City Palace Udaipur – The Largest Royal Palace Of Rajasthan
One of the amazing wonders of Mewar, City Palace in Udaipur is famous as the largest palace complex of the Rajasthan state.
City palace is the most popular tourist attraction in Udaipur City. This Palace stands magnificently on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola.
Surrounded by the Aravalli mountain range, it is worth admiring for its unbelievable royal architecture that offers a magical view of the surroundings.
Location of City Palace Udaipur
This palace is located on the eastern bank of Lake Pichola. It is located in Old City, Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Map of City palace Udaipur
History of City Palace Udaipur
The golden history of the City Palace is associated with the dynasty of Mewar. It has gone through several capital changes during the reign of many rulers.
Rajput kings governed and administered their kingdom from this palace, making this palace an important historical part of Mewar.
Initially, the kingdom of Mewar grew in Nagda, which is situated 30 km north of Udaipur and was founded in 568 AD by Maharana Guhil, the first Maharana of Mewar Kingdom.
Subsequently, in the 8th century, the capital was later moved to “Chittor”, a hilltop fort where the Chaudharyas and Sisodia ruled for 800 years.
During the year 1537, the kingdom of Mewar came under the rule of Maharana Udai Singh II.
At that time there was a danger of losing the Chittor Fort due to the war situation with the Mughals. As a result, Maharana Udai Singh II decided to opt for a new capital for his kingdom near the Pichola Lake in Udaipur, which shielded the territory completely from his enemies, as the region was surrounded by forests, lakes and Aravali hills from all sides.
According to history, the construction of the city palace was started under the rule of Maharana Udai Singh II, and later it was Carried forward subsequently by his successors over 400 years.
The history of this palace is written in golden letters as it served as the administrative complex of the Maharanas of Mewar.
This palace has several palaces built within the main palace. “Rai Angan” the royal courtyard being the first royal structure that was built in the city palace.
In 1572, after the death of Maharana Udai Singh II, his son Maharana Pratap took the power of Udaipur.
Maharana Pratap Singh lost the battle to Mughal Emperor Akbar during Haldighati, which is considered the greatest battle in the history of Mewar, and as a result, Udaipur came under the rule of the Mughals.
Further after the death of Mughal ruler Akbar, the region Mewar was again in the power of Maharana Pratap’s son and successor Amar Singh I by Jahangir.
In the year 1761, Udaipur and Mewar region once again fell into attacks by Marathas. So to protect the kingdom of Mewar from increasing attacks by Marathas, Maharana Bhim Singh signed a treaty with the British in 1818 asking for their help or protection.
After India’s independence, Firstly the Mewar region was declared as a part of democratic India and Secondly, the Kings of Mewar retained the ownership of the royal palaces in Udaipur.
Architecture of City Palace Udaipur
The several palaces in the city palace complex stand spectacularly behind an exquisite 801 ft long and 100 ft high built exquisitely on a ridge on the east of Lake Pichola.
Built With precious granite and marble, the City Palace complex is worth admiring for its amazing blend of European, Medieval, and Chinese architecture.
Starting in 1559, situated at an altitude of 1,962 feet, the City Palace complex was built over an extensive period by 22 generations of Sisodia Rajputs.
Maharana Udai Singh II and several other Maharanas of Mewar have contributed significantly to the construction of this beautiful royal complex.
The Palace comprises of 11 other small palaces and some other structures built homogeneously in its style.
The interiors of the palace complex look as magical as its exteriors. The amazingly fine marble-work, mirror-work, murals, miniature wall paintings, beautiful silver-work, inlay-work, and colored glass that adorn the towers, balconies, and cupolas of the complex are worth admiring.
The terraces of the City Palace Udaipur offers a complete breathtaking view of the Lake Pichola and the surrounding Udaipur City.
The palaces within the complex are interconnected through chowks or quadrangles and built-in zigzag corridors, to avoid sudden attacks by enemies.
The City Palace complex is enriched with many structures that are easily accessible by the main Tripolia (triple) gate which is known as the main entry point to the complex.
Apart from this, some other palaces within the main palace 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), Shambhu Niwas, Bhim Vilas, Krishna Vilas, Amar Vilas (with a raised garden), Badi Mahal (the big palace), Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace.
The complex also has some good facilities like post office, bank, and travel agency. There are numerous craft shops and an Indian boutique, which are supported by the World Wildlife Fund(WWF).
The Royal family of Mewar owns the entire Palace complex and the structures within the City palace are maintained by various trusts. The Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace have been converted into heritage hotels.
Structures within the City Palace
The City Palace complex has several structures whose stunning architecture reflects the Pride of Mewar, making it an ideal tourist destination for history lovers.
