City Palace Udaipur – A Complete Travel Guide

With balconies and towers standing majestically over the lake, this is the largest palace of the state. Since the 16th century, this palace has managed to stay as an architectural beauty. Today, it is one of the important tourist attractions of Udaipur. The main beauty of this palace is the panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding cities, from top of the palace.

The City palace is famous for being built by numerous generations, one after another. The facade beauty of the palace and the strategic reason for every element makes the palace, a more marvelous defense structure.

City Palace Udaipur

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History of City Palace

This palace was built right in the time of establishment of Udaipur city. Over the next 400 years, the palace had been the main site of administration, built and rebuilt by many kings. The region of the palace belonged to Mewar Kingdom during 568 AD. During 16th century, the kingdom was inherited by Maharana Uday Singh. When his capital city of Chittor was under war, he decided to build a new capital kingdom, closer to Lake Pichola. The site was chosen by the advice of a hermit that the king met during one of his hunting tours. The first structure to be built was the royal courtyard.

During the construction, Udai Singh II died and his son took over the construction. However, in the Haldighati Battle, the palace came under the control of Akbar. Later, it went back to the Rajputs and the construction continued until it went back to the hands of British in 19th century. Even under the British rule, the Rajputs built many structures inside the complex. After independence, the palace complex came under the rule of Indian government.

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Architecture of City Palace

Built on top of a hill, this palace is a fusion of Mughal and Rajasthani style architecture. The entire structure is built to the east of Lake Pichola, on a ridge. The palace is located 598m above sea level, to grand a panoramic view of approaching enemies. This palace was built over 22 generations of Rajputs, The complex holds eleven smaller palaces, which are homogenous in architectural style.

The main materials used for construction are marble and granite. The interior regions of the palace is filled with murals, silver-works, marble works, inlay works and others. All the palaces are interlinked with chowks and corridors. A few palaces in this complex are converted into heritage hotels, boutiques, craft shops and others.

The courtyards of the palace were built in zigzag manner to make it hard for advancing enemy troops. The main gate of the palace is the Tripolia gate, which was the main access to the palace, in the past.

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Structure within City Palace Complex

Gateways

The gateways are called as Pols. The main entrance to the palace complex is the Badi Pol or Great Gate. This gateway leads to the Tripolia Pol, which opens up to the northern side of the palace. The road connecting this gate with the palace is filled with many craft shops and souvenir shops. Right behind the Badi Pol, there is a huge wall, which was used for elephant fight.

City Palace Entrance Gate - Tripolia Gate
City Palace Entrance Gate – Tripolia Gate

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Amar Vilas

This is the uppermost court of the City Palace. This garden provides entrance to the Badi Mahal. This elevated garden is built in traditional Mughal style and was considered as pleasure pavilion. The garden holds numerous arcades, fountains, terrace and towers. This is the highest point of the palace.

Amar Vilas at City Palace Udaipur
Amar Vilas at City Palace Udaipur

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Badi Mahal

This is called as the great palace or garden palace. This palace is built on a natural rock formation. This palace holds swimming pool, miniature painting filled hall and others. From the palace, you can get a good view of surrounding buildings.

Badi Mahal at Udaipur City Palace
Badi Mahal at Udaipur City Palace

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Bhim Vilas

This is a gallery full of miniature painting, mostly related to the myth of Lord Krishna and his love, Radha.

Bhim Vilas at City Palace Udaipur
Bhim Vilas at City Palace Udaipur

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Chini Chitrashala

This is an art house decorated with Chinese and Dutch styled ornamented tiles.

Chini Chitrashala at City Palace Udaipur
Chini Chitrashala at City Palace Udaipur

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Choti Chitrashali

This is called as the residence of litter pictures. This palace is filled with paintings and pictures of early 19th century and earlier.

Choti Chitrashali at Udaipur City Palace
Choti Chitrashali at Udaipur City Palace

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Durbar Hall

This 20th century hall was the spot for banquets and meetings. The hall is decorated luxuriously with chandeliers, luxurious interior works, portraits and others. This hall was built by Maharana Fateh Singh and was called as Minto Hall, in the past.

