. Udaipur is a beautiful city, set amidst the Aravalli Ranges of Rajasthan. Known for its picturesque lakes, Udaipur also called 'the city of lakes'. The elevated hills and the beautiful lakes make a picture-perfect backdrop to the Udaipur city. Udaipur is regarded as one of the most romantic cities of the World and subsequently, also known as the 'Venice of East'. In context of Rajasthan, Udaipur is the second most-sought after tourist destination of the state, the first being Jaipur. Udaipur had been the capital of Mewar for centuries.
Though termed as the city of lakes, Udaipur has many more attractions that catch the attention of the tourists with their charm. The city boasts of various museums, palaces, gardens, monuments and colourful festivals that allure tourists to visit the city for once. The mighty palaces with their exquisite locations transport you directly into the royal Rajputana era; Lake Palace, for one, has been accredited for being one of the most romantic places all across the globe. The massive forts of Udaipur grab the interest of people with their sheer structure and architecture. The beautiful temples create a sense of aestheticism with their spiritual ecstasy.
The lakes acting as oasis under the scorching sun propels a sense of calm along with reminding you at once of the city of Venice. The festivals, altogether colourful and lively, with their frenzies and huge scope cast a spell worthy enough to keep you too in spirit for days to come whereas the serene gardens, which lend the city its second adoptive name- The Garden City of Rajasthan, are an epitome of how the natural order manages to make its way to flourish even in the desert, uninhibited. Last but not the least, anyone even a little interested in digging in the past too is fed by through artefacts and what not that still survives in the heart of the city through museums.Undoubtedly, Udaipur is undoubtedly a dream destination for a romantic holiday. Every year, thousands of tourists come from all over the globe to visit this romantic city.
. More than four centuries ago, in A.D. 1559, Rana Udai Singh II the father of Rana Pratap, laid the Foundation of the City Palace after the birth of his grandson Amar Singh I and on the advice of a Hermit Goswami Prem Giriji Maharaj, who had a small hut on this hill. The enormous complex of the old palace standing on a low ridge called Rana Magri (Rana???s Hill) overlooking lake Pichola on the west is a tribute to the constructive genius and architectural taste of the Maharana's of Mewar, ranging from Rana Udai Singh II to the present 76th Custodian of House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar.
It has been so planned and integrated with the original building that the entire structure assumes a shape of one edifice from the exterior, with canopies, towers, domes, cupolas, bastions, beautifully carved balconies and ornamental turrets.The City Palace built by Rana Udai Singh II has been added to and extended by the successive generations of Maharanas, notably by Rana Karan Singh, and Rana Sangram Singh II. Maharana Sajjan Singh and Maharana Fateh Singh further expanded the palace in the 19th century.
The building is a unique depiction of the architectural and artistic evolution of Mewar through centuries. The City Palace has always been a self-sufficient developing centre within itself and shall continue to grow into an ideal prototype of a living palace complex.
. The Lake Palace in Udaipur was built in 1743 -1746 by Jagat Singh II. It was built in the middle of Lake Pichola over the backdrop of beautiful Aravalli Mountain. The palace had been the summer palace for several rulers in Udaipur and was the hiding place for British families during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
The Lake Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, arising out of the Turquoise Waters of the Pichola like an elegant fantasy in white marble. The Lake palace was built in the 17th century on a natural foundation of 4 acers of rock. It was initially called Jaginwas after its founder Maharana Jagjit Singh.
Currently, the Lake Palace is a property of Taj group and is used as a hotel. Famous personalities like Queen Elizabeth, Lord Curzon, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy have stayed and admired the beauty of the palace. The hotel has its own boat service to transport the guests from the land.
Fateh Prakash Palace
. It's like being cocooned in authentic royal luxury at the Fateh Prakash Palace, the grand heritage palace of the HRH group. The warmth of royal hospitality greets you as you walk along the corridors lined with large paintings of the Mewar school that flourished in the seventeenth through nineteenth century.
Advertise Here The lake facing suites in the turrets are suitably appointed with four poster beds and period furniture, festooned with maroon velvet curtains and delicate silk tassels. It's a legacy kept alive since the early decades of the twentieth century when Maharana Fateh Singh (period of reign : 1884 - 1935) used to be the royal occupant of this palace. Till date the formality of royal occasions are maintained.
. Bada Mahal, literally meaning 'Large Palace', dates back to the 17th century. Constructed on a 90 feet high natural rock formation, the palace is considered as the men???s section of the City Palace.
The palace is surrounded by a beautiful garden, lush green landscaped lawns, courtyards, pillars and terraces, royal balconies, fountains and royal apartments. Painted mirrors, ceilings, carvings on the walls and portraits adorn the rooms of the palace.
