(Last Updated on : 25/08/2010)
The majestic palaces of Udaipur are also known as White City Palace. Most of the palaces are built in granite and marble. The palaces stand overlooking the Pichola Lake. Maharana Udai Singh of Shishodia Rajput clan had built these palaces and his successors had given the palaces its present form. The Udaipur Palace is a blend of European and Chinese architecture. The palace complex has a number of remarkable buildings of immense beauty. It has gardens and fountains, which are extremely well planned and finely executed over years.
Udaipur Palaces and Monuments
are famous for their splendid architecture, which boast the rich taste of royalty. The Kings of Udaipur had constructed massive palaces and monuments for their comfort and luxury, which have become a testimony of the foregone era. The imperial legacy of these ancestral kings attracts tourists from all over the world. The inclination of royal kings was to fulfill their passion by building lavish structures in a picturesque surrounding of the city of Udaipur which is worth seeing.
Main gate of Udaipur Palaces is known as `Hati Pol` or the `Elephant Gate`. The `Bara Pol` or the `Large Gate` on the northern end leads to the first courtyard and was built in 1600 AD. The courtyard is also joined with ` Tripolia` or `Triple Gate`, built in 1725 AD. Between the two gates there are eight carved marble arches or `Torana`, under which the rulers of past were weighed against gold and silver. The gold and silver which equaled the weight of the king was generally distributed to the poor. Beyond the Tripolia there was an arena where elephant fighting took place. In the recent age the palace looks rugged externally but inside the palace there are luxurious apartments surrounded by balconies, hanging gardens, massive octagonal towers and cupolas with an all encompassing view of the city and the lake from the upper terraces. The biggest temple of Udaipur, the Jagdish Temple
built in 1651 AD, dedicated to lord Vishnu is also situated here.
The oldest part of the palace is `Raj Aangan` or Royal Courtyard, built by Maharana Udai Singh
in the sixteenth century. The most important part of the palace with its several `Mahals` is now exhibited as a museum. Almost all the rooms of the palace are decorated with beautiful paintings, inlay glasswork, antique furniture and colorful enamels. The `Krishna Vila` is famous for its miniature painting depicting royal processions and festivals and games of Maharanas. `Mor Chowk` has an unique glass mosaics of peacocks in its wall showing the three seasons-summer, winter and monsoon.
The `Manak Mahal` or the Ruby Palace has beautiful figures of crystal and porcelain. The `Bhim Vila` has exquisite paintings of `Radha-Krishna Lila` on the walls and has a glass mosaic gallery called `Suraj Gokhala` with beautiful stained glasses and a panoramic view of city below. The `Zenana Mahal` or the Queen`s Quarter is situated to the south and the `Dilkhusha Mahal` or The Palace of Joy has beautiful frescoes and wall paintings. The `Laxmi Vilas Chowk` is an art gallery, which houses a distinctive collection of Mewar paintings.
The `Chini Chitrashala` is famous for its Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles, the latter of which has depiction of Biblical scenes including the flight to Egypt. The `Moti Mahal` or Palace of Pearls is lavishly decorated and the `Sheesh Mahal` or the Palace of Mirrors is famous for its dazzling glory of inlaid mirrors. There is also the `Hawa Mahal` and the `Bari Mahal` with a lush garden built on a 90 feet height natural rock formation. The `Amar Vila` is raised on the highest point of the palace, which has exquisite hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces and a fascinating view of the city and Pichola lake.
Many palaces of Udaipur which were built in the imperial era nowadays have been converted to the heritage hotels, which offer the same luxurious comfort that was part of majestic lifestyle once. Lake Palace in Udaipur
, City Palace and the Jag Mandir Palace are the major palaces of the city, which are famous for their outstanding architecture. Bagore ki Haveli is another well-known palace, which has been preserved to a great extent. The Monument of Maharana Pratap Memorial is notable for the life-sized statue of Maharana Pratap Singh