Strolling along the Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur

posted in: Asia, Heritage, India, Rajasthan | 77

I love plants! Even though I stay in an apartment, I have plenty of pots and greens to keep me company. They add so much freshness to the surroundings. There are times when Ash, my hubby says that there are more pots in the house than furniture. 😉 Imagine if I had a garden of my own! Sigh! Would have added a fountain or two with some amazing garden accessories – just like the Saheliyon Ki Bari.

Or maybe I did! Possibly I was the Udaipur princess for whom Rana Sangram Singh 😉 And maybe Ash and me had a re-birth and were destined to visit the garden of my dreams again 😉

Saheliyon Ki Bari
Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur

Just Kidding! But how about a pretend-game while I walk you through the lovely Saheliyon ki Bari with the voice of the princess for whom it was built.

Switching over to the Princess’ voice from the 1700s.

The Birth of Saheliyon ki Bari

My father gave me away at a very young age to Maharana Sangram Singh and once married, I was sent off in a Palanquin to the famed city of Udaipur along with 48 of my maids. The city had several lakes – Pichola Lake and Fatehsagar Lake being my favorite and I loved spending time around them. Rana used to keep me company during my walks along these lakes but could not do so all the time. I used to be quite bored and as a gift for me, Rana commissioned a beautiful garden just for me, by the Fateh Sagar Lake.

The first time I laid my eyes on the gardens, I fell in love with the same. Gorgeous green trees, colorful flowers, birds chirping along and lovely fountains just for me and my maids to enjoy. Rana had outdone any other garden in the neighbourhood and all just for me! Years later my greater grandson Maharana Bhupal Singh added some more of those foreign fountains from Europe and made it even beautiful. Since my maids and I used to spend a lot of time here, the garden got its name Saheliyon ki bari or the Garden of maidens.

Saheliyon Ki Bari
Sprinkling fountains along the entrance of Saheliyon ki Bari, Udaipur
Today after years of my rebirth, as I walked through the entrance, the lovely sprinklers greeted me just like the olden days. I remember my friends and I used to run along these sprinklers, playfully throwing water at each other – just like what my present-day princess and her friends were doing.
Cherub fountain at Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur
Cherub fountain at Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur
The entire pathway led up to a new fountain that was added later – one with cherubs to greet and welcome you. This was one of those that imported and I must say that it was quite cute.

The Ras Lila Fountain at Saheliyon ki Bari

Ras-Lila Fountain at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
Ras-Lila Fountain at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
I must say that my great great great grandson Bhupal Singh had some really classy taste. Besides the Cherub fountain, he had created another splendid pavilion of showers. The “Ras-Lila” fountain as it seemed to be named, was a romantic addition to my original garden. The center piece of white marble with its lovely maiden statue in a pool of water was quite mesmerizing, especially due to the fountain of water that was spouting from its top.
Black pavilions surrounding the main White pavilion of the Ras Lila Fountains, Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur
Black pavilions surrounding the main White Pavilion of the Ras Lila Fountains, Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur
The rest of the reservoir had four black pavilions on each corner, each one with gorgeous carvings. Atop these pavilions are some statues of birds. They say that these birds spouted water from their beaks to give the entire setting a rain effect. Coupled with the pink bougainvillea hedges, the sound of the flowing water and the light water drops from the sprinklers, the entire setting was perfect for some romance. I was given to understand that this fountain was also an amorous meeting spot for Bhupal – that naughty boy! 😉
Carvings on the Marble Pavilion at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
Carvings on the Marble Pavilion at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
This area also, has some relics of the past life. Unfortunately as the museum where these relics were stored was closed and I had to leave without seeing them. I was told that the museum held the prized collection of stuffed animals and some pictures. I would have loved to recall some more of those moments but I guess I will have to return later for them.

Kamal Talai Fountain

Exiting the pavilion, I wandered around taking in the other fountain basins and the greens that covered them. Ranaji had created this paradise just to fulfill my wish. One day unknowing, I mentioned to him that I wished I could dance in the rain, whenever I wanted but since Udaipur did not have much showers, the same was not possible. Ranaji took my words to heart and created this lovely garden where the fountains were such that I could experience the pleasure of rain whenever I wanted, right in the middle of this desert.
The walk through the garden was so nostalgic, with memories attached to every corner. I recalled this one fountain where one of my naughty friends chased me around and we ended playing with the water from the fountain. What fun!
Kamal Talai or the Lotus Pond at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
Kamal Talai or the Lotus Pond at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
I walked on further in search of that Lotus pond or the Kamal Talai, my favorite part of this garden. And Behold! As I turned around Bhupal’s paradise pavilion, there it was. Just as I remembered it! As beautiful as ever, with its central fountain and carved animals and birds on this fountain. The marble elephants made out of a single piece of marble, spouting water through its trunks – made me so proud of the art in our era.
Sculpted Elephants at Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur
Sculpted Elephants at Saheliyon Ki Bari in Udaipur
The entire set up was a perfect blend of East meets West, where the Eastern carvings enhance the Western splendor of the fountains.
Marble Benches for the Royalty at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
Marble Benches for the Royalty at Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur
The marble bench where Ranaji and me used to sit to chit-chat while watching the birds swoop onto the fountain basins to get a drink, the chattering squirrels chasing each other while the glow of the sunset enveloped my paradise with its golden rays. The love and comfort of being with each other in my own Eden is what I will always cherish and associate with this place. Here is a picture of Rana and me in our present births with one of the fountains in the background. 🙂

At Saheliyon Ki Bari

P.S: While the voice of the princess is fictitious, the history described is as chronicled today in the history books. The description of the gardens is as experienced by me during my visit to the Saheliyon Ki Bari. I totally enjoyed my visit here and found it very charming. Let me know what you thought about it.

