Inside Out of The City Palace, Udaipur - II

Inside Out of The City Palace, Udaipur - II

Gokul Niwas GalleryThe Curtain Raiser – The Mewar Regalia Textile and Costume Exhibition.
Gokul Niwas Gallery Showcase the rich and diverse collection of textile from Mewar. The gallery displays the living heritage of 200 years, carried generation to generation in the dress code and lifestyle of Maharanas.

Jas Prakash Gallery – Architecture and Conservation Exhibition.
Description of the Royal City Palace is incomplete without its architectural mention. This gallery showcases the architectural style, trend and influences of the contemporary development of this majestic structure.

Raj Niwas Gallery- The Regal mode of Transport – Tam Jaam and Palanquin Exhibition.
Before the automobiles and vehicular chaos, the royal family of Mewar uses the Thakats and Palkies or Palanquins traverse. Raj Niwas Gallery displayed the palanquins since the 17th century Mewar made for different ceremonial or bridal occasions.
The gallery displays sculptures of eternal gods and goddesses, celestial beauties and animal figures, acquired since the 6th century. They are the finest collection of sculptures collected from the damaged temples and other deteriorated sites of Mewar.
The Gallery comprises of 39 donated instruments belonging to the Family of Mewar, it is displayed to engross the visitors, especially the music enthusiasts. The gallery has 200 year old Tanpura with painted base or Sitars made of pumpkins from Orissa.

The gallery house the glass artifacts that boast of a rich bygone era. It is created by F.& C. Osler, the foremost manufacturers of monumental cut glass luxury objects in and after the Victorian era, this gallery is a fairytale in itself. The  item of Crystal includes the dining table, table, sofa set, washing bowl, goblet, tray, decanter, to perfume bottles, candle stands, crockery and even beds. The main highlight of the gallery is the jewel studded carpet. 
 Inside Out of The City Palace, Udaipur- I

Inside Out of The City Palace, Udaipur- I

The City Palace Museum, Udaipur is embellished with an elegant lifestyle of ancient Mewar documenting the lives of the Maharanas. With a different range of exhibits, these galleries restore and preserve the irreplaceable age old traditions and rituals of Mewar, through time
Immersing into the saga of Mewar, let’s take a virtual tour through the ornate galleries of City Palace, Udaipur.

Gallery- Amar Mahal- Magnificance of Silver- Reflecting the best of Silver smithy
Being the only silver gallery of Asia, the complete exhibit is dedicated to finest silver workmanship, throughout history. From basic silver ornaments to the detailed silvery mandaps, the gallery houses innumerable old family heirlooms of the royal family of Mewar, providing an insight into the silverwares of ancient Mewar.
Equipped with state-of-the-art light fittings and adhering to international conservation standards; The Bhagwat Prakash gallery is devoted to the show and exhibition of photographic materials. The 126 exhibits on display provide a photographic view of the reign of five successive Maharanas of Mewar, from Maharana Swaroop Singh (r. 1842 – 1861) to Maharana Bhupal Singh (r. 1930 – 1955); modify  the visual depiction of a ruler from a distant leader to a more approachable figure.
Fateh Niwas Gallery – Mewar Miniature Painting Exhibition.
The city of Udaipur is Called for its proficiency in miniature paintings with the history dating back to 1800 years. With the earliest painting,  courting back to 1715 A.D., this gallery exhibits approximately 200 paintings classified under the  categories such as nobles, court life and festivals, fairytale-like processions, animal fights, hunting scenes, places of pilgrimage in Mewar and much More.
Fateh Niwas GalleryPalace Calendar Exhibition.
Palace of Mewar, since 1987, has been following the rituals of publishing its yearly theme calendar, all of which collectively are displayed in the gallery.
Fateh Niwas Gallery- Coat of Arms Exhibition.
The  Fateh Niwas Gallery exhibited a huge collection of the Coats Of Arms from various princely states of India along with the Coats Of Arms from the 22 former princely states of Rajasthan and Coat of Arms of 14 princely states which spread throughout the country after originating from Mewar.
Gokul Niwas GalleryThe Curtain Raiser – The Mewar Regalia Textile and Costume Exhibition.
Gokul Niwas Gallery Showcase the rich and diverse collection of textile from Mewar. The gallery displays the living heritage of 200 years, carried generation to generation in the dress code and lifestyle of Maharanas.

