The City Palace was built concurrently with the establishment of the Udaipur city by Maharana Udai Singh II and his successor Maharanas over a period of the next 400 years.The Maharanas lived and administered their kingdom from this palace, thereby making the palace complex an important historic landmark.
Gateways, colloquially called Pols, are set to the east of Udaipur city .A number of such gateways provide access to the palace complex.
The main entry from the city is through the ‘Bara Pol’ (Great Gate), which leads to the first courtyard. Bara Pol (built in 1600) leads to the ‘Tripolia Pol’, a triple arched gate built in 1725, which provides the northern entry. The road between this gate and the palace is lined with shops and kiosks owned by craftsmen, book-binders, miniature painters and textile dealers. Between these two gates, eight marble arches or Toranas are erected. It is said that the Maharanas used to be weighed here with gold and silver, which was then distributed among the local people. Following the Tripolia gate is an arena in front of the Toran Pol and the facade palace, the Manak Chowk, where elephant fights were staged in the past to test their prowess before starting on war campaigns.
The main block of the city palace is approached through a modest door from the Ganesha Deodhi terrace. The door is flanked by whitewashed walls vibrantly painted with martial animals in the traditional Rajput style.
Amar Vilas is the uppermost court inside the complex, which is an elevated garden. It provides entry to the Badi Mahal. It was built in Mughal style as a pleasure pavilion . It has cussed arcades enclosing a square marble tub.’Amar Vilas’ is the highest point of the City palace and has wonderful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces.
Badi Mahal (Great Palace) also known as Garden Palace is the central palace situated on a 27 metres (89 ft) high natural rock formation bis-a-bis the rest of the palace. The rooms on the ground floor appear to be at the level of the fourth floor in view of the height difference to its surrounding buildings. There is a swimming pool here, which was then used for Holi festival (festival of colors) celebration. In an adjoining hall, miniature paintings of 18th and 19th centuries are displayed. In addition, wall paintings of Jag Mandir (as it appeared in the 18th century), Vishnu of Jagdish temple, the very courtyard and an elephant fight scene are depicted.