City Palace Udaipur

One of the architectural wonders of Rajasthan, the City Palace in Udaipur is the largest palace complex in the state. The most popular sightseeing place in Udaipur, City Palace stands magnificently on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola. Flanked by the Aravali mountain range, City Palace is worth admiring for its natural settings that offer a breathtaking view of the surroundings.

History of City Palace Udaipur

The History of City Palace is related to the kingdom of Mewar which has gone through several capital changes during the reign of its many rulers. The capital was first established in Nagda in 568 AD by Guhil, the first Maharana of Mewar. It was later moved to Chittor in the 8th century under the rule of Sisodias.

In 1537, the Mewar kingdom came under the rule of Maharana Udai Singh II. Due to the war with the Mughals, there was a risk of losing the Chittor fort. Hence, Maharana Udai Singh II chose a new capital for his kingdom near Lake Pichola shielding the territory from its enemies, well surrounded by forests, lakes, and the imposing Aravalli hills.

city palace udaipur

The construction of the City Palace started under the reign of Maharana Udai Singh II and was enhanced subsequently by his successors over a period of 400 years. This palace is of great historical importance as it served as the administrative complex of the Maharanas.

Also Read: Pichola Lake Udaipur

The first royal structure that was built in the City palace complex was ‘Rai Angan’, the royal courtyard. After the death of Maharana Udai Singh II, his son Maharana Pratap took over Udaipur. During the Battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratap lost the war to the Mughal emperor Akbar and Udaipur came under the rule of the Mughals.

After Akbar’s death, Mewar was handed over to Maharana Pratap’s son and successor Amar Singh I by the Mughal ruler Jahangir. Udaipur once again fell into the attacks of Marathas in the year 1761. To protect Mewar from further attacks, Maharana Bhim Singh signed a treaty with the British in 1818 asking for their protection. After India’s independence, Mewar became a part of democratic India and the kings of Mewar retained the ownership of the palaces in Udaipur.

The architecture of City Palace Udaipur

Built-in granite and marble, the City Palace complex is worth admiring for its perfect blend of Medieval, European, and Chinese architecture. The several palaces in the complex stand magnificently behind the 100ft high and 801 ft long facade built exquisitely on the ridge of Lake Pichola.

Located at an elevation of 1,962 ft, the City Palace complex was built by the 22 generations of Sisodia Rajputs over an extensive period of time starting from the year 1559. Udai Singh II and several other Maharanas have contributed significantly to the construction of this impressive complex. The complex comprises 11 small palaces and other structures built homogeneously in its design.

The interiors of the palace complex are as commendable as its exteriors. The intricate mirror-work, marble-work, murals, wall paintings, silver-work, inlay-work, and colored glass that adorn the balconies, towers, and cupolas of the complex are worth admiring.

The terraces in the upper part of the complex offer a breathtaking view of the lake and the surrounding Udaipur city. The palaces in the complex are connected by chowks and the corridors in the palace are built in a zigzag manner to evade any surprise attacks from enemies.

Also Read: Best Places to Visit in Udaipur

The City Palace complex is enriched with many structures that can be reached through the main Tripolia (triple) gate which acts as the entry point to the complex.

Other structures within the complex are the Suraj Gokhda (public address facade), Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), Dilkhush Mahal (heart’s delight), Surya Chopar, Sheesh Mahal (Palace of glass and mirrors), Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls), Krishna Vilas, Shambhu Niwas, Bhim Vilas, Amar Vilas (with a raised garden), Badi Mahal (the big palace), Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace.

The complex also has facilities of a post office, bank, and travel agency. There are a number of craft shops and an Indian boutique supported by the World Wildlife Fund(WWF) that tourists can visit on their trip to the palace complex.

The Mewar royal family owns the entire Palace complex and the structures in the complex are maintained by various trusts. The Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace are now transformed into heritage hotels.


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