In the heart of Rajasthan, where fairy tale domes and intricate jharoka balconies outshine the stern facades of stone castles, lies Udaipur, the City of Lakes. This shimmering jewel, once the crown of the Mewar Kingdom during British India, is a canvas painted with tales of maharajas and their grandeur. As you meander through its charming streets, the palaces of Udaipur stand tall, narrating stories of a time when Rajputana culture was at its zenith.
Udaipur, often referred to as the “White City” due to its gleaming marble edifices, boasts palaces that stand sentinel over the tranquil Lake Pichola. Beyond their architectural splendour, these palaces are gateways to Rajasthan’s rich tapestry of flavoursome cuisine, colourful art, and age-old traditions. Each palace, whether a sun-kissed summer retreat for the royals, a regal residence, or a testament to royal opulence, is a page from Rajasthan’s illustrious past.
Here’s where you can live out a royal fantasy— where you can play maharana and maharani for a brief spell while soaking in these palace’s fascinating backstories. The best way to explore the grandeur of these palaces of Udaipur is by booking an hourly car rental. Dive deep into the heart of Udaipur, where every brick and stone hums with stories of grandeur and bravery.
1. City Palace: Jewel by the Lake
The City Palace of Udaipur stands as a regal testament to the grandeur of the bygone era. Overlooking the vast expanse of Lake Pichola, this palace is a treasure trove of medieval and European artefacts. Its intricate designs narrate tales of the valour and compassion of ancient monarchs. The palace is a window into the vibrant celebrations, resilience, and rich history of its people.
Majestic memoirs: The palace and its legendary past
Perched on the eastern shores of Lake Pichola, the City Palace dates back nearly four centuries, making it the most expansive royal complex in Rajasthan. Founded by Maharana Uday Singh in 1559, it became the heart of the kingdom, housing the Maharanas.
Legend has it that Maharana Uday Singh, while on a hunting expedition, encountered a sage deep in meditation atop the Udaipur hills. The sage advised the Maharana to build a palace on that very spot. Heeding this advice, the palace was erected, offering a panoramic view of the city.
Among the grand palaces of Udaipur, the City Palace is an architectural marvel, blending Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European, and even Chinese influences. Crafted entirely from marble and granite, its pristine white facade draws comparisons to the ethereal beauty of the Greek islands. The palace boasts intricately designed interiors, adorned with mirrors, marble, wall paintings, and coloured glass. To truly soak in the grandeur of this palace in Udaipur, book a reliable hourly car rental.
Key features include:
- Entrances: The main gateway, ‘Bara Pol’, leads to the ‘Tripolia Pol’, a triple-arched gate. The path between these gates is lined with shops selling antiques, books, paintings, and textiles.
- Courtyards: Beyond the Tripolia gate lies the expansive Manek Chowk, home to a large tiger-catching cage.
Inside the City Palace:
The palace complex houses numerous sections, each with its unique charm:
- Amar Vilas: A Mughal-inspired pleasure pavilion with hanging gardens, fountains, and terraces.
- Badi Mahal: A garden palace with a pool, paintings, and depictions of historical events.
- Bhim Vilas: A gallery showcasing Radha-Krishna’s life paintings.
- Chini Chitrashala: Adorned with Chinese and Dutch tiles.
- Durbar Hall: A grand hall for royal gatherings, with a gallery for royal ladies and a display of the Maharana’s weapons.
- Fateh Prakash Palace: Now a luxury hotel, it houses a crystal gallery with items ordered by Maharaja Sajjan Singh.
- Jagdish Mandir: A temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, adorned with scenes from Lord Vishnu’s life.
- Krishna Vilas: A repository of paintings depicting royal festivities.
- Laxmi Vilas Chowk: An art gallery showcasing Mewar paintings.
- Rang Bhawan: The royal treasury, home to temples of Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva, and Meera Bai.
- Sheesh Mahal: A 1716-built palace of mirrors.
- City Palace Museum: Showcases a diverse collection, from a monkey holding a lamp to photographs, paintings, and sculptures.
2. Sajjangarh Palace: The Monsoon Marvel
Nestled atop the Aravalli hills, the Sajjangarh Palace majestically overlooks the shimmering waters of Lake Fateh Sagar and Udaipur’s iconic City Palace. Its grandeur, discernible even from the city’s heart, paints a captivating silhouette against the sky, making it a haven for photography enthusiasts. The palace’s allure was further magnified when it became a filming location for the 1983 James Bond film, “Octopussy.”
