Udaipur, the city of lakes, is home to spectacular palaces that are a showcase of the rich heritage of the region. The City Palace, perhaps the most visited spot in the city, is a shining example of such a place and is a delight for those looking to experience the colourful culture of the Mewar Kingdom.
Udaipur, a city in the north-west state of Rajasthan in India, is a popular destination for both Indian and foreign tourists. With a surreal landscape filled with lakes and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the monuments in the city only add to the charm it possesses. This city was once the capital of the Kingdom of Mewar, a historically significant region of India that remained a princely state under British India. The kingdom has been traced back to 734 A.D. and was under the rule of several dynasties until it acceded to India during Independence in 1947 and later integrated into Rajasthan.
Naturally, this long history has translated into the architecture and the City Palace remains as a well preserved building that showcases various styles and types of arts and styles. The foundation stone for the palace was laid down in 1559 A.D. and the construction lasted around 400 years.
A massive restoration and reconstruction drive in 1969 by Maharana Bhagwat Singh has resulted in what we see today as the City Palace museum, a space that is appreciated by art lovers, photographers and history buffs, among many others.
The location of the City Palace offers a spectacular view of the city, through its height and also the Lake Pichola, the famed lake where Taj Lake Palace Hotel is located. History, houses an entire museum, restored wok and old preserved ones. It has several gates known as “pols”. Comprised of eleven palaces built by different rulers, a visit to the place means having a look at the different parts such as the Moti Mahal or Pearl Palace, Sheesh Mahal or Palace of mirrors. There are also temples within the complex, such as the Jagdish temple.
Inside the museum labyrinth
A visit to the City Palace is incomplete without entering its museum. By using paintings, replicas and models of armour, preserving original artefacts and weapons, the museum showcases the glorious history of the Mewar Kingdom. It is advisable to avail a personal guide or an audio guide that is available, as the information provided can be a little overwhelming otherwise.
The museum also requires a decent amount of walking thus wearing comfortable shoes is a wise idea and so is carrying an umbrella in case of too much sun or rain. The colourful glass windows and objects such as the Queen’s bathtub, which is incredibly huge, are very interesting to look at.
Walking across the museum, real kitchen utensils used in another century, rare collections of cupboards, intricate mirror work on the walls and the marble meshwork on the window all turn the building in itself into a piece of art.
With the introduction of light shows and other such initiatives, history continues to stay alive at the City Palace in Udaipur. It is a must visit destination for every traveller in the region.
Jaipur , Rajasthan