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, I always try to include parks and gardens into my list of things to see in a new city. When visiting Udaipur, I couldn’t miss Saheliyon-ki-Bari, often acclaimed as one of the most beautiful gardens in India.
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A peaceful retreat in the City of Lakes
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.
Flowers of tender blue, radiant red, marvelous purple and cheerful yellow were the feast for the eyes.
The story behind the construction of Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Udaipur
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.
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?
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).
The garden also encompasses a museum with a decent collection of royal household objects, vintage pictures and stuffed animals.
Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur: Travel Tips
~ The entrance fee is Rs 10 for the Indian visitors and Rs 50 for the foreign tourists.
~ 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.
~ Strolling along the garden will be more enjoyable if you have a pair of comfortable walking shoes on.
~ Be careful when photographing the fountains – the borders of the reservoirs might be quite slippery.
~ Saheliyon-ki-Bari in Udaipur is open every day from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
~ 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 on the map
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