The structures within the Main complex are:
Gateways are the main entrance or provide access to the palace complex and are also called as “Pols”.
There are mainly three gateways to the palace complex. The first is known as ‘Badi Pol’ (Great Gate) is the main entry point to the palace complex which leads to the first courtyard. After clearing the ‘Badi Pol’, there is a triple-arched gate known as ‘Tripola’, the northern entrance to the complex.
Both the gates – ‘Badi Pol’ and ‘Tripola’ are set amazingly with eight marble arches or Toranas. According to history, It is said that the Maharanas used to weigh themselves with precious silver and gold here, after that it used to be distributed among the local people.
Further by crossing Tripolia Gate, the third one which is an arena in front of ‘Toran pol’ and facade palace is called “Manak Chowk”, where elephant fights were staged in the past to test their strength before starting on war campaigns.
Amar Vilas is an elevated garden at the uppermost of the complex. Built-in with Mughal architectural style, Amar Vilas provides entrance to the Badi Mahal, Which is a splendid structure built within the complex.
It has beautiful fountains, hanging gardens, towers, and terraces, Amar Vilas was especially used as a holiday home for Mahatmas.
There is a swimming pool inside the Badi Mahal, which was especially used for the Holi festival(festival of Colors and joy) Celebration. Also, it has an adjoining hall with some amazing miniature paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The beautiful wall paintings of Lord Vishnu of Jagdish Temple, Jag Mandir, and elephant fight scenes are the main attractions of Badi Mahal.
Bhim Vilas is a wonderful palace within the main City Palace Udaipur. This place is specially designed for art lovers. There is a gallery that has a collection of miniature paintings of Radha Krishna or Lord Krishna depicting real-life stories of ‘Goddess Radha’ and ‘Lord Krishna’.
The Chini Chitrashala where the word “Chini” means Chinese in English and “Chitrashala” means Gallary is another place worth admiring for its great collection of Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles.
Choti Chitrashala means a small gallery. As the name implies, It has ‘Residence of Little Pictures’, which was built in the early 19th century, has beautiful pictures of peacocks.
Dilkhush Mahal means that Anand’s palace was built in the year 1620.
The pleasing murals and wall paintings inside the complex are worth admiring for its artistic skills.
Durbar Hall was built in 1909 within the Fatehpraksh Palace to serve as a venue for official functions such as State banquets and official meetings. It was built during the rule of Maharana Fateh Singh.
The Durbar hall’s gallery was used by the royal ladies to observe the Durbar proceedings. This hall was made built a luxurious interior with large chandeliers. Durbar hall has a collection of Weapons of the maharanas and some of their portraits.
Earlier in 1909, It was also known as “Minto hall”, named after Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, who laid the foundation stone for this hall.
Fateh Prakash Palace:
The Fateh Prakash Palace, which has been converted into the Royal Luxury Hotel, has a wonderful collection of crystal chairs, dressing tables, sofas, tables, chairs and beds, crockery, table fountains along with jewel-studded carpet.
All these rare items were ordered by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877 from F&C Osler & Co of London, but the shocking thing is that he died before all the items arrived here. It is also said that packages containing these precious crystals remained unopened for around 110 years.
Krishna Vilas is another amazing palace within the main city palace, which was built for Lord Krishna lovers. It has a rich collection of miniature paintings that display the royal processions, festivals, and games organized during the rule of the Maharanas.
Laxmi Vilas Chowk:
An art Gallary that has a unique collection of Mewar paintings, Laxmi Vilas Chowk is worth admiring for its beautiful collections.
Manak Mahal means Ruby palace. It is one of the most beautiful structures within the City place. It is an enclosure for a formal audience for the Mewar rulers, Manak mahal is led from the Manak Chowk.
It has a raised alcove with mirror glasswork. Sun-face emblems on the facade of Manak Chowk is one of its main attractions, which is representing the Sun god worshipped by the Maharanas.
Along with this gleaming brass, religious insignia of the Sisodias dynasty displayed at several locations in the City Palace.
Mor Chowk or Peacock square is a part of the inner courts of the palace which was built during the rule of Maharana Sajjan Singh, about 200 years later than the initial establishment of the palace. There are three peacocks depicting the three seasons – summer, winter, and monsoon beautifully adorn the walls of the Mor Chowk.
Modeled with Colored glass and mirror mosaics, thees three peacocks in Mor Chowk are crafted with 5000 pieces of glass, which shine in green, gold, and blue colors.
