Udaipur is situated around the shimmering clear blue water lakes, which whisper the mood of a bygone era.
The city was founded in 1567 AD by Maharana Udai Singh on the advice of a sage. Udaipur was last of the numerous Mewar capitals. It was in Udaipur that legendary Maharana Pratap was born. He was obsessed with Chittaur and the past glories of the Sisodia clan possessed his mind. Maharana Pratap left Udaipur to win back Chittaur from the Mughals. But he failed in his attempts and Udaipur remained the capital of Mewar till India got her independence.The memory of the failure of noble Pratap gives Udaipur its pervading mood of nostalgic wistfulness.
The city acquires its scenic beauty from the Aravallis. Three lakes- Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar make it an oasis in the desert.
Udaipur is known as the ' City of Lakes'. The two most scenic and famous lakes of the city are Lake Pichola and Lake Fateh Sagar.
The Lake Palace
One of the most romantic cities in Rajasthan, Udaipur is also known as the city of lakes. The marble palaces, beautifully laid out gardens and the lakes make Udaipur seem almost like a mirage in the desert.
The founder of Udaipur, Maharana Udai Singh, was overcome by the misfortunes that his old capital of Chittaurgarh had to face due to repeated attacks by the Mughal armies. On the advice of a holy man, Udai Singh shifted his capital to the banks of Lake Pichola- the city was named Udaipur after him.
This marble palace that seems to be floating on the Lake Pichola is undoubtedly the main attraction of Udaipur. Now a luxury hotel, this palace can be accessed by boat from the city palace which overlooks it.
Other attractions in Udaipur include Krishna Vilas, Lake Fateh Sagar,Sajjan Niwas and Gulab Bagh, Machchalaya Magra, Doodh Talai, Jag Mandir, and the Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum.
The City Palace
Overlooking the lake Pichola is the City Palace, a marvel of marble and granite. The largest palace in Rajasthan, its exquisite worksmanship makes it a must on every visitor's itinerary. The three mahals - Baari, Dilkush and Moti, the Suraj Gokhada of the Sun Balcony, the Mor Chowk Known for its beautiful peacock Mosaics ; the shrine of Dhuni Mata and the Museum of Rana Pratap are the highlights of this complex.
Close to the City Palace is the Jagdish Temple which houses some imposing sculpted figures and heavily ornamented interiors. At a short distance is the Sahelion-ki-Bari or the Garden of Maidens which has four pools and delicately carved kiosks and elephants in marble. Built in the early 18th century, this is now a popular tourist spot.
Archaeological ruins that date back to 4000 B.C. are found here. A museum stands next to the excavation site. Also of interest are the beautiful cenotaphs of kings near the Gangabhairu tank
On the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake was built a garden for the 48 young girls waiting to be sent to the royal house as part of dowry. This garden is laid with extensive lawns, fountains and shady walking lanes. There are four pools with dainty kiosks and fountains with elephant trunks for spouts. These gardens appear discrete and impeccable in taste.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal: This is a museum of folk arts, which has rich collection of folk dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments and paintings. World famous puppeteers put shows here, on request in advance.
48 kms from the city, this artificial lake was built in 17th century by Maharana Jai Singh. The marble 'Chhatris' along the embankment add grace to this second largest lake in Asia. On either sides of the lake were built the palaces for the favourite queens of the King. People of the Bhil tribe still inhabit the islands in Jaisamand lake.
Pratap Memorial: Erected atop Modi Magri is this equestrian bronze statue of the valiant hero, Maharana Pratap. Sajjan Garh, Gulab Bagh, Dudh Talai Park, the Sunset point are also the places to be seen.
How to Reach
By Air: Udaipur is well connected by regular flights with Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur and Jaipur.
By Rail: Udaipur is well connected by rail with major cities in north and west India. Udaipur is also covered by the prestigious luxury train - Palace On Wheels.
By Road: Udaipur has a good network of roads. The city is well connected by frequent Rajasthan State Transport buses from major cities and towns of Rajasthan and north India.