What was it that I found most memorable in the city of Udaipur? Were they the beautiful palace hotels, the 7 lakes, the silence and serenity of this place, the perfect weather, our the Full moon night. The moon which seemed to be shining brighter than ever before….
The above were only a cherry on the cake. What really inspired me most was its rich culture and the rare tales of the bravest people, that this land has gifted India.
“Located on the south western tip of Rajputana (the name of Rajasthan before independence) the small area of Mewar is one of the only princely states which was never under the Mughal or the British rule”
Really? I asked Ran Vijay Singh ji (Our guide) as he continued…
I was bewildered by this unimaginable truth, how did the Mewar Kings have any chance against the mighty Mughal emperors and the modern British armies? Are there many states who can boast about such an achievement in India?
Ran Vijay Singh ji almost caught my mind. And with a smile told me, you will know everything in detail by the end of this tour of the grand city Palace of Udaipur.
City Palace of Udaipur is one of the few heritage sites of India, which have been restored and conserved like a world heritage site, rightly should be. I have often walked into the most astounding pieces of architectures in our country, finding them in ruins now, feeling a sense of pain. Contrast to which was my experience of City palace Udaipur. Thanks to the commitment of Arvind singh ji popularly known as Sriji, the present king of Mewar dynasty, for his great efforts to preserve this invaluable legacy.
The city palace took more than 400 years to be built and even today some construction goes on in this palace. The continuous construction being considered a sign of growth and prosperity by the locals.
On the left of the Palaces’ main entrance is the private residence of the present king and on the right side the area open to public, now maintained as a museum.
(The Private Residence) (The Museum)
The Palace was designed in such a way that it would help the king to equip himself quickly for an emergency. A situation, which must have been faced very often, by every Mewari king.
At this point, Shashwat curiously asked, Mummy why do all these city names end with a “PUR” JaiPur, UdaiPur, JodhPur etc etc. Ofcourse I did not know, so I looked at our expert for a worthy answer.
To which he replied- most of the cities which were ruled by Hindu kings have their name ending with a “Pur” and those ruled by Mughals with a “Bad”, like AhmedaBad, HydreBad ,FerozaBad etc etc. I just nodded in agreement, after all one must believe an expert!!
The horse stables were located right across the palace in its courtyard. Like in Mumbai, now the Cars are parked across the multi-storied buildings. So that the ever racing Mumbaikar, who is always riding at the speed of a Ferrari, can hit the highway in no time. Just kidding! 🙂 🙂 🙂 this was so that the horses could be made readily available to the kings as fast as possible.
Also this is the only place on planet earth where there is also found an official parking for the elephants. How organized and well planned were Mewari’s, I thought…
Their planning was better than the modern day airports, for boarding their warships (horses and elephants) they did not require any special elevators, they had 2 Aerobridge (elevated extensions) built for the job. Which helped them board without any delay. The Mewari troops were often defending themselves against armies which were much bigger than their own size. And so needed much more planning to combat their enemies.
The palace had zig zag , uneven passages and shorter gateways ( Mewari kings were short and their contemporary Mughal kings where much taller) The soldier would hide behind the doorways and when the Mughal soldier bent their neck to enter, their heads would be chopped.
(Rana Sangram Singh-1)
An emblem on the main entrance caught my attention. In the center of the emblem was the Sun and on its each side was a man. By their clothes one looked like a king and the other looked like a tribal.
A Tribal, next to a king, what did this signify?
To all the readers, share your thoughts on what can this signify.
For the answer, wait till the next post 🙂 Till then keep guessing.. 😉
– Vasudha Jhunjhunwala