. In the middle of lake Pichhola is the island palace Jag Mandir where prince Khuman Singh Later known as emperor Shahjahan who built world fame Taj Mahal, sought refuse from his father emperor Jahangir. This three story building was completed by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1652 A.D.
In the mutiney of 1857 A.D., the Indian regiments stationed at Neemach (M.P.) rebelled. English officers and women with their children had taken refuge in a village named Dungla, Maharana Swaroop Singh had then brought to Udaipur in safety and then kept them in comfort on the island of Jag Mandir untill order was restored.
Maharana Jagat Singh who made a number of additions to it later renovated the place. Within the palace was the temple dedicated to the Lord Jagdish and hence the name is derived from that. There is a museum detailing the history of the island as well and the neat courtyards.
. The summer resort of the Maharajas is atop the hill overlooking all the lakes. This palace had a way to collect rain water for consumption all year around.High on a hilltop just outside Udaipur lies this dramatic 18th century palace, with a breathtaking view of the Mewar countryside Originally intended to be a towering five-story astronomical centre, it was later abandoned and used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge. It is also known as Monsoon Palace.
It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh to house and observatory and was planned as a nineteen-storied structure. However the Maharana died prematurely and the plans were curtailed. The now derelict palace dominates the skyline 2468 feet high on top of Bansdara Mountain. It is visible from a great distance and affords splendid scenic views.
. Haldighati is located at a distance of 40 km from Udaipur. A mountain pass in the Aravalli Range, it connects the districts of Rajsamand and Pali. Historical significance of the site is evident from the fact that the battle of Haldighati was a huge combat between Maharana Pratap of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber. This battle of 1576 led to a lot of bloodshed.
The yellow coloured soil of the region that gives a sense of turmeric has given the place its name. This terra firma, which was the battlefield for the legend, Maharana Pratap, was also the place where his mount, Chetak, breathed his last.A cenotaph (chhatri), built at a distance of 4 km from the battlefield in pure white marble is dedicated to Chetak, as a sign of respect and admiration.
Balicha Village, located at a short distance from the place, is famous for its terracotta crafts. The presence of 'Chaitri-Gulab' makes Badshahi Bagh famous. Original rose water and 'Gulkand' (jam made from rose petals) that has immense medicinal value are prominent highlights of this garden.
. Nagda is located at distance of 23 km from Udaipur. A small town, Nagda was found by Nagaditya, the fourth Mewar King, in the 6th century. During the time when it was known as Nagahrida, it served as the capital of Mewar.Located beside Bagela Lake in the north-west of Udaipur on the way to Nathdwara, the town comprises many temples. Its Sas-Bahu Temple, which dates back to the 10th century, is the prime attraction.
Dedicated to the Jain Saint Shanti Nath, the Jain Temple of the town is another popular attraction. Said to have been built during the rule of Rana Kumbha, the temple has a strange idol, which is 9 feet high.
. Located about 2 km east of Udaipur is a cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there. One cenotaph is that Maharana Amar Singh, who reigned from 1597 to 1620. Nearby is also Ahar Museum, where on display is limited but very rare earthen pottery, as well as some sculptures and other archaeological finds. Some pieces date back to 1700 BC, and a tenth-century metal figure of Buddha is a special attraction.
Maharana Pratap Memorial
. The Maharana Pratap Memorial is dedicated to both Maharana Pratap and his loyal companion Chetak. Situated atop a hill called Moti Magri (Pearl Hill) on the banks of Fateh Sagar, the memorial comprises a life-sized bronze statue of Maharana Pratap balanced on his loyal and favourite horse, Chetak.
Considered a loyal companion by Maharana Pratap, Chetak stood by him till his last breath, before being killed in the battle of Haldighati. Near the hill, the Japanese Rock Garden and the remnants of one of the forts of Udaipur are located.
Raj Angan Gol Mahal
. Raj Angan, also known as Gol Mahal, is considered as Annex to the city palace. It is considered as King's Courtyard aptly placed in the direction of Badi Chowk at the entrance to the City Palace. Raj Angan, built by Maharana Udai Singh in 1572, was the Rajya Angan (lawn) where King's proceedings regarding justice was carried out. Raj Angan is blesses with many portraits of erstwhile Mewar rulers. Many memorabilia of Maharana PRATAP SINGH I, paintings, personal weapons of Mewar kings and armours are displayed in one part of this Angan. A portion of this display is dedicated to Chetak, the favorite horse of King Pratap.
Bagore Ki Haveli
. This is a very amicable old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has over hundred rooms and some very interesting display of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork.
