Early up swim and a very elaborate breakfast buffet at the Hotel before we all got in our mini-bus and travelled to the very popular City Palace in Udaipur. Yuraj talked to us about the rich blend of Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese architecture. It was originally built by Maharana Uday Singh II in 1553. The palace complex has been entirely built in granite and marble. The inside has incredibly detailed balconies, little towers and cupolas, delicate mirror work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver and inlay work and coloured glass mosaics.
You have a beautiful view over the lake and particularly Lake Palace from the various terraces. Many have come here for a retreat away from all the Hollywood lights, to name a few, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and Roger Moore. Even Queen Elizabeth have visited this unique Palace.
The structures or palaces viewed from the Lake Palace appear like a fort. They are interlinked inside the complex through a number of chowks or quadrangles with zigzag corridors. There are the Amar Vilas, the pleasure pavilion Badi Mahal, Durbar Hall, Fatehprakash Palace, Krishna Vilas, Manak Mahal, Mor Chowk or Peacock Square Zenana Mahal or Women's Palace, Rang Bhawan and Sheesh Mahal or The Palace of Mirrors and Glasses which was built in 1716. A shrine of Dhuni Mata is also located in the complex and this location is considered as the oldest part of the Palace where a sage spent his entire life meditating. (A 'sage' is a person who becomes wise through reflection and experience, who can give guidance and has good judgement). To the left of the fort, Mehrangarh Fort complex, is the beautiful Jaswant Thada - a white memorial built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State in 1899. This huge architectural colourwheel took over 300 years to build.
Below are the decorative yellow finials in coloured glass, which I believe was a gift.
Over the other side of the lake in the mountains you can just make out a white palace. I believe this is the Monsoon Palace used during the very wet season and also used by the royals as a hunting lodge. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh who originally planned to make it an astronomical centre.
There is also some retail therapy inside the grounds of the City Palace and a lovely cafe where we had some coffee. I was also very excited to find the very shiny bangles I have been looking for in one of the shops.
We had a lovely treat to go on a boat trip across to Jagmandir Island Palace and see Lake Palace and the City Palace from different angles and in their full glory. Jagmandir Island Palace is built on an island in Lake Pichola. It is also called the "Lake Garden Palace". The construction of the palace was started in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh, continued by Maharana Karan Singh (1620–1628) and finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628–1652). It is named as "Jagat Mandir" in honour of the last named Maharana Jagat Singh. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. The palace served as a refuge to asylum seekers on two separate occasions. (Thanks Wikipedia).