Uday Bilas Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Monday, November 28, 2016

There is no way you can travel in Rajasthan without the aesthete in you coming away educated and fulfilled. And in my many travels across the state, at different points in time, the magnificient Mehrangad or the Jaipur city palace, the romantic and atmospheric Amber Palace, the intricate Bikaner Junagad Palace, and the impressive homage to the Sun god-Udaipur city palace, each have  inspired and informed me with their uniquely artistic, architectural and decorative perspectives. So when I read Henry Wilson's Pattern and Ornament in the Arts of India, I was struck by the combined and huge contribution of the Dungarpur Palaces, the Juna or Bada Mahal of Dungarpur and the residence of the present day King ~ the Udai Bilas Palace. What I saw in the pages of the book was but a tip of the iceberg and if I didn't go myself, I would never know. Dungarpur is surprisingly not a very popular destination, and it was a good 3 hour drive from Udaipur. Udai Bilas Palace is small, but the design, detailing and artistry makes it completely worth your while.

“Ek Thambia Mahal”, is a distinctive feature of the Udai Vilas palace with its intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades, bracketed windows, arches and frieze of marble carvings, it rises out of a space originally filled with water. Feautred are a mix of curved roofs - chatris and a bangla roof with a marble carved chatri on top. 
 We will go from out to in. Behind the Palace is this beautiful gatepost with its life sized peacocks perched on scrolls of foliage. Seen behind is the island temple, the royal households private temple.

The long corridors that form the front of the palace leads to the reception area

“Ek Thambia Mahal”, featuring intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades, bracketed windows, arches and frieze of marble carvings

 Jewel like intricate carvings on stone and marble.
An exquisite marble dining table with a scented water pool in the centre, with inlay work along the edges is the central attraction of the Zenana chowk while  pebble work walls add a dash of extravagance to this unusual dining space.

The formal dining room 

 Pic courtesy: udaibilaspalace.com
 Pic courtesy: udaibilaspalace.com
Pic courtesy: udaibilaspalace.com

Something I must say, is while most of the palaces in Rajasthan are open to public, the Udai Bilas Palace is open only to its guests, which means you need to be booked to stay here. And one also needs special permissions for photography. One of the few times that my blogger credentials, opened doors for me and I am grateful to the Udai Vilas Palace staff who got me permissions after my visiting card was taken to the King. In the meantime we were fed a sumptuous brunch. It is not simply that the word Rajasthani spells hospitality and grace. 

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