The foundation of this enormous complex was laid by Maharana Udai Singh in the 16- century and added over a period of nearly three centuries. Set on a hill overlooking the Pichola Lake, the City Palace is a white marbled sprawling structure topped by donied pavilions and cupolas at different levels. It is a blend of Rajput architecture on the exterior and a bewildering variety of individual palaces, gardens and courtyards with Mughal inspired decorative art in the interiors.
The approach is through the Hathi Pol along the main street of the old city. The Bara Pol (Great Gate) brings you into the first courtyard which leads into the Tdpolia (Triple
Gate) with eight marble porticos. It was once a custom for the Maharanas to be weighed under the gate in gold or silver, the equivalent amount of which was distributed among the populace. The oldest part of the palace hns a temple of Dhuni Miita built by Udai Singh. Legend says this was the same spot where the Mdhumna met the hermit who ndviscd this location for his new capital. Paintings of the fourdeitiesEklingji, Charbhuja, Shrinathji and
Amba Mata line the walls.
Climbing a steep flight of steps you come to the Bari Mahal where there is a pleasant central garden. Beyond the Bar! Mahal is the Dilkhush Mahal (Palace of Joy) with the 19century chamber Kanch ki Burj (Tlirret of Glass) in which not only walls and ceilings have grey and red mirror work but it also has a decorative glass floor. This chamber has a carved ivory door. The other chamber called the Krishna Vilas has its walls decorated with frescoes of court life and hunting scenes.
The charming 18- century Chini Chitrashala (Porcelain Painted Gallery) has cool blue and white tiles ornamentation counter pointed with mirror work. Particularly notable is the detail of Joseph and Mary with the infant Jesus on their flight into Egypt.