List of Palaces in Udaipur
The luxurious palaces of Udaipur tell stories of the glorious past and the lavish, elegant lifestyles of the royal families that lived here. Many of these grand palaces have been converted into heritage hotels and museums, so that they are more accessible to the locals and the tourists.
The City Palace: It is situated on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola and was built by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559. This Palace is a massive series of complex palaces built at different times from the year 1559. Located atop a hill, the City Palace was built in a flamboyant style with a fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It is considered to be one of the largest palaces in the state of Rajasthan.
The City Palace is a fortified city with massive walls enclosing a mini township within its folds. There are several gigantic gateways but the main entrance is through the triple arched gate, called the Tripolia. The other two gateways or polls are the Elephant Gate or Hathi Pol and the Bara Pol. The other complexes which are made within the premise of the City Palace are Amar Vilas, Badi Mahal, Chinni Chitrashala, Choti Chitrashali, Dilkhusha Mahal, Darbar Hall, Fateh Prakash, Jagdish Mandir, Krishna Vilas, Laxmi Vilas Chowk, Manak Mahal, Mor Chowk, Rang Bhawan, Sheesh Mahal etc. The palace now houses a museum with many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils from the royal era.
Several historical monuments like the Jagdish Temple, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir and Monsoon Palace stand overlooking Lake Pichola and are all in the vicinity of the palace complex. These landmarks are associated in popular culture like the 1983 Roger Moore starrer James Bond movie Octopussy, then there is the 1991 television documentary film called Jag Mandir. Parts of the Bollywood movie, Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali were filmed here. The palace area of Manak Chowk serves as the venue of the annual Maharana Mewar Foundation Awards, honouring students, national and international personalities.
The Lake Palace: Originally called Jag Niwas or Jan Niwas after its founder, Maharana Jagat Singh II, the Lake Palace is situated on the Jag Niwas Island in Lake Pichola. This white marbled palace was constructed to serve as a royal summer retreat for the Rajputs. A hint of Mughal architecture can be seen in the palace. The courtyards of the palace are lined with pillared terraces, columns, gardens and fountains. The rooms of the heritage hotel are decorated with arches and painted mirrors.
Spanning over 4 acres of land and consisting of 83 rooms and suites, the palace has now become a luxury 5 star hotel. It now operates under the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces banner. The palace was used as shooting place for several movies like The Tiger of Eschnapur, The Fall, the British television series The Jewel in the Crown and a Bollywood movie called Yaadein.
The Jag Mandir Palace: Also called the Lake Garden Palace, the Jag Mandir is on an island in Lake Pichola. The construction of the palace is credited to 3 Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar. The palace was finally completed in 1652 by Maharana Jagat Singh I and it was named as Jagat Mandir in honour of the last named Maharana Jagat Singh. The palace was used by the royal family as a summer resort and has also served as a refuge to asylum seekers on two separate occasions.
The impressive series of structures in the three storied Jag Mandir are the Gul Mahal, which was built first as a refugee for the Mughal prince Khurram. The Gul Mahal has the Garden Courtyard and the Darikhana on its northern side and the Zenana Mahal, which is at its southern extension. The Bara Patharon ka Mahal and the Kunwar Pada ka Mahal are also a part of the Jag Mandir. Then there are the four carved statues of elephants on either side of the jetty entry on the lake from Udaipur, which is the epitome of elegance.
The Shiv Niwas Palace: This ancient Rajput architectural masterpiece used to be the former residence of the Maharana of Udaipur. Located on the southern side of the City Palace complex, the construction of the Shiv Niwas Palace was completed in the beginning of the 20th century by Maharana Fateh Singh. It was used as a royal guesthouse but was later converted into a hotel. The hotel is now run by the HRH Group of Hotels.
The interior of the palace features inlay work of ivory and pearls, the impeccable glass mosaic designs and fresco paintings are the stand out features of the palace. The hotel consists of 36 guest rooms consisting of 19 deluxe rooms, 8 terrace suites, 6 royal suites and 3 imperial suites.
The Fateh Prakash Palace: The Palace of Fateh Prakash is located along the shores of Lake Pichola and was built by Maharana Fateh Singh. During his time, a big portion of the palace was converted into a public museum. The museum portrayed the varying tastes of the Rajput kings in the fields of art and culture. The varied sections of the royal museum included the art gallery, archaeology, tribal woodcrafts and weaponry.
The Fateh Prakash Palace was later renovated and turned into a heritage hotel under the HRH Group. The palace features distinctive turrets, majestic domes and showcases a treasure-trove of priceless paintings, exquisite chandeliers and a collection of unique crystal and crockery.
The Monsoon Palace: The Monsoon palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, to see his ancestral home of Chittaurgarh. It is also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, located on the Bansdara peak of the Aravalli hill range.
Built with white marble, the palace was made keeping in mind the Rajput architectural style. The palace was planned to be a 9 storied astronomical observatory which would record the arrival of monsoons by keeping track of the monsoon clouds. Despite the beauty of the palace along with its unique rainwater harvesting techniques, the Monsoon Palace was slowly abandoned and has not been renovated as required due to lack of water. Not until very recently, the Monsoon Palace has been opened to the public and has been added to the list of Udaipur’s popular tourist destination.
The city of Udaipur is a blend of sights, sounds and experiences, which have made it one of the top destinations for weddings and celebrations. The city is well connected to all the other major cities of India. The nearest airport being the Dabok Airport and the 2 railways stations are the Udaipur City railway station and the Rana Pratap Nagar railway station.