In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History.

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Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

Rajasthan, the land of brave Rajput soldiers who were known for their courage and valour. It is also a land of magnificent palaces and vast stretching sandy desert, named as That desert. Still many Royal families are residing in those palaces and part of them were made as heritage hotels for the tourists and foreigners. Celebrity marriages also took place in those heritage hotels. Today, am going to take you all readers to some of my favourite Royal charms of Rajasthan..to which am in absolute love with. Though have gone to these places during my teenager time but still if I get another chance, will surely go to these places once again. They created a charismatic effect upon my mind. To start with " Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur.

Photo of Mehrangarh Fort and Museum, Fort Road, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

MEHRANGARH FORT : HISTORY AND ITS CURSE.

The fort is the sole ode to Rajputana grandeur and architectural brilliance. The view of the Jodhpur city in blue spreading down is quite impressive to see and witness. The fort was made by the ruler of Mandore, Rao Jodha. When he decided to shift his capital to a safer and elevated location in Jodhpur, he laid the foundation of this massive fort on a hill named, Bhakurcheeria aka the Mountain of Birds.

Legends, say that the king had to relocate the sole occupant of the mountain, a hermit named Cheeria Nathji in order to build the fort. The enraged hermit cursed that the fort would suffer scarcity of water forever. In order to nullify the impact of the curse, the king buried the common man Raja Ram Meghwal alive in the foundations of the fort. Since the man willingly, had agreed to sacrifice his life, the king promised to look after his family. There is a memorial in honour of Ram Meghwal inside the fort premises.

LOBBY OF UMAID BHABAN PALACE.

Photo of Mehrangarh Fort and Museum, Fort Road, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

MEHRANGARH FORT: MUSEUM.

The museum at the Mehrangarh Fort has different galleries showcasing an amazing collection of artifacts and decorative arts. The galleries at Mehrangarh Fort museum include:

Elephant Howdah Gallery: Howdahs (seats used for riding the elephants) from the 18th and 19th centuries, including the silver howdah that Shah Jahan presented to Maharaja Jaswant Singh

Daulat Khana Gallery: Some of the splendid treasures of this fort, including a few memorabilia of Emperor Akbar

Turban Gallery: Various kinds of turbans used in Rajasthan by different communities and regions on various festivals and occasions

Palanquin Gallery: A spectacular collection of palanquins including Pinjas (covered palanquins) and Rajat Khasa (lotus-shaped palanquin), to mention a few

Painting Gallery: A fine collection Miniature Paintings and artwork belonging to the Marwar School

Textile Gallery: Precious carpets, canopies, floor-spreads, tent walls, garments, and other furnishings from different centuries

Sileh Khana or Arms Gallery: The swords of many kings and emperors, including Rao Jodha’s Khaanda that weighs over 7 pounds and the swords of Emperor Akbar and Timur

Wood Craft Gallery: A number of artifacts carved out of wood and decorated with gold polish and ivory

Cradle Gallery: A rare collection of cradles which include the electric cradle designed for the present king

TAKHAT VILAS

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

THINGS TO SEE IN THE MEHRANGARH FORT COMPLEX:

1.Sheesh Mahal or the Hall of Mirrors, Maharaja Ajit Singh’s bedroom that is intricately decorated with glass work.

2.Phul Mahal or the Palace of Flowers, an ornate reception room built by Abhay Singh that dates back to the mid-18th Its architectural style matches those of Shah Jahan’s palaces.

3.Moti Mahal or the Palace of Pearls, a beautiful chamber displaying the luster of the pearls. Here the queens would sit unseen and listen to the court proceedings.

4.Takhat Vilas, a large interior room decorated with colored glass panes in the windows. It was the personal chamber of Takhat Singh.

5.Jayapol built in 1806 by Maharaja Man Singh to celebrate his victories over the armies of Bikaner and Jaipur.

6.Fattehpol built in 1707 by Maharaja Ajit Singh to commemorate his triumph over the Mughal forces. It has spikes to prevent any attack by elephants.

7.Dedh Kamgra Pol where the impact of the cannonballs bombarded by the invading Jaipur army can be seen.

DEDH KAMGRA POL

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

8.Imritia Pol, another one of the fort gates

9.Suraj Pol, the gate that leads to the museum

10.Loha Pol, the final gate that leads to the main section of the fort

11.Kirat Singh Soda’s chhatri, an elaborate structure that marks the spot where a soldier had fell down in 1808 while defending the fort

12.Chamunda Mata Temple built by Rao Jodha in 1460.

