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Maharajas' Express Train Udaipur Tour

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Udaipur is often called 'Venice of the East'. It is also the 'city of lakes'. The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas) located in the middle of Pichola Lake is the finest example of architectural and cultural marvel. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above enhances the beauty of this magnificent city. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, crafts and its famed miniature paintings.

Maharana Udai Singh founded Udaipur in 1559 AD. According to a legend Udai Singh was guided by a holy man meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake to establish his capital on that very spot. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes this place was less vulnerable to external invasion than Chittaurgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap who valiantly defended Udaipur from Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon who gallantly fought the Mughals at the battle of Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth century when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon independence, Udaipur merged with the union of India.

City palace

City Palace towers over the Pichola Lake. Maharana Udai Singh initiated the construction of the palace but successive Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex but retained remarkable uniformity in the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant Gate. The Bari Pol or the Big Gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate. It was a custom to weigh the Maharaja under this gate in gold and silver, which was distributed to the populace. It is also now the main ticket office. Balconies, cupolas and towers of the palace give a wonderful view of the lake. Suraj Gokhada (or the balcony of the sun) is where the Maharana would grant public audiences mainly to boost the morale of the people in trying times. The Mor Chowk is the Hindi name of peacock square and is named after a vivid blue decorative glass peacock on the wall.

The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artifacts. As we go down the steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gears and various kinds of weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword. The City Palace museum is then entered through the Ganesh Deori. This leads to the Rajya Angan or the royal courtyard. This is the spot where Maharana Udai Singh is said to have met the sage who advised him to found a city here. The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings. Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas displays a rich collection of miniature paintings. Moti Mahal (the pearl palace) has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over. The Surya Chopar (the sun square) depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Maharajas and their ancestors belonged. The Bari Mahal is a central garden giving a view of the city. Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the 'Zenana Mahal' (the ladies chamber). Then, there is the Lakshmi Chowk which is a beautiful white pavilion.

Crystal gallery

Situated in the Fateh Prakash Palace, it has a breath taking collection of crystals. These were ordered by Maharana Sajjan Singh from F & C Osler England but could not live to see them because of his untimely death. The crystal items include tables, sofa sets, dining tables, dressers, fountains and even beds besides a whole array of washing bowls, decanters and perfume bottles. There is also an exquisite jewel studded carpet.

Fateh prakash palace

The Fateh Prakash Palace, the grand heritage palace hotel of the HRH group represents the authentic royal luxury at its best. The warmth of royal hospitality greets you as you walk along the corridors lined with large paintings of the Mewar School that flourished through the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.

The lake facing suites in the turrets are suitably appointed with four poster beds and period furniture, festooned with maroon velvet curtains and delicate silk tassels. It's a legacy kept alive since the early decades of the twentieth century when Maharana Fateh Singh (period of reign: 1884 - 1935) used to be the royal occupant of this palace. Till date the formality of royal occasions are maintained.

Jag mandir

This is the other island palace on Lake Pichola, which was constructed by Maharana Jagat Singh I in the year 1620AD. It also served as a hideout for Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan), during his revolt against his father, Emperor Jehangir. The prince being the son of a Rajput mother received the royal favour. It is also said that Shah Jahan [Prince Khurram] derived some of the ideas for building the Taj Mahal from architectural beauty of this palace when he stayed here during 1623-24. The island has some striking carvings including a row of elephants that look like guarding the island. The exquisitely carved chhatri in grey and blue stone also attracts the visitors.

It is also the place where European families were sheltered by Maharana Sarup Singh during the uprising of 1857 AD.


Outside Udaipur, this 18th century palace was built by Maharaja Sajjan Singh at a height of 2268 ft on the top of Bansdara Mountain. It was originally intended to be a five storey astronomical centre but the plan was shelved due to premature death of the Maharaja. It was later used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge. The palace majestically dominates the sky line and offers breath taking view of the countryside.

The lake palace

The Lake Palace is located on Jag Niwas Island and covers the whole area (1.5 hectares) of the island in the middle of the Pichola Lake. Built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743, it was meant as a royal summer palace but now has been converted into a five star palace hotel. Its superb beauty and enduring charm and its reflection in the middle of the lake is like a leaf straight out of a fairy tale book. With intricate craftsmanship and ethnic themes using textiles and handicrafts all over, its beauty is beyond description. The surrounding lake murmurs pleasantly, with her rippling and lapping waves.

Vintage car museum

The collection within the grounds of the Garden Hotel comprises a variety of vintage and classic vehicles like Cadillac, Chevrolet, Morris etc owned by the Maharanas of Udaipur. They used these automobiles as their luxurious modes of transport. However, other models are gradually being added to the collection to provide a unique aristocratic safari for the exclusive guests.

Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd

(A Govt. of India Enterprise)
B-148, 11th Floor, Statesman House, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110001

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