Golden Thrones: The Lore of its Palatial Grandeur
Among the grand palaces of Udaipur, this palace owes its name to Maharana Sajjan Singh, who laid its foundation in 1884. Initially conceived as a nine-storey observatory to monitor the monsoon patterns, its strategic position on the Bansadara peak earned it the title of the “Monsoon Palace.” However, Maharana Sajjan Singh’s untimely demise left his vision incomplete. His successor, Maharana Fateh Singh, reimagined it as a regal hunting lodge. It served the Mewar royal family and their distinguished guests for years.
The palace stands on a foundation of intricately carved marble pillars, adorned with delicate floral patterns. Despite its rainwater harvesting capabilities, which could accumulate up to 1,95,500 litres of water, the palace was eventually abandoned, as the water storage fell short of the palace’s needs.
Inside the Palace
The palace’s facade, crafted from pristine white marble, is a testament to Rajasthani architectural prowess. It boasts towering turrets, ornate jharokhas, sprawling domes, and a grand central court. The walls are adorned with intricate carvings, adding to its charm. An underground water harvesting structure further showcases the palace’s advanced design. Today, the Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace is under the guardianship of Rajasthan’s Forest Department and welcomes visitors from around the world.
Encircling the palace is the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1987. Spanning over 2 miles, this sanctuary is a verdant haven, home to a diverse range of wildlife, from tigers and panthers to reptiles. A trek starting from Gorilla Point offers adventurers a chance to immerse themselves in the sanctuary’s beauty, making the journey to Sajjangarh an unforgettable experience.
3. Jag Niwas: The Floating Elegance of Udaipur
Jag Niwas, commonly known as the “Lake Garden Palace”, is a mesmerizing three-tiered structure that graces the waters of Lake Pichola. Crafted from marble and yellow sandstone, it stands as a testament to the architectural prowess and royal grandeur of Udaipur. The best way to explore the grandeur of these palaces of Udaipur is by booking an hourly car rental.
Historic Halls: The Story of the Palace Through the Ages
The foundation of this palace was laid by Maharana Amar Singh in 1551. Over the years, it witnessed the contributions of successive rulers. Maharana Karan Singh furthered its construction, turning it into a sanctuary for the Mughal prince, Shah Jahan, during his time of strife. The palace reached its full glory under Maharana Jagat Singh in the early 17th century, who not only completed it but also infused it with unparalleled elegance.
The palace is a harmonious blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. Its facade is adorned with eight majestic elephants, carved meticulously from pure white marble, standing guard with an imposing presence. The palace’s intricate designs and the use of marble and sandstone showcase the craftsmanship of the era.
Inside the Palace
Within the palace walls, several historical chambers and pavilions beckon:
- Gul Mahal: Shah Jahan’s residence, this chamber is a testament to Islamic architectural brilliance. It also houses a mosque, catering to the Mughal prince’s religious needs.
- Bada Pathans’ Palace: Constructed from 12 exquisite marble slabs, it stands as a symbol of opulence.
- Kunwar Lada’s Palace: A dedicated space for the prince, reflecting the royal lifestyle.
- Zenana Palace: The private chamber for royal women, echoing tales of bygone eras.
The palace grounds are a horticultural delight, with orchards flourishing with roses, jasmine, palm trees, frangipani, and vibrant bougainvillaea. Modern additions include the ‘Darikhana’ restaurant, offering authentic Rajasthani cuisine, and a museum preserving the rich history of this regal abode.
4. Bada Mahal: The Majestic Garden Palace of Udaipur
Situated within the historic bounds of Udaipur, Bada Mahal, translating to ‘Big Palace’, is a testament to the architectural prowess of the Rajput-Mughal era. This 17th-century marvel, also known as the Garden Palace due to its lush surroundings, once served as the male section of the City Palace, a place of leisure and conversation for the men of the royal family. For an unforgettable visit to the palaces of Udaipur, make sure to book a chauffeur-driven Savaari from Jaipur.
Centuries in Stone: The Timeless Tale of the Palace
Constructed in the 16th century under the patronage of Maharana Udai Singh II, the founder of Udaipur, Bada Mahal was the epicentre of political and cultural events. It was once the royal family’s residence and served as the centre of political and cultural activities in the kingdom. The palace has witnessed several important events, including battles and political upheavals. It is also said to be the site where Maharana Pratap, the legendary Rajput warrior, met with his council of ministers.
