Located on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake, the Saheliyon ki Bari is a popular tourist attraction in Udaipur, known for its lush green lawns, fountains and marble art. This garden means ‘the Garden of the Maidens’ because it was once kept for the royal ladies who visit here for a leisure walk.
Legend says that the garden was made by the king himself for his queen. This garden was built so the queen and her 48 maids can spend leisure time away from the conspiracies of the court. During that time, there are many restrictions on women. The garden allowed the ladies to enjoy their own way.
Built in the 18th century by the Maharana Sangram Singh, the garden offers a green retreat in the dry lands of Rajasthan. This well maintained garden with shady walks can be found on the northern precincts of Udaipur, at the suburb of Polo Ground and is open for the public. There are four pools in this garden, and all have fountains.
Each pool offers an amazing sight when the water oozes out from the fountains in the midst of greenery and lushness. The lotus pool, carved marble pavilions, flowers beds, marble statues of elephants and bird fountains make Saheliyon ki Bari a must-visit place in Udaipur.
Maharana Bhopal Singh also loved this garden and beautified it even further by adding pavilions with rain fountains. This was made to create an illusion of rain moving in cadence with dancing maids. These fountains were imported from England. Some chiseled birds have been attached on top to make them look better. These sculpted birds spurt water from their beaks; hence, producing the rain effect.
The main reservoir that has four black marble kiosks is also worth a look. A rose garden filled with more than 100 varieties also greets visitors. Using the force of gravity, the garden was created lower than the water level of Fateh Sagar Lake to supply water for the garden’s lotus pools and fountains.
A museum is located within the garden complex. Here, you will come across a large collection of items that were used daily in the royal household. You will see stuffed animals, cobras and pictures from olden days displayed at the museum in Saheliyon ki Bari.
On the left side of the central square, the ‘Savan-Bhado’ fountain is present. On the west is a pond that features daintily sculptured pavilions (chattris) using soft black stone and is surrounded on all sides by fountains. This garden is one of the finest examples of Indian landscape gardening and is also a much loved picnic spot in the city.
The garden had been destroyed when it was flooded with lake water but Maharana Fateh Singh reconstructed it during the late 19th century which lends to its present form. His contribution was the ornamental pool with fountains, chattris and sitting rooms, adorned with glass mosaics and paintings.
To reach Saheliyon ki Bari, you can take an auto-rickshaw, taxi, bus or other means of transport. Another interesting way is by traveling through a tonga or horse carriage. The park is open from 9am to 6pm every day.