Udaipur City Palace

Udaipur City Palace

The Udaipur City Palace is a contiguous construction spanning 400+ years. Most guides and travel sites recommend two hours to visit the palace complex. However, the reality is that you can easily spend the better part of a day marveling at the magnificent complex. And you'd still want to come back for more!

Mumbai to Udaipur 


We commenced our trip on 22 December, 2020. This time around we found getting to Udaipur from Mumbai to be a bit of a mixed bag. Just like the previous year, Dec 2019, we left at around 0430HRS in the morning. Although getting out of Mumbai was easier, things got a little messy post that. Either it was the post – lockdown relaxation of travel restrictions, or the fact that a lot more people preferred travelling by road rather than air. Whatever the reason, from Dahisar all the way to Vadodara traffic was pretty heavy. It wasn’t just the regular truck and heavy vehicle traffic. There was a surfeit of cars too. Interestingly, not a lot of them sported a yellow number plate. Clearly, a lot more people were indulging in ‘revenge travel’ post the lockdown! All the better for the hospitality industry I guess.

We took the NH48 which brought us to Udaipur via Surat, Vadodara and Godhra. Up until Vadodara the traffic was quite heavy. However, once we crossed Halol, it seemed like all the vehicles had melted into thin air. The traffic density was down to 10% of what it had been all morning! Obviously, our earlier prognosis wasn’t right. Those weren’t vacation travelers on the road. In all likelihood, they were  businesspeople traveling on work. Either ways, our average speed improved from 55KMPH to a healthy 69KMPH. In all it took us 11.40HRS to cover the distance of 770KMS to Udaipur. With 4 stoppages, this was a definite improvement over our time last year.

Club Mahindra Udaipur


The Club Mahindra Udaipur resort sports quite a grand entrance


We'd booked to stay at the Club Mahindra Udaipur resort. The property is about 12KMS outside the city, bang on the national highway. The location isn’t bad at all. Coming from Mumbai, we didn’t mind the 30 minute commute to get to the main sights of Udaipur. What did seem incongruous though was the property itself. Just like the Club Mahindra at Corbett, this too is a company - pwned property. Once again, they’d gone ahead and created an ugly concrete monstrosity. Remember my blog that reviewed the Club Mahindra Corbett Resort?

Udaipur, entire Rajasthan for that matter, is a place that boasts beautiful havelis and palaces. While the Udaipur City Palace leads from the front, the others too are marvels in their own right. The smallest and most insignificant haveli boasts of architecture that is a treat to the eyes. Not the Club Mahindra Udaipur though.

Facade of the Club Mahindra Udaipur resort
Facade of the Club Mahindra Udaipur resort

On the upside, the place has beautiful lawns. The rooms are reasonably spacious. Furniture and furnishings are serviceable, although they won’t turn any other property green with envy. The problem lies with the construct of the structure. I’ve seen rundown industrial warehouses with a better plan and layout. As you enter the property from the main gates, it seems like you’ve arrived at a medieval haveli. It’s got everything, right from a resplendent fountain to an imposing superstructure. From there, it all goes downhill. 

Lawns at Club Mahindra Udaipur
Club Mahindra Udaipur sports beautiful manicured lawns


The rooms are housed in an annexe of sorts. This is a 3 (or was it four?) storied structure. The corridors outside the rooms are dank, dark, uninviting and would fit in very well with an unkempt hostelry of ill – repute. There is only one elevator that crawls up and down the façade to get you to and from your rooms. So, you’d rather walk, enjoying the stairways that complement the corridors in their utter disregard for anything resembling aesthetic sense.

Now Club Mahinda pride themselves on being destinations for the entire family. Weirdly, the balustrade protecting the corridors are barely 3.5 feet high. This effectively makes them unsafe for children. Amongst all the architectural designs of a Rajasthani haveli they could’ve copied, they went and chose the one that is most unsafe for kids!!!

Room interior at Club Mahindra Udaipur
Spacious and well - appointed rooms. Don't miss the large picture window


There was a construction project under progress right behind the hotel building. Enquiries revealed that it was the second phase of the Club Mahindra hotel. Horror of horrors – they were actually cloning this eyesore!

Thankfully, the service and food was at par with Club Mahindra standards, and we had little or no cause to complain on that front. Should you stay at the Club MahindraUdaipur? Once again, I’d say ‘yes’. For one, the rooms are quite spacious and the sprawling lawns are quite inviting. Secondly, the price is pretty competitive. That, coupled with the Club Mahindra service levels just about gets the property over the finishing line.