Discover Udaipur on Foot

Discover Udaipur on Foot

The ethereal city of Udaipur has been known for its architectural marvels, romantic getaways and cultural retreats for long. But besides being one of the most romantic cities of the world, Udaipur has a lot more to offer. Those who prefer to be on foot, let’s walk through this!

Architectural magnificence
Udaipur is filled with imposing structures and architectural marvels. In addition to the major attractions of Udaipur like City Palace, Jag Mandir, Lake Palace and Kumbhalgarh fort; Ahar cenotaphs, Bagore ki Haveli  and the Ranakpur temple are classic examples of intricate architectural work and detailing.
Udaipur also houses an ancient temple of Eklingji and Jagdish temple which are beautiful prototypes of Indo-Aryan style of architecture. There is a solar observatory too, which is an architectural wonder in itself. Surrounded by water from all sides, Udaipur Solar Observatory is one of the best solar observing sites in Asia, amongst the few in the world situated on land. If you’re on foot, you can enjoy these best.
Legacy   of Culture
Inherited the rich legacy of the culture through its lineage, Udaipur has maintained the balance between the conserving its traditions while pacing ahead in the Contemporary World. Be it their culinary art or clothing, festivals or religion, popular folk music or dance;  the traces of Rajputana culture are evident all over. The small art and craft bazaar at Shilpgram or the rich display of Rajasthani culture at Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir; laboriously represent the value of culture and art deeply rooted in the everyday life of Mewar.
Garden City  of Rajasthan
In the mid of the desert, Udaipur is like an oasis of Thar, and has numerous enchanting gardens to boast of Gulab Bagh, Nehru island garden or the succulent Saheliyon ki Bari sprawl across acres of land. The most alluring garden of Maids or the Saheliyon-ki-Bari is famous for man-made streams, lotus ponds, marble fountains and incredible views. The pitter patter of water along the lush green gardens of Aravali, demands to be enjoyed slow and steady.
Wildlife Excursions for Adventure Enthusiast
Covered in the midst of  the lush forests of Aravali, Udaipur provides a natural habitat for various wild animals, birds and reptiles. The wildlife reserve of Kumbhalgarh, Sajjangarh and Jaisamand provide diverse opportunities for the adventure enthusiast. A trek through the wilderness or adventure safaris through the reserve; Udaipur has abundant wild quests to offer.
Shoppers Paradise- Happy Shopping
Udaipur is a delight for every shopper, be it the hustle bustle of traditional bazaars or the popular retail chains and shopping mall. Hathi Pol, Palace Road, Bada Bazar or the Chetak Circle, Jewellery, Silver Ware, Clothing, pottery, miniature painting, textile and much more, Udaipur has it all. Udaipur is famous for its vibrant markets displaying the innumerable colors of Mewar.

Best enjoyed on those happy feet, of course!

Rebuilding of Mewar Dynasty-III

Rebuilding of Mewar Dynasty-III

Prince Khurram was witty and determined, but was a few brothers removed from being heir apparent to the Mughal throne. Over the next few years, the brothers ahead of him were removed in what might be called "suspicious circumstances". Needless to say, Khurram was not well liked at Court, particularly by Empress Nur Jahan, despite the fact the prince had married her niece, Mumtaz Mahal.
She wanted Prince Shahriyar (a youngster by one of Jahangir's lesser wives) to be named successor, mainly because he had married Nur Jahan's daughter, which would assure the Empress of continued power at Court. Nur Jahan worked with her husband.
Realizing his ambitions were being thwarted, Prince Khurram rebelled against his father and was supported by a strong Rajpur elite. When the Imperial Army put down his revolt, Khurram sought refuge in Udaipur, the capital of his friend Karan Singh, who immediately extended him hospitality Khurram's wife, Mumtaz, and two of their young sons, Dara and Aurangzeb, were with him.
Originally, they were allocated some apartments in the City Palace. However, a special domed palace was built at Jag Mandir for the Mughal prince, becoming known, appropriately, as Khuraram's Palace. There the rebel lived a quiet, safe existence for some months. Meanwhile, in an effort to pacify his father, and as a gesture of his target, Khurram sent his two young sons to the Mughal Court as "hostages".
Ultimately, Prince Khurram was forgiven, and he rejoined his father. Before he left Jag Mandir, Khurram embraced his gracious host, Maharana Karan Singh, and in a traditional ritual of respect, they exchanged turbans.
As a further mark of respect, and no doubt a thank you for his stay in Udaipur, Khurram restored five districts of Mewar taken by the Mughals, gave Karan Singh permission to reconstruct the old capital at Chittor, and presented his friend with a garnet of enormous value.
Fortunately, Jahangir did not seek vengeance against Mewar for having harbored his mutinous son. Not that he would have had an opportunity to do so, for there followed a series of amazing intrigues in the north, too complicated to recount in Mewar's story.
They climaxed with Jahangir's sudden death in 1627. Very quickly, pretenders to the Mughal throne, including Nur Jahan's son-in-law Shahriyar, were killed; Nur Jahan retired from public life; and Khurram was proclaimed the new Emperor of the mighty Mughal Empire, assuming his later famous title of Shah Jahan

