Lovely Udaipur, the City of Lakes, is said to be one of the romantic destinations in the world. The city has long been under the rule of a royal family, the House of Mewar, the world’s longest serving dynasty. Visiting the City Palace, historic home of the family (and where they still live) is a highlight of a visit to Udaipur. If, like me, you enjoy classic cars, a chance to see the Royal car collection is an opportunity not to be missed.
After finishing with our visit to and lunch at the City Palace, several of us headed to the Vintage and Classic Car Collection which opened to the public in 2000. All the vehicles on display — just under two dozen — have belonged to the Maharanas of Mewar. Some vehicles are more than seventy years old, each one has been kept in fine working order (though not all are cosmetically perfect). It is likely the only collection of its kind in India.
The collection is housed in the former Mewar State Motor Garage (a.k.a. the Palace Garage) on the grounds of the Garden Hotel. The semi-circular motor bays were built at a time when few cars were on the road in India and its setting provides an excellent stage for housing the car collection. Each car is in its own bay, limiting your view mostly to the front of the vehicle, a bit of a drawback, but it the only collection of its kind in India so you put up with it.
A highlight of the collection are the Rolls Royces. They were the preferred cars for Indian Royalty in the first half of the 20th century. A total of 36,000 Rolls Royce were produced in Britain during that time interval, 1,000 of which were exported to India and a number of which survive to this day.
There is a modest admission fee of Rs.250 per adult.
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