A big plus for the place is the ample greenery, solar water heating systems and waste water management that they employ. They go a big way in improving their antecedents as a place that is at least moderately environment - friendly! If you're looking for a eco - resort, this isn't the place for you. However, I doubt you'd find too many pure - bred eco resorts in Udaipur for that matter!

Udaipur City Palace

Next morning we headed to visit the Udaipur City Palace. The name is slightly misleading though. It's actually a complex of 11 palaces. Various Maharanas of the Mewar dynasty constructed it over 400 years . This is the same lineage that boasts of legendary warriors & heroes like Maharana Pratap, Rana Kumbha and Rana Sangha.

Udaipur City Palace exterior facade
Spread over a 800' long hill, the exterior facade of Udaipur City Palace is quite imposing


Entry to the Udaipur City Palace is priced at RS. 250 per person. It is a ‘private’ palace for all purposes, which explains the steep price tag. It is also the only privately owned palace that gets a grant from the government for its upkeep. I’m still figuring out what pays for the upkeep of the Udaipur City Palace. Is it the government grant? The steep fee for tourists? The section of the palace converted to high – end luxury hotels? 

Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Or maybe the high entry fee is to keep out all but the discerning tourist. The assumption being that anyone willing to splurge on 250 bucks to see a heritage building would exercise a degree of discretion that is desirable. 

Getting to the main palace complex involves a walk (or drive) uphill on a cobble – stoned path. This winds its way from the Tripolia (triple – arched) gate, around the main palace complex building. As it winds its way up, you get breath – taking views of the pristine white Lake Palace nestled in the waters of the Pichola. Get past the gateway arch and you reach the main entrance to the palace adorned by a burnished brass ‘Sun’ gleaming atop the door. The Mewar Maharanas are suryavanshis, which explains the sun God’s presence at the entrance.

Coat of arms at entrance to Udaipur City Palace
Coat of arms of the Mewar Rajputs adorns this doorway at the Udaipur City Palace. Suryadev is prominent in this, Sisodia's being Suryavanshi's


The palace complex is truly magnificent. It is constructed on a hill on the Eastern banks of the lake Pichola by the then Maharana, Udai Singh II. The original capital of his dynasty was Chittoor. Sick of constant attacks by the Mughals, he decided to shift to a safer location. A hermit guided him to construct a new capital on the banks of the Pichola, which led to the birth of Udaipur, eponymous with its founder.

The palace is constructed such that succeeding levels are on different elevations of the hill. Thus, you enter at the base of the hill. Even when you reach somewhere near the top, the grounds are adorned with trees and shrubs. This is since technically you are still at ground level, albeit, somewhere close to the top of the hill! This clever construction ensures that the palace holds true to all conventional security protocols, while maximizes the benefits of the unique topography.

One of the rooms in Udaipur City Palace
One of the rooms in Udaipur City Palace, representative of the overall grandeur


The two odd hours that it takes to get through the Udaipur City Palace museum is worth the time you spend. Consider this – several generations of Maharanas have added to the palace complex. Over 400 years, they’ve actually built 11 palaces as part of the complex. Each seems a continuation of the previous one. Yet, they have something unique in terms of the global influences they depict. A perfect example of architectural development through the centuries, depicted in sublime harmony!

Maharana Pratap - A legendary Warrior

What however stands out in stark contrast is the heart – aching story of Maharana Pratap. Son of Udai Shingh II, he was to inhabit a section of the newly built palace in the freshly minted capital of his father’s empire. That was not to be, as Akbar sent his vassal, Raja Man Singh of Amer, to attack him. The famous battle of Haldighati of 1576 followed. Though Maharana Pratap was wounded, he managed to safely retreat to the Aravali hills. In a matter of a few short years, the Mughals had captured most of Mewar. 

Painting depicting Maharana Pratap inspecting his troops prior to the battle of Haldighati
A painting depicting Maharana Pratap inspecting his troops prior to the battle of Haldighati


Maharana Pratap famously vowed to never sleep on the comfort of a bed till he had rid the Mughals of his empire. Naturally, living in the Udaipur City Palace was out of the question. He made Kumbhalgarh fort his base, continually waging a battle against the Mughals. The Udaipur City Palace kept waiting for her son to return in vain. Eventually, he defeated the Mughals in the defining battle of Dewair. This battle was famously called the ‘Marathon of Mewar’ by the redoubtable James Todd. This led to the fall of all Mughal Bastions in Mewar. 

