Explosivefashion Logo
 

CITY AND LAKE VIEW TRAIL THROUGH CITY PALACE UDAIPUR

JASMEEN DUGAL  (click here to know more about this blogger)

Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar- Chairman and Managing Trustee- Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation has always followed a personal commitment of preserving  the City of Udaipur as part of  Living Heritage. That is his  goal and his vision  which is being fulfilled through a set of initiatives — one of them being the conservation and maintenance and the continuous development of the City Palace Complex to make it relevant to the changing needs of locals and International visitors. Before I go any further I'd like to explain to the uninitiated—as I was a few days back—about 'Living Heritage' characterised by the concept of 'continuity'. It approaches heritage as 'alive' i.e. constantly evolving and hence the enormity of ongoing heritage conservation and maintenance under the guidance of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar Maharana Of Udaipur. 

 

To point out the heritage conservation work in addition to the work in progress and identifying areas for further work… a private 'City And Lake View Trail Of City Palace Udaipur' was organised [most of it is not open to tourists] as part of the World Living Heritage Festival. Due to a MOU between Domaine National de Chambord and City Palace Udaipur managed by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation with a vision to preserve living heritage and promote tourism to both regions — the consequence of a desire expressed by French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius and Indian PM Narendra Modi — the team of Chambord present at the heritage trail were eager to discover "living heritage" at City Palace as they are facing similar challenges in the castle of Chambord. Here they experienced and admired solutions used in City Palace and were quite impressed  by the work... as expressed by them. Coming back to the trail, I checked into Fateh Prakash Palace where I was staying and rushed to join the assembly of the group at 'Badi Pol'.  The main block of the city palace is approached through a modest door flanked by flamboyant wall paintings in the traditional Rajput style. The palace complex is built with granite and marble while the interiors with its balconies and towers exhibit mirror work and silver work— murals and wall art— inlay-work and stained glass— beautifully carved wooden doors. DRONAH Director Dr. Shikha Jain led HE Mr. Francois Richier Ambassador of France to India| Luc Forlivesi and Marion Hughes of Domaine National de Chambord| Jean d' Haussonville GM Domaine National de Chambord| Vrinda Raje Singh CEO Joint Custodianship Initiative Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation| Kai Weiss| Veronique Poles and I on a trail through vantage points that offered spectacular views as it's located on the banks of Lake Pichola against the Aravali Hills—which we all photographed with delight!

 

The trail visually narrates interaction between the natural environment and structures built by the rulers of Mewar from the 16TH to 20TH century and captures the tangible and intangible values that make up the cultural fabric of Udaipur. As an instance the eight carved arches along the western wall witnessed the ceremonial weighing of the Maharana with gold and silver or grains which were then distributed among the masses!! Each part of the trail took us back in time… it was fascinating to walk across ceremonial chowk 'Rai Angan' — the most important courtyard of Mardana Mahal — where the Maharanas were anointed as Rulers of Mewar. Built in 1559 it is one of the oldest structures within the City Palace Complex! From 'Rajya Angan Chowk' steps led to 'Chandra Mahal' built by Rana Karan Singh in the 17TH century as a leisure palace for the rulers — beautiful columns crowned with cusped brackets and a deliberate space left in the middle are evocative of 17TH century Mughal architectural style. The balcony shows 19TH century stylistic additions of stained glass work. Each corner of 'Chandra Mahal' offers a magical view of Lake Pichola and its island palaces while the central space has a square marble pond carved out of a single stone that was used during Holi. Towards the South is 'Lakhu Gokhda' — a grand elevated marble seat with a cusped arch back. It's above a platform that rests on carved marble columns and is approached by steps from Chandra Mahal. The trail then took us to 'Badi Mahal' — a Mughal style palatial garden on the hilltop. Here there's a swimming pool and a hall displaying miniature paintings of the 18TH and 19TH centuries beside wall paintings of Jag Mandir as it appeared in the 18TH century and Lord Vishnu of Jagdish Temple. What I found interesting was a depiction of an elephant fight representative of elephant fights organised by the Maharanas. The last fight was reported in 1995!!

