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Udaipur - City Palace

We wandered along a thoroughfare filled with bikes, donkeys, cows, people, motor scooters and rickshaws until we got to the City Palace.
Udaipur was established by Udai Singh of the Mewar ruling family in 1559.  His palace, built on the shores of Lake Pichola, has been added to by 22 subsequent Maharanas.  It is, currently, divided into three sections: a City Palace Museum, a 5 star hotel, and the homes of the Maharana’s descendants. 

We entered the Palace through the Tripolia Gates and, after Breck played in the fountains for a while, realized that we had 1 ½ hours before closing. We decided to make a run through and explore the limited parts of the massive structure that are open to the public.

There are actually many palaces within the compound, each with a distinctive character. Some were designed as a Zenana, or women's quarters, and some were geared more toward the pleasures of the men.  Each area was connected by a small, winding, convoluted passage that was typical of Raj construction to confuse potential invaders.
The quarters themselves were usually open rooms facing off an interior patio.  The rooms were covered in intricate semi-precious stone inlay, glass tiles, colorful painting and sculpted marble. Some of the glass was still intact; much was not, and we found ourselves looking out over the old city through the carved hollows.
Of course there were many monuments to the gods that had protected the royal family. Inside a room with hammered silver and mirrors for the walls, Ganesh greets visitors, and tourists still make offerings to numerous idols scattered throughout the complex. Even animals that are not technically gods are enshrined, including a model of the favorite war-horse, who wore a fake trunk to look more like an elephant!!

The sheer beauty of the rooms was overwhelming at times. 

While Udaipur is not in the sandy deserts of Rajasthan, the Aravalli hills are still very arid and hot. To combat the 43 C plus fierce heat and sun of summer, green and blue tinted windows and pools of water were placed strategically throughout the palaces. The marble lattice windows would allow a breeze to enter, run across the water in the pool and cool the inhabitants of the rooms.

Mirrors, inlaid jewels, and glass gave this small sitting corner an opulent touch. 

Breck was all about allowing the natural air conditioning to work its magic on him - he'd seek out the corners where a breeze was blowing and cool himself (with great satisfaction).

Of course, we were not the only ones enjoying the sights. As the Diwali holiday was fast approaching, Indian tourists were starting to throng the palace also. At times, it seemed like the colors and people-watching opportunities overwhelmed the fantastic sights we were actually in town to see!

After exploring the treasures stored in the palace (and reading some horrific stories of attempted assassinations), we had a much better idea of what made the history of Udaipur tick.
and it was time to head out and grab dinner and a show...

Udaipur home - Exploring the city - City Palace - Dance performance - Night lights - Jagdish Temple - Life on the Ranch - Country Scenes - Diwali - Mountain Ridge - Jain Temples - Lift, Lake, and Leaving

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