The focal point of the Fateh Prakash Palace hotel is the imposing Durbar Hall, which was used for royal audiences. The foundation stone was laid by the Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, in 1909. The hall was originally called Minto Hall in his honor.
These days, Durbar Hall is used as a banquet hall and hired out for special functions. Passengers from both the Palace on Wheels and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels luxury trains dine here when visiting Udaipur.
As soon as you enter Durbar Hall, it's impossible for your attention not to be captured by the seven crystal chandeliers suspended from its ceiling. The centerpiece is a mammoth chandelier weighing one tonne. Its brilliance dominates the whole room. Two slightly smaller chandeliers, weighing 800 kilograms each, flank its sides. There are another four smaller chandeliers, weighing 200 kilograms each, in the corners of the hall.
The dramatic ambiance of the Durbar Hall, which easily transports you back in royal history, is enhanced by the grand portraits of the Maharanas of Mewar that grace its walls. There are plenty of historic artifacts on display, including royal weapons, as well.
Look upwards and you'll see the viewing gallery that borders the hall. This is where the women of Rajputana stood, out of sight, to watch the proceedings in the hall.
The Durbar Hall is open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. If you're a guest of either the Fateh Prakash Palace hotel or Shiv Niwas Palace hotel, you can see it for free. Otherwise, entry comes with a ticket to visit the Crystal Gallery.