The gorgeous and the sprawling City Palace in Udaipur is like the jewel in the crown of Udaipur city. The city palace, which was the seat of the erstwhile Mewar maharajas, stands tall in all its glory along the banks of Lake Pichola. The palace has now been converted into a museum, where tourists can take a look at the majestic lifestyle our rulers lived.
Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodiya Rajput family laid the foundation of the City Palace in the 1550s. The palace was then restructured and built by his descendants over a period of 400 years.
In 1969, the City Palace was opened to the public as the City Palace Museum. This was done to generate income and to make sure that through the collections, the palace would be maintained and well looked after.
Museum Entry Timings and Tickets
The City Palace Museum is open daily for visitors from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, except on the festival of Holi.
The palace tickets cost INR 300 for an adult and INR 100 for a child. Local guides can be hired there at extra charges.
Let’s begin this visual tour to get an understanding of the palace, before your visit. If you have already visited, then enjoy the glory yet again.
The main entrance to the palace is known as the Badi Pol, heavily gated, high pillars with arches on them. Once you head through the Tripolia, the triple arched gate made from marble (image below), you will reach the Manek Chowk.
Manek Chowk is a huge grass covered courtyard, right in front of the Mardana Mahal (Palace of the Kings). It was used for ceremonial proceedings, public meetings, elephant parades and other festivities.
The Chowk has now gotten a modern vibe, with a café; Palki Khana open in one corner and souvenirs stores lining its frontier wall.
Once you enter the Palace of the Kings, you chance upon a Ganesh idol placed on your right. The idol is placed in an intricately carved cache with minakari work on marble surrounding it. The idol is sculpted out of marble with its tusk and head made out of pure silver.
Maharana Pratap Gallery
Once you enter the main museum, through the check post, you will come to the Maharana Pratap Gallery, which highlights all the major events that took place in the Maharana’s life. It also displays the armour and belongings of the Maharana, right from his warrior outfit to his swords and blades.
There is a life-size model of Maharana Pratap and his horse Chetak. What is more fascinating about this, is that Chetak wore an elephant-like trunk during the Battle of Haldighat, which was a strategy used by Maharana Pratap to help avoid any attacks by the enemy’s sword wielding elephants.
Badi Mahal is the beautiful garden courtyard of the palace, which is also at the highest level. In early times, most festivals like Holi, Dussehra, Diwali were celebrated here by the royals.
The Badi Mahal also hosts a giant bathtub carved out of one single piece of marble. During every coronation, the tub used to be filled with gold and silver coins, which were then distributed among the general public and given as alms to poor.
Badi Chitrashali Chowk
Badi Chitrashali Chowk lies between Badi Mahal and the Mor Chowk. The blue marble tiles, coloured glass, wall murals and stone carved arches give this place an incredibly pleasing look.
The chowk offers stunning panoramic views of Udaipur. Step onto the gallery and on one side you will be greeted by Lake Pichola and the Jag Mandir, while on the other side you will see Udaipur city. The gushes of wind only make the experience sweeter.
The Mor Chowk (Peacock Courtyard) gets its name from the five ornately carved peacocks that decorate this courtyard with their fine glass inlay work. The kings used to hold important audiences and dinners here. Mor Chowk is the last area of the Mardana Mahal. From here, we enter the Zenana Mahal (Palace of the Queens).
As soon as you enter the Zenana Mahal, you step onto the Chowmukha, a lavishly built courtyard, perhaps the biggest in the entire City Palace. The Queens used to greet and host their royal guests in this courtyard.
Kanch ki Burj
Kanch ki Burj is the most opulent structure in the entire City Palace. The whole chamber is dorned in glass and mirrors.
This chamber, full of tinted glass was once the private chamber of Maharana Karan Singh. A thousand reflections are created here.
City Palace Galleries
The last leg of the City Palace Museum tour is the City Palace Gallery. It hosts numerous items that the royalty once used, right from exquisite silverware to cooking pots, from crystal attar bottles to fine gemstone jewellery, from marble chess to silver bow and arrow. It also hosts the horse cart, a chariot used to carry religious idols during processions and also a replica of a marriage mandap (pavilion).
Upon exiting the City Palace Gallery, you travel through the Toran Pol (which was once the entrance to the Zenana Mahal) and enter the Manek Chowk, where your tour ends.
I hope you enjoyed this visual tour just as I had enjoyed the actual one. If you have any questions about the City Palace Museum, hit me up!