Many girls dream about being a princess on their wedding day. If you're one of them, you can't get much closer to living the dream than a wedding in Udaipur at the City Palace Complex, where the Mewar royal family still resides. And who better to organize the wedding than the royal House of Mewar, and the event planners of their HRH Group of Hotels.
The Mewar royal family were the pioneers in the concept of destination weddings in India, and have been at the forefront of organizing these weddings for over a decade. Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, Chairman and Managing Director of the HRH Group of Hotels, explains that initially there was a great deal of opposition against holding weddings away from home in India. In order to sell the concept of destination weddings, they had to stage mock marriages. Imagine! Now the bookings are flowing in.
Foreigners have also become very interested in the idea of getting married, royal style, in India. According to Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, he's been holding regal weddings for foreigners in Udaipur for more than 15 years now.
So what makes Udaipur such a standout destination for a wedding in India? Foremost is the setting. Known as the city of lakes and palaces, Udaipur really is one of the most romantic places in India. It's not just marketing hype. Udaipur is an incredibly charming city. A lot of this charm comes from its beautiful, regal palace buildings -- and the best bit, you can get married in them!
Contemporary wedding venues, they are not. However, their uniqueness and historical importance makes them very sought after. These venues offer couples the opportunity to truly live the royal fairy tale on their wedding day.
Let's take a look at some of the regal venues that are available in Udaipur, for weddings of all sizes.
Jagmandir Island Palace
The ultimate regal wedding venue, Jag Mandir is situated on an island in the middle of famous Lake Pichola in Udaipur. It was built in the 17th century and used as a pleasure palace by the Maharanas of Mewar. Now extensively redeveloped as a complete destination for weddings and other events, Jag Mandir has become one of the hottest places to get married in Rajasthan.
The unique lake setting makes Jag Mandir high on romance and adds to the feel of exclusiveness. Wedding guests are ferried to the venue by boat.
Depending on the size of your wedding, you can choose from a number of locations inside Jag Mandir to hold the ceremony and celebration. The sprawling main courtyard is fronted by large marble elephant statues. However, Jag Mandir also has a garden courtyard and lawns where you can get married under the shade of well established trees. There are separate purpose made areas for the stage, buffet, bar, and band.
Large scale weddings aren't a problem as Jag Mandir has, in the past, comfortably held events attended by 5,000 people!
Accommodation is provided in seven suites. To pamper the mind, body, and soul, there is the Panghat Spa and Salon. Other facilities include an all-day cafe, restaurant, and bar.
Another grand venue for a large wedding, Manek Chowk fronts the entrance to the Udaipur City Palace Complex and can cater for up to 1,000 guests.
Manek Chowk was constructed by Rana Karan Singhji during 1620-1628 and used for public meetings, ceremonial processions, horse cavalry, elephant parades, and other festivals. To this day, the Mewar royal family still hold festivals and special celebrations there.
Manek Chowk and its beautifully laid out Mughal style garden is perhaps the most recognizable part of the Udaipur City Palace. Its lavish events have captured the attention of the media across India and the world.
A wedding in Manek Chowk, surrounded by the magically illuminated palace under the stars, is exactly what royal fairy tales are made of.
Zenana Mahal, the Queen's Palace, is an integral part of the Udaipur City Palace Complex. It was built in the early 1600s and has witnessed innumerable royal weddings.
Zenana Mahal makes a spectacular wedding venue for up to 500 guests, particularly at night time when it comes alive under the glow of candlelight. Table scattered with flowers, and central fountain add to the magic.
The main courtyard of the Zenana Mahal, known as Laxmi Chowk, was restored and developed as an open air venue to mark the millennium celebrations in 1999-2000. Adorning the courtyard is the Chowmukha pavilion (pictured to the rear of the above photo), resplendent with magnificent chandelier that also casts a warming glow.
Looking for an exquisite and intimate regal wedding venue for up to 50 people? The ornate Mor Chowk (Peacock Courtyard) is often referred to as the most spectacular courtyard of the Udaipur City Palace. The Maharanas of Mewar held exclusive dinners there.
Guests can be seated in traditional Indian style, or be served on tables.
One of the most exciting aspects of Mor Chowk as a venue is the entrance. To access Mor Chowk, it's necessary to pass through Badi Chitrashali Chowk with its mesmerizing views, or take the "tunnel" entry from Manek Chowk.
Vintage Car Gallery
Love vintage cars? The Maharana of Mewar's vintage car collection provides a unique wedding backdrop. The collection is housed in what was once the royal garage in Udaipur.
This notable art deco venue and its cars are magnificently transformed for weddings. Up to 300 guests can be catered for.
All cars are in perfect running condition and include Rolls Royce, Mercedes, and Cadillac. Even the car used in the James Bond Octopussy movie, which was partly filmed in Udaipur, is there!