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City Palace, Udaipur

    City Palace, the majestic white royal building towers itself on a hill and is surrounded by crenellated walls. The palace was completed in its present form by the contribution of many rulers. Originally started by Udai Singh, the later additions were so carefully planned and integrated with the original building that it becomes difficult to believe that the building was not conceived as a whole. The city palace stands along the shores of Lake Pichola.

Approach to the palace is through the 'Hati Pol' or the 'Elephant Gate'. The 'Bara Pol' or the 'great gate' leads to the first court, which joins Tripolia or the 'triple gate'. Between the two gates are eight carved 'toranas' or arches, which mark the spot where the rulers were weighed against gold or silver, the equivalent value of which was then distributed among the poor. Beyond the Tripolia is the arena where the elephant fights were staged.
The path then leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping pavilions, terraces, corridors and hanging gardens- a harmonious profusion hard to describe.The soft cream coloured central 'Chhatri' has facing of blue coloured tiles with massive octagonal towers crowned with cupolas. The Sheesh Mahal has inlaid mirror work. The Krishna Vilas has a series of miniature paintings, which are witness to the royal processions, festivals and the game of 'Chogan'.

The Chini Chitrashala is famous for its Chinese and Dutch tiles, the latter of which has depiction of Biblical scenes including the flight to Egypt. Radha-Krishna stories are painted on the walls of the Bhim Vilas. The glass mosaic gallery with its superb stained glasses and portraits afford a panoramic view of the city below. The Mor Chowk has a brilliant mosaic of peacocks set in the walls showing the three seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. There are exquisite terrace gardens with fountains in the Amar Vilas.

There is also a museum in the fort which houses the armour of the valiant Maharana Pratap and the drums & bugles of Rana Sanga, another Mewar ruler.
 

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