Robin's Adventures

Adventures in the Asian Subcontinent

Street Merchants

It has been said that you can buy almost anything on the street in India. There seemed to be a great number of people who set up shop in random places with a variety of different goods displayed in a variety of different ways. Some merchants used wooden carts, others had baskets, and some simply spread a bit of cloth or burlap on the ground.

City Palace

The City Palace, which was first built in 1553, was actually under construction for almost 400 years. Each time a new ruler from the royal family took the throne, he added a new section to the palace. In all, 76 generations of the Sisodia Rajput family added to the city palace which now contains 11 small separate palaces that have all been built in a similar style out of granite and marble.

The Palace sits atop a hill overlooking Lake Pichola and has a wonderful assortment of towers, cupolas, courtyards, arches, and terraces all set inside an outer fortification.

Peacock Square at City Palace

Peacock Square is located in one of City Palace's inner courtyards. Along one wall are three large mosaic peacocks that were made from 5,000 pieces of colored glass. Directly above the peacocks is a projecting balcony that is also beautifully decorated in colored glass.

Palace Interior

Part of the palace has some amazing glass and mirror decor, including one room covered on all surfaces with red and gold glass and mirrors. If you look closely, you will see Robin and Steve in the mirror on the back wall.

Another room had beautiful colored glass windows with mirrored inlays on the walls and in the royal living quarters there was a swinging chair for use by the royal family.

We also saw the royal "throne" in the king's lavatory. The windows in that room provided a lovely view of the lake.

Palace Decor

At the entrance to the main palace, there were some colorful murals on the walls. As we moved into the next room there were statues of deities, such as Lord Ganesh in ornate niches in the wall.

There were elaborate murals that were very detailed on all of the walls in several chambers. Court scenes and battles are the themes of the murals. These murals, which were once very vividly colored, have faded over time and recently were covered with plexiglass to prevent damage.

A large basin, called Lakhu Kund, that is carved from a single block of marble was used by the kings after their coronations. The basin was filled with 100,000 silver coins. One fourth of the coins were given to the general public that gathered in the courtyard outside and the rest were given as alms for the poor.

Palace View

There are beautiful views from all of the upstairs rooms and balconies of the palace. One side offers a city view and a view of the palace courtyard with the Bara Pol or Great Gate entrance and the fortified outer wall. The view from the opposite side of the palace is the scenic Lake Pichola and includes a view of the Taj Lake Palace.

Legendary Horse Chetak

There is a statue of a horse at the City Palace that has an interesting history. During the 12th century, a strong hardy breed of battle horses was bred that would help the Rajput clan defeat their enemies.

The horses were fitted with elephant-like trunks for battle because adult elephants would not attack what they perceived to be baby elephants. The horses would then rear up and place their front hooves against the forehead of the elephant, thus allowing their rider to attack the rider of the elephant with his lance.

Indian Artisans

The art of miniature paintings in India began in the 16th century when painters would record historic events in intricate detail and present them to the king.

The paint pigments were painstakingly produced from natural sources, such as minerals or plants, that were dried, ground, and mixed with water and natural gum.

The brushes were extremely fine and sometimes consisted of just a few strands of squirrel hair. This allowed the artist to create a very detailed and intricate painting. These techniques, which are very time consuming and difficult to master, are still practiced by many artisans today.

We also saw some beautiful hand carved wooden figures that had some amazingly intricate hidden compartments.

Sahelion Ki Bari Park

Sahelion Ki Bari, which means Garden of the Maidens, was built between 1710 and 1734 by Maharana Sangram Singh as a gift to his queen and the 48 maids that came with her when she married. The garden, with its beautiful pavilions, fountains, and lotus pool, was designed to be a place where the women could relax away from the political intrigues of the royal court.

Boat Ride on Lake Pichola

Just before sunset we took a leisurely boat ride on Lake Pichola. The Lake Palace Hotel is built on one of the major islands in the lake and Jag Mandir Palace (now also a hotel) is built on the other major island.

Around the edges of the lake we could see the City Palace, a large foot bridge, and many of the buildings that make up the old town section of Udaipur.

Some women were doing their laundry at the edge of the lake and hanging their colorful clothes out to dry.