The City Palace Complex, located on the placid waters of Lake Pichola, is an architectural marvel, carved out of granite and marble. Maharana Udai Singhji laid the foundation stone for this fascinating monument in the 16th century. The architecture of this palace is a blend of Mughal, Rajputana, European and Chinese styles. The City Palace Complex can almost be compared to a protected city due to its huge wall enclosures. The palace also has towers, beautiful domes and arches adding to its grandeur.
The City Palace Complex can be entered through massive gateways called 'pols'. In olden days, a passage called 'hati pol' was the most famous, because it was restricted to royal use. The main entrance to the palace is called 'bara pol' also known as the great gate which leads us to the first courtyard.
We also come across a triple-arched gate known as 'tripolia'. Between the bara pol and tripol we can see eight marble toranas or arches where in the past, the kings used to weigh themselves against gold and silver. Beyond tripolia, we come across an arena where elephant fights used to be staged in the yesteryears.
A number of magnificent imperial buildings are located within the City Palace Complex including splendid mosaic stone courtyards, marble pavilions, grand palaces, beautiful shrines and other structures of architectural excellence, which together form a small town of sorts within the City Palace walls.
Some of the exotic palaces housed in the complex are the Mor Chowk, Sheesh Mahal, Bada Mahal, Laxmi Vilas Chowk and the Moti Mahal aka Pearl Palace. Manak Mahal aka Ruby Palace has figurines made of shiny crystal and fragile porcelain material. Bada Mahal is an amazing garden palace which has exotic varieties of flora. It stands atop natural rocks of 90 feet height. The royal treasure was kept stored inside a palace called Rang Bhawan. Right opposite to this are temples honouring Lord Krishna, Meera Bai and Lord Shiva.
Exquisite coloured glass mosaic designs of peacocks, adorning the walls depicting the seasons can be seen in the Mor Chowk. Laxmi Vilas Chowk is an art gallery with exotic collections of colourful Mewar paintings. Entering this granite and marble masterpiece, its beautiful interiors with delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silverwork, inlay work and excess of coloured glasswork surprise us to no end.
Bhim Vilas has an extraordinary collection of amazing miniature paintings portraying the incidents from the life of Radha and Krishna. Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace is well known for its luxurious interiors while Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors houses some of the best mirror works seen on this planet. Chini Chitrashala has its walls, floors and ceilings laid with ornamental Chinese and Dutch tiles. Dilkusha Mahal aka Palace of Joy has murals and wall paintings as its forte.
The City Palace complex also houses the Jagdish Temple, which is the biggest and the most beautiful temple of Udaipur. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Hence a trip to the City Palace complex with its marvellous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, vast corridors, and hanging gardens would be an exciting experience for all!
Last Updated On: 2011/07/08