The greens and fountains of Saheliyon-ki-Bari – the Garden of Maidens in Udaipur

 

The most cherished memory of the Ukrainian period of my life is looking after the flowering plants in my parents’ garden (remember my roses? :)) That’s why, no matter how strapped for time I may be when visiting a new city, I always try to include a park or garden into my list of things to see. That was the case with Kyiv, Odessa, St. Petersburg, Margao, Hyderabad , Aurangabad and so many other places. And of course, I couldn’t miss Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur, often acclaimed as one of the most beautiful gardens in India.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden, Udaipur photo

Deserted and beautiful Saheliyon-ki-Bari , Udaipur, during the monsoon

Located near the splendid Fateh Sagar Lake, this place is a peaceful retreat amidst the lively streets. Although Udaipur is  not one of the most recommended monsoon destinations, I deliberately chose to visit it during the rains in order to ditch the crowds – the city is as touristy as it gets. This allowed me to have the whole Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden almost entirely to myself 🙂 And what a lovely experience it is to breath in the sweet-smelling air, when scent of the flowers mixes with revitalizing fragrance of wet soil! The garden offers a profusion of plants, tastefully arranged along the alleys, around the fountains and on the flowerbeds. Bright bunches of bougainvillea were bending down offering a warm welcome to a handful of random visitors.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

Bougainvillea offering greetings to the visitors of Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Udaipur

Flowers of tender blue, radiant red, marvelous purple and cheerful yellow were the feast for the eyes.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

The colors of Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

Enticing red of Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Udaipur

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

Tender blooms

Yes, but perhaps you’re curious what does it have to do with the maidens? Ah, here we come to the story behind the construction of the garden. Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur was built in the first half of the 18th century by Maharana Sangram Singh for his queen and 48 maidens who kept her company. Secluded and peaceful, the garden was a perfect place for the royal women to relax away of the public eye. Here they used to stroll along, engage in  conversations and spend their time in leisure. The abundance of fountains was supposed to create the effect of rain in the middle of dry lands of Rajasthan. The stone elephants, made out of a single piece  of marble, sprouted water through the trunks over the Lotus Pond. At that time they had no pumps, so the water was gushed through the ducts from Fateh Sagar Lake.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

Elepnat shaped fountain in Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Udaipur

Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur photo

The Lotus Pond in Saheliyon-ki-Bari

According to the legend, Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur was designed by Maharana Sangram Singh himself, and if it’s true, well, he’s done an excellent job! I would imagine the queen being overjoyed when receiving the royal gift  – who wouldn’t be happy to have a stunning oasis like this all to themselves?

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

Marble throne for the royalty in Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden, Udaipur

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

All the shades of green

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

Sparkly, lush and juicy

Over the centuries, the member of the regal dynasty kept improving the place, adding something of their own to decorate the garden (for example, four four black marble kiosks with beautiful carvings at the corners of a water reservoir and a white marble kiosk in its center).

Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden Udaipur photo

The white marble kiosk in Saheliyon-ki-Bari garden, Udaipur

The garden also encompasses a museum with a decent collection of royal household objects, vintage pictures and stuffed animals.
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Travel Tips

  1. The entrance fee is Rs 10 for the Indian visitors and Rs 50 for the foreign tourists.
  2. There are quite a few amateur guides waiting for you near the entrance of the garden. They were offering their services for Rs 70, but it’s up to you whether to hire them.
  3. Strolling along the garden will be more enjoyable if you have a pair of comfortable walking shoes on.
  4. Be careful when photographing the fountains – the borders of the reservoirs might be quite slippery.
  5. Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur is open every day from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
  6. Best time to visit Saheliyon-ki-Bari (and Udaipur in general) from October to March. But I visited during the rainy season and it was a delight.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Udaipur on the map

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19 thoughts on “The greens and fountains of Saheliyon-ki-Bari – the Garden of Maidens in Udaipur

    • This garden is not the only place worth visiting in Udipur. Hope you’ll make your way to the “Venice of the East” and enjoy everything the city has to offer, Ruth.

    • I think creating a little corner of paradise on Earth was Maharana’s intention. So yes, if the garden looks Edenic, it’s not by chance! Thanks for stopping by, Magic Eye 🙂

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