The pictures of Lord Krishna in the front of the Chowk are the main attractions of Mor Chowk. Its upper level consists of a balcony that is surrounded by colored glass inserts and an adjacent chamber known as Kanch-ki-Burj consists of mosaics of mirrors decorating the walls. also, there is a small court inside the Mor chowk known as Badi Charur Chowk which is specially used for private purposes.
Rang Bhavan or Rang Mahal is the palace that was used to keep the royal treasury of Mewar. There are some temples of Lord Krishna, Meera Bai, and Lord Shiva.
Sheesh Mahal, as the name itself suggests, is a Palace built in 1716 with mirrors and glasses. It was built by Maharana Pratap Singh for his wife Maharani Ajabde.
City Palace Museum:
The City Palace and a major part of the ‘Zenana Mahal’ (Ladies Chamber), which was converted into a museum in the year 1974, is open to the public.
Popularity of City Palace
The palace was also picturized as a hotel in so many Hollywood and Bollywood movies such as the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, and Goliyo ki Raasleela Ram- Leela featured Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.
Similarly, Manak Chowk used as a venue for the annual Maharana Mewar Foundation Awards.
Best Time to visit City Palace
The best time to visit the City Palace in summer is in the morning and evening to avoid the crowds and heat. Similarly, the winter season can be considered as the best time to visit this magical palace of Mewar as the weather here is quite pleasant in winter.
How to Reach City Palace
You can use a private taxi, auto, or City bus of Udaipur to reach City Palace easily. A spectacular ferry ride from the City Palace to Jagmandir can also be done with a cost of about Rs. 400 per person.
Entry Fees and Timings of City Palace
The minimum entry fee for visiting City Palace is Rs. 30 for adults and Rs. 15 for children. However, if you wanna take some amazing shots inside the palace, You have to pay an additional charge around Rs. 200 for a still camera and Rs. 500 for the video camera.
» Rs.30 per person for Adults
» Rs.15 per person for Children
» Rs.200 for additional Camera Fee
The timings of Visiting City Palace are from Morning 9:30 am to Evening 5:30 pm. It is always open on all days of the week.
|Monday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
|Tuesday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
|Wedesday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
|Thursday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
|Friday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
|Saturday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
|Sunday||9:30 am – 5:30 pm|
Timings of City Palace Udaipur
Entry Fees and Timings of City Palace Museum
The starting or minimum entry fee for visiting City Palace Museum is Rs. 250 for Adults (Above 18 yrs age) and Rs. 100 for Children (5 to 18 yrs age). However, there is no minimum entry fee for children below 5 years of age. Also, if You wanna click photos then You have to pay an extra fee is Rs. 250 for the camera. For school students Who are visiting City Palace Museum in groups, the min entry fee is Rs. 100 per student.
One can visit the City Palace museum from Morning 9:30 am to Evening 5:30 pm on all days of the week.
Guides at City Palace
If you want to know in-depth or history about the City Palace of Udaipur, tour guides are available with a decent fee of Rs. 300 for the Palace and Rs. 200 for the city palace museum. Also, audio guides are also available here.
Hotels near City Palace Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace:
Situated just 1 km away from City Palace, Taj Lake Palace stands magnificently in the middle of Lake Pichola. It was built in 1746 under the rule of Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur, Rajasthan. Later it was converted into a Royal Hotel by the “HRH group of hotels”. This Royal palace now a 5-star hotel is built with precious marble and features unbelievable architecture. This amazing hotel has 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites. If you are looking for a royal stay near City palace Udaipur, then taj lake palace is the best option.
Built with Rajput-Mughal style, Baba palace provides a royal stay near the city palace Udaipur. This hotel is located only 150 m from the palace and in front of the Jagdish temple. Hotel Baba Palace offers fine accommodation, where you can choose between options such as Suit Rooms, family rooms, deluxe rooms, and super deluxe rooms. All rooms are equipped with modern amenities.
Hotel Janak Vilas:
Hotel Janak Niwas has 20 luxurious rooms and 2 suites, providing a tranquil home environment. It is located about 700 meters from the City Palace of Udaipur. This hotel has a traditional Rajasthani architecture that attracts every tourist. Hotel Janak Vilas offers royal accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar, and a terrace.
Hari Nivas Guest House:
Situated only 650 m from City palace and 300 m from world-famous Jagdish temple, Hari Niwas Guest House offers comfortable accommodation with all facilities like free WiFi.
Image Gallary of City Palace
City Palace Udaipur Contact Information
Finally, we can say City Palace Udaipur is a must-visit tourist attraction in the city of lakes. This Palace is always admired by everyone with its Royal architecture and Golden history. A trip to Udaipur is undoubtfully incomplete without visiting this Beautiful Royal Palace of Udaipur.