City Palace Udaipur (Entry Fee, Timings, History, Best Time to Visit)

Entry Fees :- INR 400 for adults, INR 150 for children
Timing :- 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Year of Establishment :- 16th-18th Century
Best Time To Visit :- October to March


The City Palace was built concurrently with the establishment of the Udaipur city by Maharana Udai Singh II and his successor Maharanas over a period of the next 400 years. The Maharanas lived and administered their kingdom from this palace, thereby making the palace complex an important historic landmark.

The Mewar kingdom was flourished initially in Nagda (30 kilometres (19 mi) to the north of Udaipur), established in 568 AD by Guhil, the first Maharana of Mewar. In the 8th century, the capital was moved to Chittor, a hilltop fort from where the Sisodias ruled for 800 years. Maharana Udai Singh II inherited the Mewar kingdom at Chittor in 1537 but by that time there were signs of losing control of the fort in wars with the Mughals. Udai Singh II, therefore, chose the site near Lake Pichola for his new kingdom as the location was well protected on all sides by forests, lakes and the Aravalli hills. He had chosen this site for his new capital, much before the sacking of Chittor by Emperor Akbar, on the advice of a hermit he had met during one of his hunting expeditions.

After Udai Singh's death in 1572, his son Maharana Pratap took the reins of power at Udaipur. Later, in the famous Battle of Haldighati, which end on stalemate against the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the year 1576. After the death of Maharana Pratap, Amar Singh I took the reins of power at Udaipur.

But with the increasing Marathas attacks by 1761, Udaipur and the Mewar state were in dire straits and in ruins. By 1818, Maharana Bhim Singh signed a treaty with the British accepting their protection against the other empires. After the Indian independence in 1947, the Mewar Kingdom, along with other princely states of Rajasthan, merged with the democratic India, in 1949. The Mewar Kings subsequently also lost their special royal privileges and titles. The successive Maharanas, however, retained their ownership of the palaces in Udaipur and converted parts of the palace complex into heritage hotels.


The series of palaces in the city palace complex, behind an exquisite facade of 244 metres (801 ft) length and 30.4 metres (100 ft) height, were built on a ridge on the east of lake Pichola. The complex is located in Udaipur city at 24.576°N 73.68°E, which is set with an average elevation of 598 metres (1,962 ft). They were built over a long period, from 1559 onwards, by 22 generations of Sisodia Rajputs. Several Maharanas starting with Udai Singh II, have contributed to this edifice, which comprises an agglomeration of structures, including 11 small separate palaces. The unique aspect of this conglomeration is that the architectural design is distinctly homogeneous. The palace complex has been built entirely in granite and marble. The interiors of the palace complex with its balconies, towers and cupolas exhibit delicate mirror-work, marble-work, murals, wall paintings, silver-work, inlay-work and leftover of colored glass. The complex provides a view of the lake and the Udaipur city from its upper terraces.

The palaces within the complex are interlinked through a number of chowks or quadrangles with zigzag corridors, planned in this fashion to avoid surprise attacks by enemies. Erected in the complex, after entering through the main Tripolia (triple) gate, are the Suraj Gokhda (public address facade), the Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), the Dilkhush Mahal (heart's delight), the Surya Chopar, the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of glass and mirrors), the Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls), the Krishna Vilas (named after Lord Krishna), Shambu Niwas (royal residence now), the Bhim Vilas, the Amar Vilas (with a raised garden) that faces the Badi Mahal (the big palace), the Fateprakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace; the last two have been converted into heritage hotels. The complex is set with facilities of a post office, bank, travel agency, numerous craft shops and also an Indian boutique belonging to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The entire complex is the property of the Mewar royal family with various trusts maintaining the structures.

Structures within

Amar Vilas:- Amar Vilas is the uppermost court inside the complex, which is an elevated garden. It provides entry to the Badi Mahal. It was built in Mughal style as a pleasure pavilion. It has cusped arcades enclosing a square marble tub. Amar Vilas is the highest point of the City Palace and has wonderful hanging gardens with fountains, towers, and terraces.