13.A wall of the fort bears handprints which are believed to be of the royal women who performed Sati or self-immolation on their husband’s pyre.

The fort was the location for many Hollywood and Bollywood films, including The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Jungle Book (1994), and Awarapan (2007).

PHOOL MAHAL

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

PHOOL MAHAL.

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; every day

Entry Fee: Free

Museum Entry Fee:

₹ 100 for Indians; ₹ 50 for senior citizens, students, paramilitary personnel

₹ 600 for foreigners (the charges include audio equipment)

₹ 400 for foreign students

BLUE CITY OF JODHPUR FROM MEHRANGARH FORT.

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

Chokelao Bagh Entry ₹ 30 per person

Guide Fee ₹ 300 to ₹ 600 (varies based on tax).

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

UMAID BHABHAN PALACE:

When they say ‘live life king size’, they were obviously thinking ‘Rajasthan’. In this western state in India, ruled for centuries by the Rajputs, magnificent palaces and sprawling forts are scattered like jewels across the desert landscape. Among these grand monuments is Umaid Bhawan, home to the Jodhpur royal family. Built between 1928 and 1943, Umaid Bhawan is the last in a long line of palaces built by the rulers of India’s princely states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

NIGHT VIEW OF THE PALACE.

Photo of Umaid Bhawan Palace, Circuit House Road, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

UMAID BHABAN PALACE: HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE:

Named after the maharaja who built it, Umaid Bhawan is the grandest of 20th century Rajput palaces and is set amid 26 acres of verdant lawns at Chittar Hill in Jodhpur. The palace, built from golden-yellow sandstone, looks across to Mehrangarh Fort and the city of Jodhpur. This ironically, an act of charity. Just before its construction began, the erstwhile princely state of Jodhpur was in the grip of famine, and Umaid Singh needed to find a way to help his people. The benevolent maharaja thus embarked on the ambitious project of building the palace to provide employment to his famine-stricken people.

The foundation stone was laid in 1928 and the palace was completed in 1943, just four years before Independence. Umaid Singh commissioned noted British architect Henry Vaughan Lanchester to design his royal home, which was built in a blend of Art Deco and Indo-Saracenic architectural styles.

SHEESHSA MAHAL OF MEHRANGARH FORT.

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

Indo-Saracenic was the most popular style of building at the turn of the century. It was a British reinterpretation of Rajput and Mughal aesthetics, and sported elaborate motifs and carvings and domes. In 1925, at the height of the Jazz Age, the world was introduced to Art Deco, an architectural style defined by neat curves and attractive lines. When the two come together, we get a unique blend of Western and Oriental aesthetics and styles in the Umaid Bhawan palace. The palace also has a subterranean swimming pool called the Zodiac Pool. It is a distinctly Art Deco, circular pool with its bottom covered in a tile mosaic depicting the signs of the zodiac. The walls and ceilings are covered with tiles painted in gold.

ZODIAC POOL.

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

INTERIOR OF THE BHABAN.

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

After the death of his son , Hanwant Singh, Gaj Singh was suceeded to the throne. He had converted parts of his royal homestead into a hotel and a museum while maintaining the rest as the family residence. It is a tough balancing act between financial prudence, private use and public good.

In the newly independent India, new symbols of state power emerged in form of large dams , public buildings and statues. Today, the great palaces of India, such as Umaid Bhawan , have adapted to the changing times, giving us a glimpse into the splendor of a lost era.

This extravagant palace has hosted the luxurious marriage ceremony of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas.

WEDDING OF PC AND NJ AT UMAID BHABHAN PALACE.

Photo of Umaid Bhawan Palace, Circuit House Road, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

UDAIPUR CITY PALACE: HISTORY.

Photo of City Palace, Old City, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

During 1537, the Mewar kingdom came under the rule of Maharana Udai Singh II. Due to war with the Mughals there was a risk of losing the Chittor fort. Hence, Maharana Udai Singh II chose a new capital for his kingdom near Lake Pichola that shielded the territory from its enemies, well surrounded by forests, lakes and the imposing Aravalli hills.

The first royal structure that was built in the City palace complex was 'Rai Angan', the royal courtyard. After the death of Maharana Udai Singh II, his son Maharana Pratap took over Udaipur. During the Battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratap lost the war to the Mughal emperor Akbar and Udaipur came under the rule of the Mughals.

After Akbar’s death, Mewar was handed over to Maharana Pratap's son and successor Amar Singh I by the Mughal ruler Jahangir. Udaipur once again fell into the attacks of Marathas in the year 1761. To protect Mewar from further attacks, Maharana Bhim Singh signed a treaty with the British in 1818 asking for their protection. After India’s independence, Mewar became a part of democratic India and kings of Mewar retained the ownership of the palaces in Udaipur.