After the death Badwa the building became the property of Mewar State. It came to be occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore who built the palace of the three arches also in 1878 and it acquired its name of Bagore-ki-haveli, the house of Bagore. After independence the structure lay in neglect until 1986 when it housed the West Zone Cultural centre.
The haveli now stages delightful evening's entertainment; the pleasurable performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli. It is an ideal place for an evening entertainment while enjoying the view of Lake Pichola.
City Palace Museum
. The City Palace Museum, Udaipur was set up in 1969 by Maharana Bhagwat Singh ji to safeguard and preserve the cultural heritage and the time honoured traditions of the people of Mewar. It provides an insight into the culture and history of the Maharanas of Mewar. Opened in 1969, the museum displays royal family photographs. The museum was opened to the public, in order to generate income and maintain the building, after India became a democracy.
Overseen by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, the museum also houses personal portraits of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar. Artworks, which document royal history before Udaipur got its first camera in 1857, adorn the interior of the museum. The collections of the museum are evenly spread out in the edifice that is 33 meters high, 333 meters long and 90 meters wide.
. Pichola Lake is an artificial fresh water lake that has been named after the nearby Picholi Village. Created in the year 1362 AD, it is one of the several contiguous lakes, developed over the last few centuries in and around Udaipur city.
In 1362 AD, the lake was built by Banjara, a gypsy 'Banjara' tribesman, who transported grain during the reign of Maharana Lakha.Impressed by the beauty of the lake with the backdrop of green hills, Maharana Udai Singh founded the city of Udaipur on its banks. With the construction of a stone masonry dam in the Badipol region located on its shore, he also enlarged the lake.
Over the centuries, the lake???s surroundings and the several islands within the lake have been developed with palaces, marble temples, family mansions and bathing ghats or chabutaras.
The 4 km long and 3 km wide lake has a palace, called the Lake Palace, in its centre, which is now converted into a heritage hotel.
To commemorate the legend of a tightrope walker, the Natini Chabutra, a raised platform in a courtyard, was constructed near the lake. After the establishment of the city, from 1560, Maharana Udai Singh II strengthened the dam.To meet the drinking water and irrigation requirements of the city and its neighbourhood, the lake was primarily created by building a dam
Fateh Sagar Lake
. Fateh Sagar Lake is situated in the north of Lake Picholas. It was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh in the year 1678 AD.It is an artificial lake dug up in 1678, reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh. A canal links the two, via Swaroop Sagar and Rang Sagar Lakes. The beautiful Nehru Island as well as an islet bearing a solar observatory rises from the lake.
Athough primarily constructed for irrigational purpose, this water body has lately formed a second major source of drinking water for the city of Udaipur. The main feeder canal of the lake comes from Madar tank situated at a higher altitude about 15 km from Udaipur City. Lake Fateh Sagar is also connected to the adjoining Lake Pichhola through a canal having gates. This (former) lake has somewhat pear-like shape and is surrounded by hills except on its eastern side where a straight masonry dam of about 800 m length is located. The lake lies on the northwest of main Udaipur city.
. Shilp Gram is located at a distance of 3 km from Udaipur, at the foothills of Aravalli Hills. Often referred to as the 'Handicrafts Village', it encloses twenty-six huts constructed in the traditional architectural style.Many theatre festivals from different states of the country are hosted by a large amphitheatre located in this village. The Rural Arts and Crafts Complex, as it is also called, spread over an area of 70 acres, displays the craft, art and cultural heritage of different Indian states, including those of the aborigines.
Conceived as a living ethnographic museum, it depicts the lifestyle of the folk and tribal people of the West Zone. Huts of the member states are constructed by incorporating traditional architectural features of different geographical and ethnic groups residing within the West Zone of India. With its display of arts, crafts, theatre and music, the museum generates awareness and knowledge of rural life and crafts.
A continuing activity, Shilpdarshan invites artists and craftsmen to exhibit their skill and demonstrate their crafts. As a part of this activity, these artists and craftsmen also sell their handiwork directly to the buyers.Traditional huts of the complex contain household articles of everyday use, including terracotta, textile, wooden, metal and decorative objects. Five of the huts represent the weaver's community from Mewar.
Gulab Baag and Zoo
. A rose garden laid out by Maharaja Sajjan Singh is situated near the palace on the east side of Lake Pichhola. A library in the garden has a collection of ancient handwritten manuscripts and books. Some of the part of the Satyarth Prakash have been written in this library. Styarth Prakash stup is situated in Gulab Bagh. Within the garden, there is a zoo with tigers, leopards, Chinkara gazelle, birds, and many wild animals. Children can enjoy mini train, track of which covers the main part of the garden and the zoo.