 

The third point in the city palace trail was 'Mukut Mandir' — a leisure palace of Mewar rulers on the first floor of the northern wing of Badi Mahal built by Rana Amar Singh II in the late 18TH century. The stone jaali and stained glass work enclosing this central chhatri is of architectural significance with the addition of stained glass work and jali enclosure in the 19TH century by Maharana Jawan Singh. It offers magnificent views of Jagdish Temple and the old city. The fourth point in the heritage trail — the west wing of Badi Mahal — offers views of the lake and the expanse of the Aravali range and the old city. Moving on the triple canopied arched projection 'Chini Chitrashala' is renowned for its Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles and offers breathtaking views of palace garden 'Gulab Bagh'. Lastly 'Surya Prakash' — an enclosed gallery built in the late 19TH century — offers a view of 'Suraj Pol' which was once the main entrance to the palace from the Eastern side before the construction of Badi Pol. Moving down… there was much to view. 'Kanch Ki Burj' features a turret where every inch from floor to ceiling is covered in coloured glass. 'Brij Vilas' is wallpapered with religious prints and 'Bhopal Vilas' has Chippendale lamps and Murano chandeliers!! The most stunning is 'Mor Chowk' with three glass-inlay mosaics of peacocks… integral to inner courts of the palace. It was built into niches in the jharoka during Maharana Sajjan Singh's reign. The peacocks have been crafted with 5000 pieces of glass which shine brilliantly in green gold blue. Of course it was photo-bombed from every conceivable angle as I was transported back in time. 

 

Emerging from the two-hour exclusive heritage trail — which isn’t completely open to the public yet — I could perceive and appreciate the Maharana's vision in safeguarding and maintaining a historical heritage site which reveals potential for a community-led inclusive approach of heritage management as a major source of local development. On a lighter note… did you know that City Palace Udaipur — with its panoramic view of Lake Pichola.. Jag Mandir.. Jagdish Temple.. Monsoon Palace.. Neemach Mata Temple — is linked to James Bond film 'Octopussy'? The subsequent publicity resulted in the epithet of Udaipur as 'Venice of the East'. Come savour the magic!!
 

UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
HE Francois Richier Ambassador of France to India embarks on the trail of City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
HE Francois Richier Ambassador of France to India minutely studies each section of City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Veronique Poles, Dr. Shikha Jain and Jean d' Haussonville, GM, Domaine National de Chambord
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
HE Francois Richier Ambassador of France to India with Vrinda Raje Singh at City Palace Complex Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
The enormity of conservation at City Palace Udaipur is visible to all! There I am photo-bombing!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Kai Weiss documents and photographs the heritage site!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
It's heartening to see tourists eager to absorb culture and Mewar legacy!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Notes, impromptu discussions on what has been achieved and what could be done to further enhance the historic City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
The trail continues through City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
A Window With A View from City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Stunning Inlay Work on the marble cieling at City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Badi Mahal, City Palace Udaipur
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Aren't you glad this was conserved and exhibited at City Palace Udaipur? A window into another world!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
A beautiful blend of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles at City Palace Udaipur!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
City Palace Udaipur offers magnificient views of the heritage city!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
The City Palace Udaipur! Jai Mewar!!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
The City Palace Udaipur as seen from the historic Lake Pichola!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
The City Palace Udaipur looks magnificient at night!!
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Map Of Chandra Mahal, City Palace Complex
 
UDAIPUR CITY PALACE COMPLEX
Map Of Mukut Mandir, City Palace Complex
 
28-MARCH-2016
 
Share us on :
Join us on:  
 
0 Comments
 
Post a Comment
 

MORE BLOGS BY JASMEEN DUGAL

 
2016-04-07 14:55:36 UDAIPUR CITY PALACE MUSEUM
 
2016-04-03 16:25:02 RANG
 
2016-03-26 13:43:22 HOLIKA DAHAN
 
2016-03-26 07:07:48 CHAMBORD: THE RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURAL GENIUS
 
2016-03-25 14:13:15 CITY PALACE UDAIPUR HOSTS GOUT DE FRANCE
 
2016-03-25 09:36:26 WORLD LIVING HERITAGE FESTIVAL: ORAL TRADITIONS