Architecture of City Palace Udaipur:

MAIN GATE OF THE PALACE

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

Built in granite and marble, City Palace complex is worth admiring for its perfect blend of Medieval, European and Chinese architecture. The several palaces in the complex stand magnificently behind the 100ft high and 801 ft long facade built exquisitely on the ridge of Lake Pichola.

The interiors of the palace complex are as commendable as its exteriors. The intricate mirror-work, marble-work, murals, wall paintings, silver-work, inlay-work and colored glass that adorn the balconies, towers and cupolas of the complex are worth admiring.

The terraces in the upper part of the complex offer a breathtaking view of the lake and the surrounding Udaipur city. The palaces in the complex are connected by chowks and the corridors in the palace are built in zigzag manner to evade any surprise attacks from enemies.

Other structures within the complex are the Suraj Gokhda (public address facade), Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), Dilkhush Mahal (heart’s delight), Surya Chopar, Sheesh Mahal (Palace of glass and mirrors), Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls), Krishna Vilas, Shambhu Niwas, Bhim Vilas, Amar Vilas (with a raised garden), Badi Mahal (the big palace), Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace. The Mewar royal family owns the entire Palace complex and the structures in the complex are maintained by various trusts. The Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace are now transformed into heritage hotels.

Structures within the City Palace complex :

DURBAR HALL

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

The City Palace complex has a number of structures that boast of splendid architecture, making it a must visit tourist destination for history lovers.

The structures within the complex are:

1. Gateways

Also called as Pols, Gateways are the entry points to the palace complex. There are three major gateways to the complex. 'Badi Pol' (Great Gate) is the main entry point to the complex that leads to the first courtyard. After crossing the ‘Badi Pol’, one encounters a triple arched gate called as ‘Tripola’, the northern entry to the complex.

The two gates - 'Badi Pol' and ‘Tripola’ are aligned beautifully with eight marble arches or Toranas. According to the legends, the Maharanas used to weigh themselves against gold and silver here, which was later distributed among the local people.

Once through the ‘Tripolia’ gate, an arena near the Toran Pol is encountered where elephant fights were held in the past. These elephants were later chosen for war campaigns according to their prowess. Across Tripolia gate there is another gate known as ‘Elephant gate’ or the ‘Hathi Pol’.

2. Amar Vilas

Located at the highest point of the City Palace, Amar Vilas is an elevated garden that serves as the topmost court within the complex. Built in Mughal style architecture, Amar Vilas is the entry point to Badi Mahal, another alluring structure within the complex.

Adorned with beautiful hanging gardens, fountains, towers and terraces, Amar Vilas served as a leisure home for the Maharanas.

3. Badi Mahal

Also known as Great Palace/Garden Palace, Badi Mahal is the main palace in the complex that sits magnificently on a 89 ft high rock formation. Badi Mahal houses a swimming pool which was used for Holi celebrations in the past, and a hall that exhibits miniature paintings of 18th and 19th centuries.

The beautiful wall paintings of Jag Mandir, Lord Vishnu of Jagdish temple, and elephant fight scenes are some of the other attractions here.

4. Bhim Vilas

Bhim Vilas is another place worth visiting for art lovers. With a gallery consisting of miniature paintings of Lord Krishna and Radha illustrating their real life stories, Bhim Vilas is sure to mesmerise one and all with its skilled artwork.

5. Chini Chitrashala

The Chini Chitrashala is another place worth visiting for the vast collection of Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles that are pretty attractive.

6. Choti Chitrashala

As the name suggests, the 'Residence of Little Pictures' built in the early 19th century is home to a small gallery consisting of pictures of peacocks.

7. Dilkusha Mahal

Meaning the Palace of Joy’, Dilkusha Mahal was constructed in the year 1620. The beautiful murals and wall paintings in the complex are worth admiring for its artistic skills.

8. Durbar hall

Serving as a venue for official functions, Durbar Hall was newer addition to the palace complex. Built in the year of 1909 during the rule of Maharana Fateh Singh, the hall is adorned with large chandeliers that add to the grandeur of this place.

Durbar hall is a part of Fateh Prakash Palace and displays weapons and portraits of the Maharanas. Durbar Hall was earlier called as Minto hall, named after the Viceroy of India, Lord Minto who laid the foundation stone for this hall.

