Standing atop Aravalli Hill range like a diamond to the crown lies Sajjangarh Fort, Situated approximately 5 km from Udaipur City at the height of 944m from sea level this fort is where one of James Bond movies has been shot. The history of this fort is that it was built during the reign of Maharaja Sajjan Singh who belonged to the Mewar Kingdom. Under his leadership, Udaipur became a model city and gained recognition as Second Municipality of India. This growth in the city made Lord Ripon who served under Queen Victoria honour him the title ‘Grand Commander of the Star of India’. Maharaja Sajjan Singh for his love for Astronomy had planned to construct 5-floor Astronomical Center but due to his untimely demise, this project remained a dream and was converted into Palace.
Sajjangarh Fort is also known as Monsoon Palace as this fort was constructed to briefly track monsoon clouds. Sajjangarh Fort overlooks Lake Pichola and Lake Fatehsagar. The fort is accessible by road. which is hilly, steep and have several blind turns. This palace should be visited during the rainy season where you can notice the greenery of the city from above. It is important to note that the sunsets are beautiful from above hence it is advisable to visit the fort during dusk.
The Palace is built with White Marble, The fort has high walls and is protected by guards. The palace has grand central court, staircase, fountains and domes. There are many marble cravings which represent the culture of the Mewar Dynasty. There is a huge royal quarter which is further subdivided into Mardana Mahal(quarter for men), Zanana Mahal (quarter for females), the Diwan-e-Aam(hall for public audience) and the Diwan-e-Khaas(hall for private audience). The Ground floor of the palace is converted to museum where they showcase works of Maharaja Sajjan Singh and how he intended to build the astronomical centre. We can notice Cannons as it was ancient war weaponry to protect royal people.
The Monsoon Palace is circled around wildlife sanctuary spreading across 5.1sqkm which is protected with high concrete walls and fences. This wildlife sanctuary is reserve for many reptiles, migratory birds, peacocks, panthers and wild rabbits. To the left of the fort lies Shikarbadi or the Khas-Odi and at the northwest lies an artificial lake known as “Badi Lake” or“Tiger Lake. People who are adventurous can also make their way to the fort by trekking from the lake. There is a small water source called ‘Jhar Water Hole’ which is encircled by many trees.
Greenery is present at the backside of the fort which on first sight you can notice that region is untouched by human civilization. Dense forest, sanctuary and animal sounds make you feel like you are at the midst of nature. Although there aren’t many restaurants catering to tourists, The Lalit Group operates which provides tourist snacks and tea. Entry fee for the fort is nominal and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The Palace lit up across night sky looks like a castle built in the sky.