Perched atop a 90-foot-high natural hill, Bada Mahal is the epitome of Rajput and Mughal architectural synergy. Its massive pillars, expansive courtyards, and regal balconies showcase the era’s design ethos. The palace’s interiors are adorned with painted mirrors and intricate wall carvings, while the exteriors boast of verdant lawns, mesmerizing fountains, and a meticulously curated garden.
Inside the Palace
The palace’s grand entrance, embellished with detailed carvings and exquisite paintings, sets the tone for its interiors. It houses several courtyards, each with its distinct design, surrounded by ornate balconies and pavilions. The central hall, a venue for royal gatherings, is adorned with a gold-plated ceiling, intricate carvings, and stunning paintings. Notable rooms include the Sheesh Mahal, a chamber of mirrors, and the Rang Mahal, painted with vibrant frescoes.
Bada Mahal is nestled within the UNESCO World Heritage site, Chittorgarh Fort, a prime tourist attraction in Rajasthan. Nearby landmarks include:
- Kirti Stambh: A 12th-century tower dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath, renowned for its detailed carvings.
- Vijay Stambh: A 15th-century tower commemorating Maharana Kumbha’s victory over Mahmud Khilji, adorned with inscriptions and carvings.
- Rana Kumbha Palace: A 15th-century palace offering panoramic views of the region.
- Meera Temple: A serene temple dedicated to the saint poet Meera Bai, located approximately 5 km from Bada Mahal.
- Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary: Located about 40 km from Chittorgarh, this sanctuary is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, home to leopards, deer, hyenas, and antelopes.
5. Shiv Niwas Palace: A Blend of Royalty and Heritage
Situated on the serene banks of Lake Pichola, Shiv Niwas Palace stands as a testament to Udaipur’s regal history. As a part of the City Palace complex, this palace once welcomed esteemed dignitaries and guests of the House of Mewar. Today, it gracefully merges the grandeur of the past with contemporary luxuries. It serves as a Grand Heritage Palace for discerning guests. In Udaipur, you’ll find a plethora of activities and attractions. From its glistening lakes and grand palaces of Udaipur to its bustling markets, there’s something for everyone. This guide covers all the experiences and sights you shouldn’t miss while in Udaipur.
The Palace Pages: Chronicles of Regal Renaissance
Among the grand palaces of Udaipur, this palace was initiated by Maharana Sajjan Shambhu Singh in the late 19th century and completed by Maharana Fateh Singh in the early 20th century, Shiv Niwas Palace was envisioned as a royal guesthouse. Over the years, it played host to numerous royal events and welcomed illustrious guests. It includes George V of the United Kingdom and Edward, the Prince of Wales. By 1955, with the mounting expenses of maintaining royal residences, Maharana Bhagwat Singh envisioned a new purpose for Shiv Niwas. Following the successful transformation of the Lake Palace into a hotel, Shiv Niwas was repurposed. After four years of meticulous restoration, it opened its doors as a luxury heritage hotel in 1982.
Shiv Niwas Palace is an architectural marvel, blending traditional Rajput styles with European elements. Its semi-circular structure, adorned with vaulted arcades and intricately designed courtyards, is a sight to behold. The palace’s exterior is further enhanced by glass mosaics and murals crafted by skilled artisans from England.
Inside the Palace
The palace’s interiors are a celebration of art and craftsmanship. From the intricate inlay work of ivory and pearls to the stunning glass mosaic designs and fresco paintings, every corner tells a tale of luxury and attention to detail. The hotel boasts 36 guest rooms, including 19 deluxe rooms, 8 terrace suites, 6 royal suites, and 3 imperial suites. These suites, adorned with original furniture and portraits, have been a part of the royal family’s legacy for generations. Each room offers a panoramic view of Udaipur’s natural beauty, ensuring guests experience unparalleled splendour and spaciousness.
6. Rangniwas Palace: The Regal Retreat of Udaipur
Nestled in the heart of Udaipur, Hotel Rangniwas Palace stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and architectural grandeur. Built during the reign of Maharana Sajjan Singh, this palace-turned-hotel offers a unique blend of royal architecture and modern comforts. As you immerse yourself in the magnificence of this palace, take a moment to wander through the streets of Udaipur and discover the exquisite handicrafts it has to offer, including Rajasthan’s bone carving and horn work. Click here to learn more about where you can find these fantastic souvenirs.
Palace Chronicles: A Journey Through Time
Constructed under the watchful eyes of Maharana Sajjan Singh between 1874-84, Rangniwas Palace initially served as a vantage point for royal ceremonies and dance performances, particularly the Sithala Asthami.
