To commemorate the foundation of his new capital Udaipur, Mewar ruler Maharana Udai Singh constructed the Udaipur City Palace, which was destined to be one of the biggest palaces on Earth as well as a major tourist destination in India. Such foundation that was started by Udai Singh was emulated by his descendants that left a mark of centuries of construction styles and that resulted to the present Udaipur we see today.
Standing loftily on the east bank of the Pichola Lake, this splendid construction comprise of a clusters of palaces built at varying periods from 1559. The balconies of the Udaipur City Palace offer panoramic views of the Lake Palace Hotel, Jagh Mandir and the entire city of Udaipur.
The City Palace has a number of entry gates, but the main entrance is through the Great Gate (Bara Pol) that further leads to the Tripolia Pol, a triple arched gate made in 1725 that provides the northern entry.
The ever-famous window balcony, the Suraj Gokhda was used by the Maharanas when speaking with the public during crisis times. Distinguished as the biggest palace complex in Rajasthan, the palace is generally made from marble and granite and features a fine mixture of Chinese, Rajput, European and Medieval architecture.
The palace has distinct domes, towers and arches which deepens its heritage value. It has an excellent collection of pavilions, corridors, rooms, courtyards, terraces and hanging gardens. It has a fortified structure, guarding the risk from any form of enemy attacks. It is adorned with gardens and fountains which kept their feel of cultural harmony and regal pride over the years, captivating visitors from different parts of the world.
The Krishna Vilas is perhaps the most mysterious part of the palace. The room is developed in memory of Krishna Kumari, a princess who committed suicide due to extremely tragic circumstances. Many people said that the princess still haunts this palace.
Perhaps the best part about the Udaipur City Palace that will surely captivate your sight is the gardens or courtyards. The Raj Aangan or the Royal Courtyard is the oldest part of the palace that was developed around the 16th century. On the other hand, Amar Vilas is a magnificent hanging garden with vast terraces and fountains. The Mor Chowk is a splendid courtyard adorned with five peacocks in striking glass inlay work. This is a special part of the palace as the Maharanas use this room to hold dinners and entertain guests.
Other significant parts of Udaipur City Palace include the Chini Mahal and Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace). Badi Mahal or the Great Palace is the exotic garden of the palace situated on a 27 meter high rock formation. One can enter the City Palace Museum via the Ganesh Deori or the Door of Lord Ganesh. The famous palace has been used as film location in various movies including the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’.
Udaipur City Palace can easily be reached by foot. There are plenty of sightseeing places along Lake Pichola and to explore these attractions, you can take an auto-rickshaw or tongas as these are the cheapest mode of transport throughout the city. You can also rent a bicycle so you can easily move around.