photo essay

A Royal Retreat: Sahelion ki Bari

While it may not feature among the great gardens of India, Sahelion ki Bari, on the outskirts of Udaipur has a fascinating story behind it. Built by Maharana Sangram Singh of Mewar in 1710, as a gift to his queen and the 48 maids of honor who came as a part of her dowry, it served as a haven for them to really let their hair down, away from the stiff pomp and grandeur of the royal court.

  A ‘swimming pool’ of sorts, where the royal maidens could frolic
A ‘swimming pool’ of sorts, where the royal maidens could frolic|LHI Team

A little over a kilometer away from Lake Fatehsagar, this bari (garden) has 2000 ingenious and spectacular fountains which are still in working order and fed by the lake.

The garden is divided into themed sections.
The garden is divided into themed sections.|Live History India

There are five fountains in different parts of the bari, each of which corresponds to a particular theme. For instance, Rasaleela, named after Lord Krishna’s famous love dance in the meadows of Vrindavan, is in a large open area where the maidens could play holi.

The  <i>Bin-Badal Barasat</i> fountains (left); The row of fountains at the entrance of the <i>bari </i>(right)
The Bin-Badal Barasat fountains (left); The row of fountains at the entrance of the bari (right)|Live History India

Bin-Badal Barasat (rain without clouds) is designed to create the pitter-patter sound of rain all the time! The effect is so realistic that visitors are taken by surprise for the first few moments, as they look up to the sky, expecting to see rain!

The gorgeous lotus pool around which elaborate dance and music performances used to be staged by the maidens. It comes into full bloom in February each year.
The gorgeous lotus pool around which elaborate dance and music performances used to be staged by the maidens. It comes into full bloom in February each year.|Live History India

Sahelion ki Bari is a captivating and charming little haven, worth a visit for any one passing through Udaipur. Once the preserve of the erstwhile Royal Family of Mewar, today this garden is managed by the state.

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