Footnote to this story of unusual friendship and the orange turban. It is believed that jag Mandir's haughty dome and fine inlay work of semi-precious stones into the white marble impressed Shah Jahan. So much so that several years later, he is said to have incorporated these features in the superb tomb he built for his wife in Agra - The Taj Mahal.

Sisodia rulers who ruled from Udaipur

Sisodia rulers who ruled from Udaipur

1.      Rana Ari Singh II – reigned 1762-72
The incompetent successors and the ungovernable temper of Ari Singh led to the further decline of Mewar. He has often been accused of unfairly occupying the throne by removing his nephew, Rana Raj Singh II. Ari spent the first few days of his reign antagonizing and estranging the nobles of Mewar. The Rana had to surrender the district of Nimbahera to the Holkars who threatened to sack Mewar if not complied with. Amidst such conflicts and battles for domination, Rana Ari Singh fell at the hands of the Bundi Prince.

2.      Rana Hamir Singh II – reigned 1772-78
Once the most powerful clan of Rajasthan and North India, the Sisodiyas of Mewar had lost their sheen by now. With frequent successions and no ruler being able to restore their pride or revive the state of affairs; Mewar lost all its hope. After the demise of Maharana Ari Singh II, he was succeeded by son Maharana Hamir Singh II. When Maharana Hamir Singh II ascended the throne,  he was just eleven years of age. The young ruler did not rule long and died at the age of sixteen years under mysterious circumstances reigning for a very small span of time. His younger brother Maharana Bhim Singh, who was eight when Maharana Hamir Singh II died, succeeded the throne of Mewar after him.

3.      Rana Bhim Singh – reigned 1778-1828
Maharana Bhim Singh was the sixty seventh ruler of the Mewar Dynasty. After 40 years, he was the 4th minor that was crowned king at the age of 10! Maharana Bhim Singh too was hard pressed for money and is said to have borrowed money from the king of Kota for one of his marriages. 
To get rid of the Maratha menace, Bhim Singh joined hands with the British,

4.      Maharana Jawan Singh – reigned 1828-38
With the likes of legendary Maharana Pratap and his son Maharana Amar Singh, or celebrated Maharana Sanga and Maharana Kumbha; the Sisodiya clan of Mewar who trace their lineage to the Sun God, produced abundant folklores of heroism, chivalry and patriotism. He ruled Mewar for a span of ten years. Amongst failed attempts and laid-back policies with no signs of improvement, he died at a young age with no nominated heir. Sardar Singh, son of Shivadan Singh of Bagore branch of Sisodiyas, the descendants of Maharana Sangram Singh II; succeeded Maharana Jawan Singh.

5.      Maharana Swaroop Singh – reigned 1842-1861
Maharana Swaroop Singh ascended the throne in 1842, after the death of his predecessor Maharana Sardar Singh. Maharana Sardar Singh had no son and before his death, he formally adopted his brother Swaroop Singh as his nominated heir.
Maharana Swaroop Singh ascended the throne in 1842, after the death of his predecessor Maharana Sardar Singh. Maharana Sardar Singh had no son and before his death, he formally adopted his brother Swaroop Singh as his nominated heir.

6.      Maharana Shambhu Singh – reigned 1861-74
Maharana Shambhu Singh, son of Shardul Singh from the Bagore branch of Mewar, the descendants of Maharana Sangram Singh II; was adopted by Maharana Swarup Singh as his nominated heir. Maharana Shambhu Singh ascended the throne as a minor and a British Political agent was appointed to guide the young Maharana. Maharana Shambhu Singh was considered a liberal and well managed king of his times. But with his untimely death at a young age of twenty seven years, his dreams of a revival of his homeland to the ancient golden times were stalled.

