The majestic white City Palace located in the heart of Udaipur, was originally
built by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia Rajput clan and extended to
its present form by subsequent Maharanas. Built in granite and marble and
surrounded by crenellated fort walls, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan
stands on a crest overlooking the Pichola Lake.
City Palace towers over the Pichola Lake. Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex retained a surprising uniformity to the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant gate. The Bari Pol or the Big gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate. It was once a custom that the Maharana would weigh under this gate in gold and silver.
The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings. Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas display a rich collection of miniature paintings. Moti Mahal or the pearl palace has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over. The Surya Chopar or the sun square depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Mewar dynasty belongs. The Bari Mahal is a central garden with view of the city. Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the Zenana Mahal or the ladies chamber, which leads to Lakshmi Chowk a beautiful white pavilion.
Approach to the city palace is through the 'Hati Pol' or the 'Elephant Gate'. The 'Bara Pol' or the 'great gate' leads to the first court, which joins Tripolia or the 'triple gate'. Between the two gates are eight carved 'toranas' or arches, which mark the spot where the rulers were weighed against gold or silver, the equivalent value of which was then distributed among the poor. Beyond the Tripolia is the arena where the elephant fights were staged.
The path then leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping pavilions, terraces, corridors and hanging gardens- a harmonious profusion hard to describe.The soft cream coloured central 'Chhatri' has facing of blue coloured tiles with massive octagonal towers crowned with cupolas. The Sheesh Mahal has inlaid mirror work. The Krishna Vilas has a series of miniature paintings, which are witness to the royal processions, festivals and the game of 'Chogan'.
The Chini Chitrashala is famous for its Chinese and Dutch tiles, the latter of which has depiction of Biblical scenes including the flight to Egypt. Radha-Krishna stories are painted on the walls of the Bhim Vilas. The glass mosaic gallery with its superb stained glasses and portraits afford a panoramic view of the Udaipur city below. The Mor Chowk has a brilliant mosaic of peacocks set in the walls showing the three seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. There are exquisite terrace gardens with fountains in the Amar Vilas.
There is also a museum in the fort which houses the armour of the valiant Maharana Pratap and the drums & bugles of Rana Sanga, another Mewar ruler.
How to Reach
By Air : Indian Airlines daily connects Udaipur with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Delhi. Dabok Airport is 21 Km. from the city centre and transportation by taxi takes 35-45 minutes. Indian airlines office, Delhi gate- Ph 410999
By Rail : The Railway Station is about 4 Km. from the city centre. Udaipur is directly connected by rail with Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Chittaur, Jodhpur and Ahmedabad. For Reservation and Enquiry at the Railway Station, Contact Tel.: 131, 527390, 483979
By Road : Udaipur is connected by National Highway No. 8, the major road link between Mumbai and Delhi. The Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Road Transport Corporation operate buses to Udaipur from various regions. Private bus companies also operate in the region during night hours. The State Transport Bus Stand is on City Station Road, NH 8, Udaipur, for reservation and enquiry contact Tel. 484191.