City Palace Udaipur
The majestic white City Palace located in the heart of Udaipur, was originally built by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia Rajput clan and extended to its present form by subsequent Maharanas. Built in granite and marble and surrounded by crenellated fort walls, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan stands on a crest overlooking the Pichola Lake.
Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex retained a surprising uniformity to the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant gate. The Bari Pol or the Big gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate.
It was once a custom that the Maharana would weigh under this gate in gold and silver, which was distributed to the populace. It is also now the main ticket office. Balconies, cupolas and towers surmount the palace to give a wonderful view of the lake.
Suraj Gokhada or the balcony of the sun is where the Maharana would grant public audiences mainly to boost the morale of the people in difficult times. The Mor Chawk is the peacock square and gains its name from the vivid blue mosaic in glass of a peacock that decorates its walls.
The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword.
The City Palace museum is then entered through the Ganesh Deori meaning the door of Lord Ganesh. This leads to the Rajya Angan, the royal courtyard that is the very spot where Maharana Udai Singh met the sage who told him to find a city here.
The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings. Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas display a rich collection of miniature paintings. Moti Mahal or the pearl palace has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over.
The Surya Chopar or the sun square depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Mewar dynasty belongs. The Bari Mahal is a central garden with view of the city. Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the Zanana Mahal or the ladies chamber, which leads to Lakshmi Chowk a beautiful white pavilion.