The Monsoon Palace, also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, is a hilltop palatial residence in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan in India, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake. It is named Sajjangarh after Maharana Sajjan Singh (1859–1884) of the Mewar Dynasty, who built it in 1884. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city's lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built chiefly to watch the monsoon clouds; hence , it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace.
It is now under the control of the Forest Department of the Government of Rajasthan. The palace provides a beautiful view of the sunset.
Sajjan Singh came to the throne when he was 15 years old. However, his uncle Sohan Singh challenged his right to the crown and even plotted through astrologers, who said the timing for the coronation was not appropriate. Fortunately for him the then British agent, who was in favour of Sajjan Singh, intervened and persuaded the astrologers to give a favourable date for the crowning. The eventual Coronation of Sajjan Singh took place two years after this.
After he was invested in 1876 the Maharana, considered an enlightened ruler and a "man of vision", launched a massive programme of developmental activities in his kingdom, in particular, enlarging infrastructure facilities such as roads, water supply and other civil works. He also introduced civil administration and courts. He also improved the general environment of Udaipur by afforestation and lake improvements. He had Lake Pichola desilted and the masonry dam re-built to improve storage capacity, as well as preserving the historical heritage in line with his personal interest in the arts and culture. The most ambitious project he undertook was building the Sajjan Garh Palace, or the Monsoon Palace, as a western backdrop to Udaipur city.
It was during Sajjan Singh's rule that Udaipur gained recognition as the second Municipality in India, after Bombay. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in preserving and developing the Mewar kingdom, and to remind him that his was a princely state under the British Raj, he was conferred the title of "Grand Commander of the Star of India" in November 1881 by Lord Ripon, on the occasion of Queen Victoria's crowning as the Empress of India.
The palace, built with white marble, is located on Bansdara peak of the Aravalli hill range at an elevation of 944 m (3100 ft) above mean sea level, overlooking Lake Pichola from the west about 1,100 ft (340 m) below the palace. The intention of the original planner, Maharana Sajjan Singh, was to build a nine storey complex, basically as an astronomical centre and to keep track of the movement of monsoon clouds in the area surrounding the palace, and also to provide employment to people. It was also meant to serve as a resort for the royal family. Unfortunately, the Maharana died prematurely at the age of 26 (after only 10 years of rule between 1874 and 1884), which resulted in the shelving of his plans for some time. Before his death, he had built it partially, and it was subsequently completed by his successor king Maharana Fateh Singh who used it to watch the monsoon clouds. The Royal family also used this building as a hunting lodge.
The white marble palace has high turrets and guards regulating each of the towers. The palace has a grand central court with a staircase and many rooms and quarters. The palace is built on marble pillars, which are carved with exquisite motifs of leaves and flowers. The walls are plastered with lime mortar. At night, the illuminated palace with the Rajasthani architecture comprising domes, fountains and jharokas gives it a fairy tale beauty.
A unique water harvesting structure to collect rainwater in an underground cistern, with a storage capacity of 195,500 litres, exists in the precincts of the palace. In spite of this, the water supply was found to be inadequate and the palace was therefore abandoned.