sun in the morning. In case, when the climate wasn’t favorable and the Sun wasn’t visible, the King would look at the Rising Golden Sun in the City Palace Udaipur and it’s only then they would consume their meals.
The Golden Sun is made out of copper with the Gold finish.
- The Zenana Mahal
Well, it is always best to keep the best one for the last so as to leave a lasting impression.
Maharana Karan Singh during his rule AD 1620 – 1628 also constructed the majority of Zenana Mahal.
The Zenana Mahal is one of the most elegant and marvellous structures you will come across in the entire City Palace Udaipur. It used to be the place where royal weddings will take place and the palace where only the highest of the royal ladies will be present.
Needless to say, the beauty of the Zenana Mahal and its magnificence and opulence is eye-dazzling. The palace was built during the early 1600 and has been the venue for numerous royal wedding ever since. The Zenana Palace is a marvel in itself, integrating finest architecture with tasteful art to give birth to a beauty of royal stature.
Today the Zenana Mahal is one of the best locations you will find for destination wedding. If you are planning to get married at one of the finest and grandest locations in India, there is hardly any place better than the Zenana Mahal in the City Palace Udaipur. It is booked by many today, turning their wedding into the grandest and most memorable moments of their life.
- Maharana Pratap Gallery
The total weight of the armour, sword and other weapons use by Maharana Pratap was 35 Kilograms (78 lbs).
Maharana Pratap ruled from A.D. 1572 – 1597, was a fierce and powerful warrior. He fought the unforgettable battle of Haldi Ghati in the history of India on 18th June 1576 against the Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The battle of Haldi Ghati only lasted about 3 hours.
Maharana Pratap lost the battle and vanished into the hills with his remaining troops however, he was in no mood to surrender. During the battle his horse named Chetak was injured while Pratap was making an attempt to kill Raja Man Singh of Amber who was riding an elephant. Pratap as able to kill the driver of the elephant however, Raja Man Singh somehow was able to flee from the spot. During this heroic act, the horse, Chetak got injured by the same elephant who was twirling the sword by its trunk.
The wounded horse ran non-stop and took his master to a secure place and only then the courageous horse took its last breath. Many stories have been written on the pratap’s & his horse, chetak’s glory and loyalty.
Though he lost the battle and vanished into the hills but he wasn’t planning to give up so easily and was adamant on taking back the lost parts. With the help of the Bhil Tribe (their allies since the beginning), he mastered the techniques of Guerilla warfare. Together, they dominated the supply lines of the Emperor’s army which in turn badly deteriorated the condition of the Mughal army.
Maintaining such constant pressure, Mughal army almost gave up and shifted their focus to other parts of the nation. During this time, Maharana Pratap was able to take back most of the lost parts of his kingdom Mewar.
Udaipur is one of the most marvellous cities of India. Its rich culture and heritage is a matter of pride. The grandeur of the City Palace Udaipur is hard to put into words and only visiting them in person can do them justice. So, if you are planning a grand wedding or a luxurious or royal holiday, make sure you check out the City Palace in Udaipur.
There is no better place to be and it is one of those places that you simply need to visit at least once in your lifetime.
No matter how much I write, the words just can’t describe the City Palace Udaipur. You have to view it for yourself to experience the same.
City Palace Udaipur is a major tourists spot and attracts tourists not only from other Indian States but from all around the globe.
The palace is so grand that you have to take out at least 3 hours to explore it properly. We hired a guide to do so. I think guides play an important role as they, help us walk through the history. And make us aware of the facts that are lesser known to the people in general.
I would like to suggest you all to hire a guide if you really want to explore the City Palace Udaipur the way it should be.
Nearby places tourists can visit:
- If you are visiting City Palace Udaipur, then do not miss out on The Jagdish Temple which is just at a walking distance from the palace.
- Also, visit the beautiful Lake Pichola and enjoy the boat ride.
- The famous Vintage And Classic Car Museum is also not very far from the City Palace Udaipur. If you are a car enthusiast then, you will definitely fell in love with this place. I honestly enjoyed every second I had spent there.
How to reach:
The City Palace Udaipur is in the city centre and is just 35 minutes from the Udaipur Airport via cab. The duration may vary depending upon the traffic condition. During peak season, Udaipur is flooded with tourists from around the globe.
It is just 10 minutes from Udaipur railway station via cab.
from November to February is the best season to visit City Palace Udaipur. The temperature during that day time is favorable for the foreign tourists visiting Rajasthan. Rajasthan is pretty hot during the summers.
09:30 AM to 05:30 PM