7.      Rana Sajjan Singh – reigned 1874-84
Maharaja Sajjan Singh brought back glory to the Sisodiya dynasty. He was a cousin of Shambhu Singh and succeeded him after his death. Being a minor, he was assisted in the administration of Mewar. Like his ancestors, he served in the development of his people. A man of brilliance, Maharana Sajjan Singh ruled for a mere ten years. As a visionary, he revived the glory and pride of the Sisodiyas and Mewar in the short span of time he served; his era considered to be a Renaissance in itself.

8.      Maharana Fateh Singh – reigned 1884-1930
The Suryavanshi king of Mewar. Like a true Suryavanshi and following ancestral footsteps, Maharana Fateh Singh ascended the throne with a visionary approach towards Mewar. Born to the Shivrati branch, the descendants of the fourth son of Maharana Sangram Singh; Maharana Fateh was first adopted by Gaj Singh and later by Maharana Sajjan Singh, the ruler of Udaipur, both of whom had no heir.

9.      Maharana Bhopal Singh – reigned 1930-55
A man with a vision is most definitely the strongest. This suffices the tale of a king who envisaged a life for himself and his people and fought the evil outside and within. Maharana Bhopal Singh of Mewar was born to Maharana Fateh Singh. At a young age of sixteen, he was paralyzed from waist down but this did not deter him from replicating courage and bravery of his forefathers.  He ascended the throne in 1930 after his father’s death, but was exercising power since 1921 after the British curbed his father Maharana Fateh Singh’s power and advised him to resign in favor of his nominated heir.

10.  Maharana Bhagwat Singh – reigned 1955-84
Maharana Bhagwat Singh was just another seventeen year old boy from the Shivrati branch of Mewar, the descendants of Maharaj Arjun Singh, the fourth son of Maharana Sangram Singh II; when Maharana Bhopal Singh adopted him as his heir. Ascending the throne, Maharana Bhagwat Singh witnessed the Indian historical shifting.

Sisodia rulers who ruled from Udaipur

Sisodia rulers who ruled from Udaipur

 Rana Udai Singh II – reigned 1568-1572

The history behind a compelling city is seldom as beautiful as the city itself. When Maharana Udai Singh II founded the city of Udaipur, one can wonder what grandeur, he must have felt on discovering this truly gifted part of the planet. Udai Singh’s reign from his new capital was short and lasted only four years. The Maharana died in 1572 at the age of 42. He was survived by 25 legitimate sons among whom Udai had proclaimed his favorite son, Jagmal, as his successor. However, his nobles and chiefs politely removed Jagmal and hailed Pratap as the King of Mewar.

2.      Maharana Pratap Singh – reigned 1572-1597
Maharana Pratap, the son of Maharana Udai Singh, is the only Rajput ruler who is celebrated throughout the country for his bravery and patriotism. He is  popularly known in Rajasthan as Rana Kika or Mewari Singh.  Maharana Pratap died at the age of 57, after sustaining an  injury while hunting.

3.      Rana Amar Singh I – reigned 1597-1620
Out of the 17 sons of Rana Pratap, Amar Singh was the eldest, and to him passed the overwhelming task of conquering Chittor. From his very childhood to the days of Pratap’s death, Amar had been a stable companion in his valiant father’s toils and troubles. A great warrior, he fulfilled his father’s last wish to capture the whole of Mewar; but not Chittor. Amar Singh remodelled his kingdom and revamped the functioning of his land.

4.      Rana Karan Singh – reigned 1620-28
Karan Singh was the successor to the able son of Maharana Pratap, Rana Amar Singh, and mounted the throne of Mewar in 1620. Karan Singh has been depicted as a laid-back ruler, but lacked neither in courage nor in conduct. He mostly acted as a buffer between his self-righteous father and the Mughal court.
 Rana Karan Singh died in 1628 just before the ascension of Shah Jahan and was succeeded by his son Rana Jagat Singh I.

5.      Rana Jagat Singh I – reigned 1628-54
Maharana Jagat Singh was the 57th ruler of Mewar and succeeded Maharana Karan Singh II. He ruled for twenty-four years from Udaipur and tranquillity and prosperity continued in the kingdom during the period of Rana Jagat’s reign. He is known to be the greatest builder of the Mewar dynasty. 

The famous Jagmandir Island Palace was finally completed in his rule, after its inception in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh. It became the hot spot for the royal family as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties.

