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Udaipur Government Museum

Udaipur Government Museum is a Must See in Your Travel Schedule

The name Udaipur has something in it. More than its connection with the kings and the palaces and the forts and the ethnicity of Rajasthan’s culture, Udaipur is famous for always being able to wrap its tourists inside a quilt of mysticism. The magic quotient of Udaipur is that when you are there, you constantly want to find out more about it. The Udaipur Government Museum is established inside the Udaipur City Palace and it is a very popular structure.

History of the Udaipur Government Museum

Maharana Udai Singh had built the City Palace in the year 1559 and this palace was considered the capital city of the Sisodiya Rajput clan. The best feature of its architecture is that it is a blend of the Rajput style with the Mughal style. The Maharanas had flourished their reign in Chittor before shifting their base to Udaipur. In 1537 Maharana Udai Singh had sat on the throne of Chittor but there was a constant indication that he would lose the kingdom to the Mughals. While he was looking for a panoramic site for shifting his kingdom, he found this place nestled cosily between Lake Pichola on one side and the Aravallis on the other. In the war as feared, Maharana Udai Singh lost to Akbar the Great Mughal Emperor and he had to shift base immediately. So he shifted as planned to Udaipur and built the City Palace.

The Change of Rule in the History of Udaipur

Maharana Udai Singh breathed his last in the year 1572. His son was Maharana Pratap and he was the mightiest of the rulers of his clan. In 1576 in the battle of Haldighati he defeated Mughal Emperor Akbar and he retained peace in Udaipur for some years. The Marathas of the southern state of Maharashtra invaded Udaipur in 1736 and soon the reign crumbled. Then the next chapter of history opens to the British rule. After India got her independence in the year 1947, the kingship in Mewar could not survive due to drastic changes in the political scenario of the country. But the descendents of the royal family haven’t given up on being regal. They still officially run the kingdom through the Mewar Trust. They still have a hefty share in the income that is generated from the palace that has been turned into the museum.

Museum Timings for Visitors

The museum remains open for visitors from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Mondays are closed. The entry fee is very minimal but the guards may check you strictly if you are carrying a video camera. It is better if a local guide accompanies you.

How to Reach Udaipur

Reaching Udaipur from any major city in Rajasthan is not a very big deal. You can reach by road or rail from any nearby city. Buses are even available at regular intervals from the national capital or from any town or city of northern India.

The Inside Story of the Udaipur Government Museum

As you enter the gateway, you will find that it is a three-arched entrance called Tripola. The first arch is the first gate or the Bara Pol. The private path leads from this gate to the palace and now because it is a popular tourist attraction there are shops of artisans, potters and painters that have been built on its either side.

First you will notice the Amar Vilas which is the uppermost portion of the palace that has hanging gardens, a square tub, and breathtaking terraces with a panoramic view of the entire city.

The next as you proceed is the Badi Mahal or the bigger palace area. This is a huge complex where there is a swimming pool that was used for playing Holi in the ancient times. Elephant fights were also arranged as an entertainment.

The next are the Bhim Vilas which now has a gallery of miniature paintings mainly of Radha-Krishna, and Chini Chitrashala which means the gallery where Chinese ornamental tiles are exhibited.

The Chhoti Chitrashala was built in the mid of the 19th century and it has the wall paintings mainly of peacocks.

The Dilkhusha Mahal was built in 1620 and this is the called the palace of joy. Historians opine that in the ancient times this was built for the purpose of amusement by dancers and local entertainers.

Next is the Durbar Hall that was constructed in the year 1909 and this is inside the Fatehpraksh Palace which is now a heritage hotel. Lord Minto who was the then Viceroy of India had laid the corner stone in 1909 when this palace was being reigned y Maharana Fateh Singh and this Durbar Hall was at that time called the Minto Hall.

Fatehpraksh Palace is very unique as in it has a crystal hall where there are sofas, mirrors, furniture and show pieces all made of crystal. It is now preserved as a heritage hotel. There are rumours that Maharaja Sajjan Singh ordered the crystal items from London in 1877 but before the order arrives he died. The packages in which the crystal decor arrived weren’t opened for more than a century and thus they were never used.

The Jagdish Mandir has the deity of Lord Vishnu in black stone and is worshipped till this day. The Mor Chowk was meant for peacocks and this enhanced the elegance of the palace. The Sheesh Mahal as its name goes is a glass walled palace structure. The Zeenana Mahal that was the ladies chamber had been turned into a museum a century ago.

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