Getting to Saheliyon Ki Bari:

  • Udaipur is easily accessible by road, railways and air from most of the major cities in India.
  • Saheliyon Ki Bari is right within the city, near Fateh Sagar Lake. The same can be reached by public transport – specifically the auto rickshaws in Udaipur

Travel Tips:

  • Saheliyon Ki Bari is open from 8 am to 8 pm every day. The entrance fee for the gardens is INR 10 for Indians and INR 50 for the foreign tourists.
  • Flat shoes and comfortable clothes are advised as the pathways are quite wet owing to the fountains.

My other posts on Udaipur:

 

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77 Responses

  1. hargunwahi

    This garden looks heavenly,I would love to just sit there and enjoy the view. Lucky you 😉
    Enjoyed the narrative too 🙂

  2. Lata Subramanian

    Ami, this is exactly why I enjoy reading your posts, as travel bloggers go:) The creative touch. Just loved using a reincarnation theme to describe the wonders of a garden visited. You should have called the post 'A garden of past life memories'.

  3. Oindrila De

    A lovely way to describe a place – through a princess's voice! 🙂 Udaipur is on my list. Hope I get to visit it this year!

  4. Ami Bhat

    Thanks Lata. I wish I had thought of that heading…it definitely suits the post better. Thanks for the suggestion

  5. 2 Travel Dads blog

    It hadn't previously occurred to me that fountains are a western influence, but then I suppose that does make sense given what I do know about the earliest fountains in Italy/Greece.

  6. Haidaloup

    I really love the way you tell your visit, it's very original and moving ! Where I live, the famous french King Louis XIV get married and I often dream about his visit to the beautiful places I like to go 🙂

  7. Unknown

    Disclaimer: I jot down thoughts as they appear in my mind and then club them as a comment. For you, I'm keeping them all original and unadulterated.
    Woah! First, I loved the angle of Princess' voice from 1700s you used to describe Udaipur. A story retold from the eyes of the princess – cool!
    A minor correction – maybe Ash and me (two people, so plural) had a re-birth and was destined – *were* destined
    Bah! Another one – my maids and *I* (not me)
    I'll shut my mouth now. It's just the editor in me that won't stop poking. *Sorry* 😐
    Rebirth! I like it 😀 This is how I felt when I visited Shalimar-Nishaat in Kashmir – strolling and reminiscing like a queen 😛
    The naughty boy…ROFL !!!
    Looks like I have found a soul sister 🙂
    Just why wouldn't it let me comment as myself and not 'unknown (Google)' :/
    Okay, I'm Mansi Laus Deo from Twitter (@mansilausdeo)

  8. Tom @ Adventurous Travels

    Beautiful place and extraordinary architecture – looks so peaceful contrary to the busy and hectic Indian cities. It’s a perfect retreat – escape from the heat and noise. Reminds me of summer – you’re lucky to be in India – here in Europe everything’s gray and cold – but not for long fortunately 🙂

    • Ami

      The combination of history and nature is quite heady here. That is what makes this place so amazing. Hope you can visit here.

  9. Joanna

    I have spent 3 days in Udaipur and totally missed the Saheliyon Ki Bari! I loved how you told the story through the princesses voice! Rajasthan has such amazing stories!

  10. tatumskipper

    I love plants too! The colors are so vibrant and looks like such an amazing place to relax!

  11. Ariane

    What an overwhelming place, with such a lush nature and rich culture… would love to visit the Saheliyon ki bari in Udaipur sometime very soon! Of course I would only walk around in flat shoes, I can’t imagine doing it in high heels 🙂

  12. Sam Sparrow

    I love the way you’ve described this place – great storytelling. Garden wanders are always so lovely and relaxing, and that fountain is just dreamy. I could absolutely pretend to be a princess here too!

  13. aneesharai

    Been here last year, but I really think it was a bit disappointing in my opinion. I don’t know why when I went it didn’t look as radiant as it does in your pictures!

    • Ami

      I personally, loved this place…the combination of nature and heritage is what made it amazing for me. I suppose it might not appeal to all.

  14. Bhushavali

    Hahaha!!! Ami, I like how you’re shifting your way of writing. First we had a good chat with Bajrang the tiger, now here with Princess!!! Interesting!!! 🙂

  15. travelerettenyc

    I like how you described the garden from the perspective of the princess. It made the article more interesting to read. And the photos are absolutely stunning! I also would want to pretend I was a princess while walking through here!

    • Ami

      This place does make you feel like a princess. Not too hard to imagine. I hope you get to imagine it yourself too. 🙂

  16. Mrunmaiy

    I love your writing style. The first person account as a princess was a breath of fresh air to read 🙂

Would love to know what you think