9. Fateh Prakash Palace

Now a luxury hotel, Fateh Prakash Palace has an interesting collection of crystal chairs, dressing tables, sofas, tables, chairs, beds, crockery, table fountains along with a jewel studded carpet. These items were ordered by Maharana Sajjan Singh in the year 1877. However, he died before its arrival and the package remained unopened for nearly 110 years.

FATEH PRAKASH PALACE

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

10. Krishna Vilas

Another compelling chamber for art lovers, Krishna Vilas has an admirable collection of miniature paintings displaying various events during the rule of Maharanas such as royal procession, festivals and games held during their reign.

11. Laxmi Vilas chowk

An art gallery displaying a unique collection of Mewar paintings, Laxmi Vilas chowk is worth admiring for its rare collections.

12. Manak Mahal

Meaning Ruby Palace, Manak Mahal is one of the most beautiful structures in City Palace. Once an enclosure for formal audience of Mewar kingdom, Manak Mahal is lead from the Manak chowk.

A raised alcove with mirror glass work inside is one of the most alluring sights here. A Sun face emblem on the facade of Manak Chowk can be seen here representing the Sun god worshipped by the Maharanas.

13. Mor Chowk

A part of the inner courts of the palace, Mor Chowk or Peacock square was built during the rule of Maharana Sajjan Singh, about 200 years later than the initial establishment of the palace. Three peacocks depicting the three seasons - summer, winter and monsoon magnificently adorn the walls of the Mor Chowk.

Decorated with glass and mirror mosaics, the three peacocks in Mor Chowk are crafted with around 5000 glass pieces glowing brightly in blue, green and gold colors.

The pictures of Lord Krishna in the apartments in front of the Chowk are worth admiring. The upper level consists of a balcony surrounded with colored glass inserts and an adjacent chamber known as Kanch-ki-Burj consists of mosaics of mirrors decorating the walls. There is a small court inside the chowk known as Badi Charur Chowk which is used for private purpose.

MOR PALACE

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

14. Rang Bhavan

Once a place where royal treasure was kept is now home to the temples of Lord Krishna, Meera Bai and Lord Shiva.

15. Sheesh Mahal

The Palace of Mirrors and glasses is another beautiful structure in the complex built by Maharana Pratap for his wife Maharani Ajabde in the year of 1716.

SHEESH MAHAL

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

16. Museum

A part of City Palace and Zenana Mahal or the Ladies Chamber was converted to a museum in the year of 1974 which is now open to the public.

In popular Culture

City Palace has found its place in many movies such as the James Bond film Octopussy and the Bollywood film Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela.

Manak Chowk served as a venue for annual Maharana Mewar Foundation Awards.

Best Time to visit City Palace:

In order to avoid the crowds and the scorching heat, it is advisable to visit the City Palace during the morning and evening hours. The winter season from October to March is considered as the best time to visit City Palace as the weather is quite enjoyable during this time. Check our custom designed all inclusive Udaipur tour packages here..

How to Reach City Palace:

Being a popular tourist attraction, a number of Autos, taxis, tongas and city buses ply from various parts of the city to the palace complex. Ferry rides from City Palace to Jagmandir can also be availed at a price of Rs. 400 per person. You can also book a private cab from top car rental companies in Udaipur to explore City Palace and other nearby places.

Entry Fees and Timings of City Palace:

The entry fee to the City Palace is Rs. 30 for Adults and Rs. 15 for children. Rs. 200 is charged for Still Camera and Rs. 500 is charged for Video Camera.

City Palace Timings are from 9:30 am in the morning to 5:30 pm in the evening. It is open on all days of the week.

Entry Fees and Timings of City Palace Museum:

The entry fee to the City Palace Museum is Rs. 250 for Adults (Above 18 yrs age) and Rs. 100 for Children (5 to 18 yrs age). There is no entry fee for children below 5 years of age. The camera fee is Rs. 250. For students coming in groups, the entry fee is Rs. 100 per student.

City Palace museum is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on all days of the week.

GATEWAY OF THE CITY PALACE.

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/

Guides at City Palace:

Tour Guides are available at the City Palace complex and a Hindi speaking guide will charge around Rs. 300 at the complex. The guides at the museum charge around Rs. 200. Audio guides are also available here.

A must visit tourist attraction in the City of lakes, City Palace is sure to mesmerise everyone with its splending architecture and great history. A trip to Udaipur is definitely incomplete without a visit to the magnificent City Palace.

PICHOLA LAKE

Photo of In love with the Royal Legacy of Rajasthan..Digging into the pages of Indian History. by Sohini Roy Mitra/ TravelbagMitra/