Badi Mahal:- Badi Mahal (Great Palace) also known as Garden Palace is the central palace situated on a 27 metres (89 ft) high natural rock formation bis-a-bis the rest of the palace. The rooms on the ground floor appear to be at the level of the fourth floor in view of the height difference to its surrounding buildings. There is a swimming pool here, which was then used for Holi festival (festival of colors) celebration. In an adjoining hall, miniature paintings of 18th and 19th centuries are displayed. In addition, wall paintings of Jag Mandir (as it appeared in the 18th century), Vishnu of Jagdish temple, the very courtyard and an elephant fight scene are depicted.

Chini Chitrashala:- This is an art house decorated with Chinese and Dutch styled ornamented tiles.

Choti Chitrashali:- This is called as the residence of litter pictures. This palace is filled with paintings and pictures of early 19th century and earlier.

Durbar Hall :- Durbar Hall was built in 1909 within the Fatehpraksh Palace as a venue for official functions such as State banquets and meetings. The gallery of the hall was used by the Royal ladies to observe the Durbar proceedings. This hall has a luxuriant interior with large chandeliers. Weapons of the maharanas and some of their portraits are depicted here. The foundation stone for this hall was laid by Lord Minto, the Viceroy of India, in 1909, during the rule of Maharana Fateh Singh and was then called Minto Hall.

Fateprakash Palace :- Fateprakash Palace, now a luxury hotel, boasts a crystal gallery with exquisite items like chairs, dressing tables, sofas, tables, beds, crockery, and table fountains, all ordered by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877 from F&C Osler & Co of London. Sadly, he passed away before they arrived, and the packages remained unopened for 110 years. The gallery also features a jewel-studded carpet.

Krishna Vilas :- Krishna Vilas is another chamber within Fateprakash Palace, adorned with a rich collection of miniature paintings depicting royal processions, festivals, and games of the Maharanas.

Manak Mahal :- The Manak Mahal, accessed from the Manak Chowk, served as a formal audience chamber for the Mewar rulers. It features a raised alcove adorned entirely in mirror glass. Throughout the City Palace, sun-face emblems in gleaming brass, representing the religious insignia of the Sisodia dynasty, are prominently displayed. The largest emblem, found on the wall of the Surya Chopar reception center, depicts a Bhil, the Sun, Chittor Fort, and a Rajput, alongside an inscription in Sanskrit from the Bhagavad Gita, meaning "God Helps those who do their duty". It was customary for the Maharanas to pay respects to the Sun by facing east and offering obeisance every morning before breakfast.

Mor Chowk :- Mor Chowk, also known as Peacock Square, is a significant part of the inner courts of the palace. The chamber's intricate design features three peacocks representing the seasons of summer, winter, and monsoon, crafted in high relief with colored glass mosaic. Built during Maharana Sajjan Singh's reign, these peacocks consist of 5000 pieces of glass, shining in green, gold, and blue hues. Scenes from the legends of Hindu god Lord Krishna adorn the apartments in front of the Chowk. The upper level features a projecting balcony adorned with colored glass inserts. Adjacent to Mor Chowk is the Kanch-ki-Burj chamber, where mirror mosaics embellish the walls. Within Mor Chowk lies the Badi Charur Chowk, a smaller court for private use, featuring painted and inlaid compositions depicting European men and Indian women. Moving beyond Mor Chowk leads to the Zenana Mahal, or women's quarters, characterized by exquisitely designed alcoves, balconies, colored windows, tiled walls, and floors.

Rang Bhawan :- Rang Bhawan is the palace that used to hold the royal treasure. There are temples of Lord Krishna, Meera Bai and Shiva located here.

Sheesh Mahal :- Sheess Mahal or Palace of Mirrors and glasses was built in by Maharana Pratap for his wife Maharani Ajabde.