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City Palace, Udaipur

 

City Palace, UdaipurCity Palace of Udaipur is actually a series of palaces, built from 1559 AD onwards. City Palace stands on the banks of Lake Pichola and has outstanding views of the city, the Jag Niwas (also called Lake Palace) and Jag Mandir.


Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia clan started the construction of City Palace soon after he founded the city of Udaipur. Even though City Palace was extended by several builders over a number of years who added more buildings to it, the entire complex has a uniformity of design. The several gates of the City Palace complex are the Hati Pol or the Elephant Gate, that is used for entry into the palace; the Bari Pol or the Big Gate and that leads to Tripolia, the Triple gate.


There are courtyards, towers and balconies; some of these had a special purpose. For instance, Suraj Gokhada or The Balcony of the Sun was the place where the Maharana held public audiences to restore faith among the populace in case of crisis. Mor Chowk, the peacock square, is another attraction; this has a blue mosaic of a peacock made in glass on the square’s wall. Surya Chopar, the sun square, displays a large ornamental sun.


Among the palaces inside the complex, the Krishna Vilas has a vast collection of paintings exhibiting events & moods of the life of Maharanas such as royal processions, festivals and games. The Manak Mahal is the Ruby Palace that displays the glass and mirror work collection. Apart from these, Moti Mahal, the Pearl Palace, has intricate mirror work; the Chini Mahal is decorated with ornamental tiles; Bari Mahal has a central garden and the Zenana Mahal or the ladies chambers, has beautiful paintings.


Amar Vilas has beautiful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces. ShivNiwas Palaceand Fateh PrakashPalace, both are now luxury hotels. Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel also houses a rare collection of Oslers’ crystal ware in the famous Crystal Gallery.


City Palace also has Government Pratap Museum which exhibits old sculptures and inscriptions and is a storehouse of Mewar’s history. Antique paintings of Mewar and the turban of Prince Khurram who later became Shah Jahan, are on display in this museum.

 

 

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