The City Palace Preface

Nikah ki Chopad

Maharana Udai Singh II, r. 1537 -1572, was the founder of the city of Udaipur in 1553, as Chittor the then capital was not suitable from defence point of view; it was on a lone ridge and if surrounded by the enemy, there was no escape route; it was a matter of do or die.

In 1559, after Udai Singh's meeting with Prem Giriji Maharaj, it was decided to start building the palace from that spot. That is how Rai Angan, royal courtyard came into being. The eastern side was used for royal residence by Maharana Udai Singh II and Maharana Amar Singh I and for administering of justice during their reign. The later rulers particularly his great-grand son Maharana Karan Singh expanded the Palace to almost its present size except for some areas, which were later built by his descendents to extend the present building.

Both the rooms on the extreme sides of the veranda of Nikah ki Chopad were used as a storeroom; Pandeji-Ki-Ori for valuables and Sej-ki-Ori (Wardrobe room) now housing Army artefacts.

The Maharanas of Mewar performed religious ritual at Nikah ki Chopad before and after their coronation; they would be dressed up and then sit on the Navchoki Sinhasan, e.i. on the left side platform on the stairs leading to Nav Choki Mahal, for coronation by Rawat of Salumber. This is situated on the west side of Rai Angan courtyard.

After the demise of the Maharana and before their body would be being taken for cremation it was brought to Nikah ki Chopad for dressing up and final ritual.

In the middle was the residence of Maharana Udai Singh II and much later was also used as Daulat-Khana, State Treasury. Also in the veranda, you see the original documents announcing the formation of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation by Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar of Udaipur in 1969. All the construction in Rai Angan is of typicalHindu Temple architecture and a distinctive style of Mewar with level beams, brackets and square shaped columns of massive strength. The artisans of this school had a gift of originality, who created a whole series of old forms before Udaipur came into being, adhering to the indigenous art of the region and using stone quarried from nearby mines, some of them are white in colour, not necessarily marble but strong, and some of them are grey in colour which is slightly brittle and thus has to be protected by a coat of lime plaster, which describes the traditional knowledge of the artisans.

On the northern side of the courtyard are five open alcoves, where four bust size statues of Maharana Udai Singh II the founder of Udaipur, his son Maharana Pratap the Hero of the Battle of Haldighati, Maharana Fateh Singh, the great ruler of late 19th and early 20th century and his son Maharana Bhupal Singh who integrated State of Mewar into the Union of India in 1948, have been placed with red curtain background. The red is the royal colour with 'M' for Mewar stitched on the edges.

Title: Nikah Ki Chopad, Rai Angan, The City Palace, Udaipur
Photographer: : Herzog & Higgins
Process: Gelatine silver print
Period: c. 1906
Accession No. 2009.10.0144-00038

Present New Photograph of Nikah ki Chopad
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