6.      Rana Raj Singh I – reigned 1654- 1681
The last independent Maharana of Mewar, Rana Raj Singh ascended the throne in 1654 and ruled during the reign of Aurangzeb. The famous legend of Princess Roopmati of the kingdom of Roopnagar is associated with him.

7.      Maharana Jai Singh – reigned 1681-1700
Jai Singh (lion of victory) mounted the throne in 1681 after the death of his illustrious father Rana Raj Singh I. Although his father had long distanced himself from the Mughals, Jai Singh entered into a treaty with Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor.

8.      Rana Amar Singh II – reigned 1700-16
Amar Singh II was quite similar in character and bravery like his distinguished namesake, Rana Amar Singh I. Amar Singh II took advantage of the declining Mughal power and entered into a private treaty with the Mughal heir apparent Shah Alam. His reign witnessed continuous revolts in the Mughal Empire and the rebel kingdoms of Amber and Marwar soon came to him for help. Rana Amar Singh II left behind a legacy of being an independent and virtuous prince who upheld his independence and the prosperity of his kingdom before the misrule of the Mughals.

9.      Maharana Sangram Singh II – reigned 1716-34
Sangram Singh or the lion of battle succeeded Rana Amar Singh II in the year 1716 when the Mughal Empire was disintegrating. He ascended the throne about the same time as Muhammad Shah, who succeeded Farukhsiyyar, the Emperor. Sangram Singh II ruled for 18 years. He recovered the lost territories of Mewar and the kingdom soon regained its lost respect. His death in 1734 saw the emergence of the Maratha power during his successor Jagat Singh II’s rule.

      Rana Jagat Singh II – reigned 1734-51
The eldest of the four sons of Sangram Singh, Jagat Singh II ascended the throne in 1734. He started his reign with the revival of the tripartite alliance formed by Rana Amar Singh II.  Rana Jagat Singh II died in 1752 after a reign filled of misrule. He was more interested in the pleasures of life rather than governing his kingdom. A great patron of the arts, he enlarged his palaces, erected villages all over the valley and conceived most of the festivals that are still celebrated in Udaipur.

1     Rana Pratap Singh II – reigned 1752-55
Rana Pratap II (1752-55), nowhere near his illustrious namesake, succeeded Jagat Singh in the year 1752. He ruled merely for three years, marked only by repeated invasions of the Marathas. He married a daughter of Raja Jai Singh of Amber from whom he begot a son who later succeeded him. On his death the order of succession was reversed and his uncle, Rana Ari Singh occupied the throne in 1762.

      Rana Raj Singh II – reigned 1755-62
With the decline of the Mughal Empire at the center, the history of Indian sub-continent was at a crucial juncture, on the verge of marking a new beginning. Maharana Raj Singh II ruled for seven years from Udaipur. While Maharana Raj Singh continued with inadequacies, his sudden death at the age of eighteen years without any heir made circumstances more critical.

The Chivalry and Honor  of the Sisodia clan

The Chivalry and Honor of the Sisodia clan

A century later they shifted to Mewar in Rajasthan. The bravery and tribute of the Sisodia clan are known everywhere – from the pages of history books to the folklore of Rajasthan. "

 The Mewar dynasty is the world’s oldest existing dynasty with a time span of 1,500 years and 26 generations and has outlived  centuries of foreign domination. Extremely possessive about their culture, tradition and honor, the Sisodias have played an important role in medieval Indian history as tireless upholders of Hindu traditions.

Maharana Pratap Singh once refused lunch with Raja Man Singh because he had given away his sister in marriage to Prince Salim, later Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Man Singh avenged this insult by defeating Pratap at the battle of Haldighati. Maharana Pratap’s son Amar Singh made peace with the Mughals but unable to accept his dishonor, he gave up his title in favor of his son Maharana Karan Singh. Amar Singh left Udaipur never to see its landscape again.

Maharana means Great Warrior, and the one from Udaipur is the highly praised head of all the 36 Rajput clans. The title of Rana was adopted in the 12th century,  when the Parihara prince of Mandore awarded it to the Prince of Mewar.

The Mewar dynasty descends from the sun family and is hence known as Suryavanshi (descendents of the Sun) with the sun as its insignia. The Maharana of Udaipur is crowned only after being anointed with blood drawn from the palm of a Bhil chieftain, who then leads the Maharana to the throne of Mewar.