Architecture and Interior
Every room in the Hotel Rangniwas Palace is a celebration of Udaipur’s architectural heritage. From painted ceilings and marble floors to intricate glasswork, the palace exudes opulence. Antique furnishings adorn the rooms, transporting guests back to a bygone era, while modern amenities ensure a comfortable stay.
7. Gogunda Palace: A Heritage Retreat Amidst Nature
Situated in the quaint village of Gogunda, near Udaipur, Gogunda Palace stands as a beacon of Rajasthani heritage and luxury among the grand palaces of Udaipur. Constructed in the 17th century, this palace has been meticulously restored, offering guests an unparalleled blend of history, luxury, and authentic Rajasthani charm.
From Royals to Revelations: Gogunda Palace’s Tale
In the face of adversity in 1567, when the Mughal emperor Akbar laid siege to Chittorgarh, Maharana Udai Singh and his family sought refuge in Gogunda. Here, they erected a magnificent fortress-palace, which later bore witness to significant historical events. After the demise of Maharana Udai Singh in 1572, Gogunda Palace became the coronation ground for his son, Kunwar Pratap Singh, marking his ascension as the 54th Maharana of Mewar.
Inside the Palace
The Raj Tilak Suite stands as a testament to the palace’s rich history, as it was here that Maharana Pratap Singh was crowned. Beyond this suite, the hotel offers 40 opulently designed rooms and suites, each narrating tales of the past through their unique decor and furnishings. Modern amenities, a serene swimming pool, a rejuvenating spa, and a restaurant serving delectable Rajasthani and Indian cuisines ensure guests experience the pinnacle of luxury.
Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of rolling hills, tranquil lakes, and dense forests, Gogunda Palace is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Its picturesque setting makes it a perfect destination for those seeking solace and a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
8. Oberoi Udaivilas: A Glimpse into Royalty
The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur is not just a hotel; it’s a testament to the grandeur of the bygone era of maharajas. Recently, it gained global attention when the Ambanis chose it for a pre-wedding celebration for their daughter, Isha Ambani. With guests ranging from international figures like Hillary Clinton and Beyonce to Bollywood’s elite, the palace hotel showcased its royal charm to the world. If you’re embarking on a Golden Quadrilateral road trip and considering a stopover in the splendid Udaipur. The best way to explore the city is by exploring the grand palaces of Udaipur. Click here to chart your route, explore the ideal pit stops, and access all the essential information you’ll need for your journey.
Unveiling the Past: Oberoi Udaivilas’ History
The Oberoi Udaivilas stands on a historic piece of land that’s around 200 years old. Originally, this was the hunting ground of the Maharana of Mewar. Remarkably, almost half of the hotel’s vast expanse, about 40%, is dedicated to a wildlife sanctuary.
Rooms and Suites
The hotel boasts 87 opulent rooms, which include the magnificent Kohinoor suite and four other luxury suites. Guests are treated to a mesmerizing view of the main pool, which gleams vibrantly when sunlight dances on its blue ceramic surface. The rooms are adorned with polished wooden floors that beautifully contrast the ivory, turquoise, and orange upholstery, ensuring a stay that feels nothing short of royal.
The bar area is a visual treat, decorated with a geometric pattern made from white marble, sandstone, and granite. The Mewar arch and the antique finish add to its regal ambience.
Awards and Recognitions
The Oberoi Udaivilas isn’t just about opulence; it’s about excellence. This is evident from the numerous awards it has won, including being ranked Number #1 in ‘India’s Top 20 Hotels’ by Travel + Leisure, India and South Asia.
Activities and Amenities
Guests can immerse themselves in a variety of activities. From yoga sessions and Rajasthani folk dance performances to cooking lessons with the in-house chef, there’s something for everyone. For those seeking relaxation, the hotel offers a range of spa treatments. And, in a setting straight out of a fairytale, guests often find themselves in the delightful company of peacocks and deer. For those looking to celebrate in a grand manner, the entire hotel can be booked for a 2-day wedding at a cost of around ₹3.5 crore.
9. Bhairavgarh Palace: A Blend of Tradition and Luxury
Perched atop the Aravalli Hills, Bhairavgarh Palace stands as a testament to regal luxury and impeccable hospitality. Surrounded by lush greenery, this palace hotel is a slice of heaven in Udaipur, seamlessly blending the rich heritage of Rajasthan with modern comforts.