Maharana Pratap realized the dream of ridding Mughals from Rajasthan. The Udaipur City Palace may have been bereft of his presence. However, it must be noted that he fought against the Mughals literally single – handed. Save for a force of Bhils, no other Rajput kingdom allied with the new incumbent of the Udaipur City Palace. On his deathbed, he is said to have told his son to ensure the Mughals never ever have control of Mewar, let alone the Udaipur City Palace. 

Armour of Maharana Pratap
The Maharana's armour, weighing 25KG, is kept on display at the Udaipur City Palace


The proud descendants of Maharana Pratap kept up to his legacy. The Mewar kingdom was never defeated, either by the Mughals, or anyone else. It was only in the late 18th century that they allied with the East India company to keep the marauding Marathas out. But that is another story for another day. Perhaps when we talk about Pratapgarh or Sinhgadh fort!

The Udaipur City Palace sports beautiful paintings depicting royal life of the Mewars. This includes some masterpieces from Raja Ravi Verma too. What stand out though are the paintings depicting the preparation for the battle of Haldighati. Even today, the Udaipur City Palace has the armour worn by the Maharana into battle. Rumoured to weight all of 25KG, one can well imagine the prowess of the Maharana. And the horse that bore him!

One of the courtyards at Udaipur City Palace
This courtyard can be let out for weddings and other functions. Apparently, quite a few bollywood & Hollywood blockbusters have been shot here


As you wind your way through the Udaipur City Palace, you come across the sheesh mahal, bathing pools, audience chambers, coronation halls, temples and other chambers that are a part of the palace. Notable is the collection of silver artefacts, a few of which are on display. Since this was a principal region for mining silver, artisans were naturally experts at working the metal. This is evident in the beautiful silverware on display at the Udaipur City Palace. Each piece is exquisite in its detailing and representative of the skill of the artisans.

The abundance of silver naturally made the Mewar dynasty one of the richest in Rajasthan. A fact that apparently drew Indira Gandhi’s attention to the Udaipur City Palace during the emergency. She is rumoured to have dispatched a delegation of officials to seize the wealth of the Mewar dynasty. Legend has it that the then Maharana had pretty much all gemstones & precious metals removed from the Udaipur City palace before their arrival. Thankfully, Indira came away empty – handed. Score one for the Maharanas!

A silver Palkhi at the udaipur City Palace
A silver palkhi at the Udaipur City Palace. Just one amongst thousands more...


One would not be amiss for thinking that the Sisodia’s only built the Udaipur City Palace. I mean, they were at it for 400 years! But you couldn’t be more wrong. Amongst their major achievements is the first ever river – linking project in the world. In 1669, Maharana Raj Singhji diverted the Ubeswar river into the Morwani river, in order to fill a lake. Of course, this project didn’t take away from the ongoing works at the Udaipur City Palace I assume. Nevertheless, here is another little known fact. And here we thought the Sisodia’s only built the largest palace in Rajasthan when they made the Udaipur City Palace complex!

View of the city palace from the Ambrai restaurant at Amet Haveli
A view of the city palace from the Ambrai restaurant at Amet Haveli


After a tiring three hours visiting the Udaipur City Palace, we headed to the Ambrai restaurant for lunch. The food was decent, the setting breath – taking as always, the service indifferent and the pricing exorbitant. The place has certainly lost its sheen since we were here last.

We spent an eventful 2 days in Udaipur, the city of palaces and lakes. The next leg of our journey would have two hard days of driving. This would get us past the plains, deep into the Garhwal mountains. Something I’d been looking forward to since the onset of the lockdown in March! 

Reading next

Exploring Nainital – Things to do
Kanatal – An Odyssey of forests & Mountains




This article provides clear idea designed for the new users of blogging,
thast genuinely how to do blogging aand site-building. https://waste-ndc.pro/community/profile/tressa79906983/



This article provides clear idea designed for the new users
of blogging, that genuinely how to do blogging and site-building. https://waste-ndc.pro/community/profile/tressa79906983/



Appreciate tgis post. Will try iit out. https://www.waste-Ndc.pro/community/profile/tressa79906983/



Appreciate this post. Will try it out. https://www.waste-Ndc.pro/community/profile/tressa79906983/

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.