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City Palace, Udaipur
Udaipur was established his new capital, in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh when he built the small City Palace on an overlooking ridge. Other buildings and structures soon mushroomed around the palace.
The City Palace is one of the most important tourist attractions in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. There are several massive gates that lead to the fortified City Palace, though the Hati Pol or the Elephant Gate is the main one. According to a traditional custom the Maharanas of Udaipur would be weighed in gold and silver at the entrance of the Hati Pol and the wealth would then be distributed amongst the poor and needy.
Famous for its splendidly carved and decorated royal apartments, lavish lawns with attractively sculpted pavilions, sculptures and spectacular hallways, massive arches, turrets and battlements, the gorgeous City Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India draws visitors from far and wide.
The City Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world, can be approached through the Bari Pol or the Great Gate (1600) with the royal drums and then onto the Tripolia Gate (1725). The Tripolia is a triple gate made of marble arches. Between these two gates are eight carved toranas or archways under which the maharanas were weighed against gold and silver which was later distributed to the poor subjects. Popular entertainment like elephant fights took place in the court beyond the Tripolia Gate. In size and outline the City Palace and its subsidiary palaces bear a resemblance to the Windsor castle in England. The palace lies in front of the Rai Angan, a rectangular courtyard. The Rai Angan (1571) or the royal courtyard is arrived at through the Ganesh Deori Gate and encloses the shrine to Dhuni Mata. The Ganesh Deori was built in an enclosure around the stairway of Rai Angan. In its construction went in tiles imported from Japan, and they form a spectacular pattern depicting images of Lord Krishna and Ganesh.
Fateh Prakash Palace
Just next to the zenana is the Fateh Prakash Palace. This palace has eight rooms and is closed to visitors, as it is the residence of the present Maharana Mahendra Singh, who succeeded Bhagwant Singh in 1984. The Shambhu Niwas next to the Durbar Hall founded by Fateh Singh (1884-1930) and the rooms of the saint Kanwarji Bhai are also closed to the public.
Dil Khusal Mahal
The Dil Khusal Mahal above the treasury is another palace that is fully covered with mirrorwork with a painted and gilt background. This palace has a suite of four 17th century rooms, including the Kanch-ki-Burj, with late 19th century grey and red mirrors. The Chitram-ki- Burj is decorated with 18th century murals portraying scenes of life. The Kanch ki Burj (Turret of Glass) was a 19th century improvisation of the Sheesh Mahal. The most unique of this room is that not only does it have mirrored ceiling and walls but also a decorative glass floor.
City Palace Museum
The museum in the City Palace includes the Mor Chowk, the one with its extraordinary late 19th century peacock mosaics. The mosaic and enamel together give a resplendent display of peacocks depicting the three seasons. The enamelled peacock in lapis lazuli and other stones is about 2½ ft high and is set in a panel of ornamental leaf patterns. This is one of the most lavish examples of inlaywork very popular in Rajasthan. The chowk was built by Maharana Karan Singh as his new Durbar area. The peacocks to which the chowk owes its appellation were added 200 years later in the 19th century by Maharana Sajjan Singh. Above these mosaics is a superb series of figures from the mid-19th century, inlaid in glasswork on the outer walls of the Surya Prakash.
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