Location and Ambiance
Nestled amidst the pristine natural beauty of the Aravalli range, Bhairavgarh Palace offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle. Its location not only provides breathtaking views but also ensures a serene experience, making it a true paradise on Earth. Bhairavgarh Palace is more than just a hotel; it’s an emblem of luxury in Udaipur’s hospitality sector. A stay here is an immersion into the world of opulence. Every guest is treated with the warmth and respect reserved for royalty.
Design and Architecture
The palace is a harmonious blend of traditional aesthetics and futuristic luxuries. While it proudly showcases Rajasthani craftsmanship, it doesn’t shy away from incorporating modern design elements. This commitment to preserving Rajasthan’s rich culture and heritage is evident in every nook and corner of the structure. With a total of 42 meticulously decorated rooms, Bhairavgarh Palace ensures a lavish stay for its guests. Each room is equipped with essential amenities and modern-day services, ensuring comfort without compromising on luxury.
10. Chunda Palace: A Glimpse into Udaipur’s Royal Legacy
Chunda Palace stands as a premier heritage hotel in Udaipur. It offers guests a unique blend of royal luxury and warm Rajasthani hospitality. As an upscale boutique property, it enjoys a prime location on the western shores of Lake Pichola. Its proximity to the city’s major attractions, combined with its own historical charm, makes it a sought-after destination for travelers.
The Enigmatic Past of Chunda Palace
Chunda Palace, once the regal abode of Thakur Ghanshyam Singh Krishnawat, stands as a testament to Udaipur’s rich history. The palace is named in honor of Rawat Chunda. He is the son of Maharana Lakha and the grandfather of its erstwhile owner.
Constructed over a span of 16 years, Chunda Palace is a magnificent tribute to Rajasthan’s intricate architectural heritage. Every corner of the property showcases the exquisite artistry native to the Mewar region. From the gold leafing that adorns the ceilings to the walls painted in natural colors, the palace is a visual treat. The furniture, a blend of wood, silver, and camel bone, further accentuates the palace’s regal ambiance.
The interiors of Chunda Palace are a celebration of Mewar’s artistic excellence. The walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate Rajasthani paintings, transporting guests to a bygone era of grandeur and elegance.
11. The Leela Palace Udaipur: A Royal Retreat by Lake Pichola
Nestled on the serene banks of Lake Pichola and framed by the majestic Aravali Mountains, The Leela Palace Udaipur stands as a testament to the grandeur and elegance of a bygone royal era. Boasting 72 rooms and 8 luxurious suites, every guest at The Leela Palace is treated to a mesmerizing view of the tranquil lake waters. The Heritage and Lake View Rooms are adorned with artifacts and furnishings that celebrate the rich handicrafts of Rajasthan. Meanwhile, the suites are architectural masterpieces, drawing inspiration from traditional Indian palaces and showcasing intricate and natural detailing.
Amenities and Facilities
- Pool with a View: The palace’s pool, overlooking the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola, offers guests a refreshing escape amidst nature’s beauty.
- ESPA Tented Spa: For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, the luxurious ESPA tented spa provides a haven of tranquility, offering a range of treatments that blend traditional and contemporary techniques.
- State-of-the-Art Gym: Fitness enthusiasts can benefit from the palace’s gym, equipped with the latest gear and accompanied by expert personal trainers to guide and motivate.
Why choose Savaari to explore the palaces of Udaipur?
The palaces of Udaipur whisper tales of yore, navigating its intricate alleys can be a royal challenge. Amidst a myriad of transport choices, discerning the truly regal from the mundane can be as intricate as the city’s tapestry. Yet, in several choices, Savaari emerges as your trusted sentinel. Whether you’re a lone seeker of splendour or journeying with kin, in a city of palaces, it’s only fitting to travel as the royals did.
Savaari doesn’t merely offer transport; it promises an experience. With clear, noble pricing and a ride tailored for royalty, you can comfortably travel from palace to palace, feeling every bit of the maharaja or maharani you deserve to be. With seasoned chauffeurs, enriched with tales of the land, transform into your personal courtiers, revealing hidden courts, guiding you to authentic royal feasts, and curating experiences that echo the grandeur of Udaipur. To embark on this regal sojourn of exploring the palaces of Udaipur, simply download the Savaari app. As you immerse in the cultural tapestry of this royal land, let Savaari be your royal carriage. For in the realm of travel, the journey ought to be as majestic as the destination.
Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Shabari Shankar