Sunday, February 25, 2024

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Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh Palace)

Place : Udaipur, Rajasthan
Significance : The palace was used in the 1983 James Bond film 'Octopussy'
Best Season : October to March
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Situated at a height of 3100 feet above sea level, The Monsoon Palace is a hilltop palatial residence in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan in India. Located 5 km to the west of Udaipur city, it was used by the royal family during the monsoon. Also known as 'Sajjangarh', this imposing palace was constructed by Maharana Sajjan Singh (1874–1884) in the late 19th century. Built atop the Bansdara hill near Fateh Sagar Lake, the king's intention was to to get a view of his ancestrol home of Chittaugarh.

It is also said that Maharaja Sajjan Singh wanted to construct a nine storey building to use this as an observatory to watch the progress of the monsoon clouds over the surrounding regions. But couldn’t fulfill his dream as he died at the age of 26. Inside the palace, there is a very old painting of an artist's plan of the nine storey observatory. Later Maharaja Fateh Singh completed the construction of the monsoon palace. The palace is somewhat dilapidated, but still worth visiting. Now it is under the Forest Department of Rajasthan.

It attained popularity in 1983, when a part of the James Bond film 'Octopussy' (as the residence of Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince) was filmed here. Today, most guest houses in Udaipur still advertise free showings of 'Octopussy' as part of their accommodation.

Built in white marble, the palace stands three floors tall. it has a grand central court with a staircase and a number of rooms and quarters. The wall of the monsoon palace are plastered by lime mortar and pillars are carved with exquisite motifs of leaves and flowers. The white marbled palace looks extremely beautiful during monsoons. For collecting rainwater for consumption all year around, the monsoon palace has an underground cistern with storage capacity of 195,500 litre.

The ground floor is converted into a museum, with a collection of pictures, paintings and maps.

From the monsoon palace, one can have a magnificent view of lakes of Udaipur and Aravalli hill ranges and at night, the palace is illuminated giving a stunning look. It is also famous for the beautiful view of the sunset and Sunrise.

Shikarbadi or the Khas Odi, situated toward the left of the monsoon palace is another near by tourist destination. The area surrounding the palace has been designated as a national park "Sajjangarh National Park' . Established in 1987, it boasts variety of interesting wildlife, most notably peacocks.