Durbar Hall at City Palace Udaipur
Durbar Hall at City Palace Udaipur

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Fateh Prakash Palace

This is now a heritage hotel. The place is decorated with crystal gallery, table fountains, jewel carpets and many other rare items. This also includes many packages of crystal items that the king Sajjan Singh ordered from London and were delivered after his death.

Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur
Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur

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Krishna Vilas

This is a chamber filled with miniature paintings. The paintings explains the royal lifestyle, processions, games and festivals of the blue bloods.

Krishna Vilas at City Palace Udaipur
Krishna Vilas at City Palace Udaipur

Laxmi Vilas Chowk

This is another art gallery filled with Mewar paintings

Manak Mahal

This hall was used as a meeting place by the kings. The place has several emblems of the dynasties, a reception area, inscriptions on the wall and many others. It is said that the king watched the sun every morning to offer his prayers before having his food.

Manak Mahal at City Palace Udaipur
Manak Mahal at City Palace Udaipur

Mor Chowk

This is also called as peacock square. This is one of the inner courts of the palace complex. The court gets its name from three peacocks in relief, which indicates the three main seasons of the region; summer, winter and the rainy season. The reliefs are decorated with color mosaic. The peacocks are made with 5000 glass pieces. You can find many paintings of Lord Krishna. The balcony of this court is also decorated with colored pieces of glass.

Mor Chowk at City Palace Udaipur
Mor Chowk at City Palace Udaipur

Kanch ki Burj

Next to Mor Chowk, there is Kanch ki Burj, which is added by
Manarana Karan Singhji, during his reign from 1620 to 1628. It is made with mirror mosaics and the exquisite dome ceiling of this chamber is covered in mirrors and glass. This was used for private purposes by the kings.

Kanch ki Burj or Mirror Palace at City Palace Udaipur
Kanch ki Burj or Mirror Palace at City Palace Udaipur

Rang Bhawan

This is the palace, which held the royal treasure of the kings. There are also a few Hindu temples in this palace.

Sheesh Mahal

This is the Palace of Mirrors. This 18th century palace was built for Maharani Ajabde to enjoy her own reflection.

Sheesh Mahal at City Palace Udaipur
Sheesh Mahal at City Palace Udaipur

City Palace Museum

The ladies’ chamber of the palace and a part of the palace complex were combined together to create a museum, which holds artifacts from the royal era of Udaipur. This museum is open to public.

City Palace Museum
City Palace Museum

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Best Time to Visit City Palace

Summer starts in March and ends in June. Summers are hot, humid and dehydrating. Thus, it is best not to visit during summer. Since you would be exploring under sky, monsoon would cause disturbances. Heavy clouds can block your view from the top of the palace too. Thus, avoid the months from July to September. October to March is the best time to visit the palace for sightseeing and photography.

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How To Reach City Palace?

The nearest airport to the palace is Dabok Airport, in Udaipur. From the airport, you can find cabs and buses directly to the palace. If you are visiting via train, you can find cabs from Udaipur railway station to the palace. You can find road transportation from any part of Udaipur to City Palace.

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Entry Fee And Timing Of City Palace

Palace is open from 9 am to 5:30 pm

Mewar Sound and Light Show – Every evening in Manek Chowk

For Foreigners

  • Entry fee for adult – INR 300 per head
  • Entry fee for child between 5-18 years of age – INR 100 per head
  • Entry fee for child below 5 – Nil
  • Entry fee for Mewar sound and light show – INR 300 for adult and INR 300 for child (in Hindi) and INR 550 for adult and INR 250 for child (in English).

For Indians

  • Adults – INR 30 per head
  • Children between 5 and 18 years of age – INR 15 per head
  • For car museum: INR 250 per head for adults and INR 150 per head for child
  • For crystal gallery visit: INR 550 per head for adult and INR 350 per head for child
  • For still camera: INR 200 per equipment
  • For video camera: INR 500 per equipment
  • For Hindi guide: INR 300
  • Guide for museum: INR 200

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