The City Palace and the Monsoon Palace

1 - city palace

The City Palace, from Lake Pichola. To the far right is the Shiv Niwas Palace and in the middle of the photo, with the trio of turrets, is the Fateh Prakash Palace. Both Palaces are heritage hotels managed by the HRH Group.

This is a city of lakes and a city of palaces.

The palaces here are all, in their own way, epic and awe-inspiring.

Take the City Palace, which sprawls on the East Bank of Lake Pichola. Construction of the palace was initiated in the mid 1550s by the Maharana Udai Singh II, soon after shifting his capital here to the city that would be named after him.

In the course of 400 years, his descendants would continue adding to the Palace, resulting in its distinctive and complex Mughal + Rajasthani “layer-cake” look – at least for the visitor staring from upon the lake towards it.

The City Palace today consists of a publicly accessible monument, a museum of treasures, and two heritage hotels – the Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fatehprakash Palace, managed by the HRH Group of Hotels, in turn owned and managed by the current ruling Maharana of Mewar (Udaipur is the capital city of Mewar).

And then there is the Monsoon Palace, or Sajjangarh Palace, built by Maharana Sajjan Singh (therefore the name Sajjangarh) in 1884.  It perches, impossibly – a dream in white marble – high in the Aravalli Hills, some 5 kilometres away from downtown Udaipur.

It is said that the Palace had been built to provide a view of the monsoon clouds during monsoon season. And certainly the palace affords an epic, panoramic view of the entire city of Udaipur and its lakes.

Accessing the palace is a rather hair-raising affair, however, since the way up to it is a single-laned, two-way winding road up through the hills of the Sajjan Sanctuary.  It is not for the faint-hearted.

From Udaipur, one can also make a daytrip out to the village of Ranakpur to view a “palace” of another variety.  I refer to the magnificent Jain Temple, established in the 1400s.

The temple affords the perfect location for contemplating the eternal interconnectedness of all things in the universe; and mankind’s smallness in the face of such immensity.

The City Palace

2 - royal apartments

Close-up of the Shiv Niwas Palace.

3 - external

External facade of the Palace, viewed from Manek Chowk.

4 - tripoliya gate

The Tripoliya Gate, built in the early 1700s is one of the entrances to the Manek Chowk and the palace complex.

5 - entrance

Toran Pol.

6 - princess

Mural of a Mewari princess

7 - goddess

Goddess with elephants in attendance.

8 - lattice windows

Latticed windows

9 - pigeons

Carrier pigeon cages.

10 - city

View of the City from the City Palace. 

11 - glass

Kanch ki Burj, built in the early 1600s.

12 - window


13 - ganesh


14 - tiles

Dutch tiles in the palace.

15 - tiles room

Chini chitrashala

16 - glass

The Moti Mahal, or “Pearl Palace”.

17 - blue room

Interior of the Zenana Mahal, or Queen’s Palace.

18 - peacock courtyard

Mor Chowk, or Peacock Courtyard.

19 - peacock

Close-up of Peacock.

20 - room


21 - king

And finally…a portrait of the present ruling Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar.

The Monsoon Palace

22 - monsoon palace

Sajjangarh Palace, perched impossibly at the edge of a cliff.

23 - entrance

Entrance to the Palace, with its viewing balconies.

24 - turret

Palace interior.

25 - peacock

Palace interior, with peacock arches.

26 - itnernal

Palace courtyard.

27 - view of city

From the battlements.

28 - back view

29 - photo


30 - close-up

Close-up of the Palace facade

31 - alt view

Goodbye Monsoon Palace.

Ranakpur Jain Temple

32 - jain temple rannakpur

Facade of the Ranakpur Jain Temple.

33 - closeup

34 - door

The door to within.

35 - sides

The walls of the Temple.

36 - temple in the hills

Temple in the hills.

37 - city palace view

Backward glance at the City Palace.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Heritage, India, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The City Palace and the Monsoon Palace

  1. Thank you for taking us, through your descriptions and photographs, to places we may not ever get to or at least to places now on our bucket list! Keep it up!

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