Saheliyon Ki Bari
. Sahelion ki Bari was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry. The gardens set below the embankment of the Fateh Sagar Lake have lotus pools, marble pavilions and elephant-shaped fountains. These fountains are fed by the water of the lake gushing through ducts made for the purpose.
Apart from fountains in its four water pools, chiselled kiosks and marble elephants, the garden is also embellished with a lotus pool and bird-fountains. Green lawns, flowerbeds and marble pavilions are the highlights of the garden. Built by Maharana Bhopal Singh, a pavilion of rain fountains was made in order to form an illusion of rain dancing in cadence with dancing maids.From England, these fountains were imported. Four black marbled kiosks are visible at the corners of the main reservoir. In its centre, one white marbled kiosk is located. The fountains are in the form of sculpted birds, on the top of kiosks. These birds spurt water from their beaks producing the rain effect. A huge collection of royal households is put on display in the museum located within the garden complex.
Literally meaning 'Garden of the Maids of Honour', it has numerous fountains located strategically in the four scenic pools. With over 100 varieties, a rose garden greets visitors. The garden's lotus pools and fountains have been placed at a lower level than the waters of Fateh Sagar. This also ensures that they are gravity-fed.
Ekling Ji Temple
. Eklingji Temple is one of the most famous temples of Rajasthan. Located in the town of Eklingji (Kailashpuri), the place got its popular name from the temple.Eklingnath Temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva of the Hindu religion. Initially, the temple was built in 734 A.D. by Bappa Rawal. Since that time, Eklingji has been the ruling deity of Mewar rulers. In the later years, it was repaired and modified by various Kings, to clean the remnants of obliteration made by the attacks of Mohammedans.
The magnificent architecture of Eklingnath Temple is simply remarkable. The double-storied temple looks awesome with its pyramidal style of roof and distinctly carved tower. The outer walls of the temple are stretched with steps that descend touching the serene waters. Inside the complex, the main temple is a huge pillared hall or 'mandap' that is sheltered by hefty pyramidal roof. On entering this hall, you will be welcomed by a silver image of Nandi. In the temple, there are two other images of Nandi carved in black stone and brass respectively. You would find this temple full of mesmerizing fragrance.
The temple boasts of a striking four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) that is made out of black marble. Its height ranges around 50 feet and its four faces depict four forms of Lord Shiva. The east-facing part is recognized as Surya, the west-facing part is Lord Brahma, the north-facing part is Lord Vishnu and the south-facing part is Rudra i.e. Lord Shiva himself. The zenith of the multifaceted idol is known as 'Yantra that stands for the ultimate reality. The Shivlinga (Phallic form of Lord Shiva) garlanded by a silver snake, acquires the major attraction of people.
. The Jagdish Temple is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur. A big tourist attraction, the temple was originally called the temple of Jagannath Rai, but is now called Jagdish-ji. It is a major monument in Udaipur. The Jagdish Temple is raised on a tall terrace and was completed in 1651. It attaches a double storeyed Mandapa (hall) to a double - storied, saandhara (that having a covered ambulatory) sanctum.
The mandapa has another storey tucked within its pyramidal samavarna (bell - roof) while the hollow clustered spire over the sanctum contains two more, non - functional stories. Lanes taking off from many of the sheharpanah (city wall) converge on the Jagdish Temple. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1651 A.D. It is an example of Indo - Aryan architecture
Sas Bahu Temple
. Dating back to the 10th century, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is made of two structures, one by a mother-in-law and another, by a daughter-in-law.Carved lintels and a multi-lobed arch in its middle mark the entrance of the temple. Both the structures have an altar, a mandapa (columned prayer hall) with projections and a porch.
Comparatively smaller than the temple of Sas, the 'Bahu' temple has an octagonal ceiling, which is adorned with eight intricately carved female figures. In its front, the 'Sas' temple has a torana (archway).
It is widely believed that the image of Lord Vishnu was swung from the torana along with hymns in the praise of the lord on ceremonial occasions. Facing towards the east direction, both the temples are constructed on a common platform.Incidents of Ramayana adorn the temple. Made in two steps, the sculptures are arranged in such a way that one encircles the other. Images of Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu are carved on one platform.
Udaipur Folk Museum
. Udaipur Folk Museum is one of the most famous museums of Udaipur, exhibiting the brilliant collection of folk articles of Rajasthan. This rare compilation varies from typical rural-dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments, folk deities and paintings. The museum is comfortably located in the building of Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal near Chetak Circle in Udaipur city.
As one enters the gateway of the museum, there is a hall displaying the theater objects. In the neighboring hall, you will trace a remarkable collection of tribal folk musical instruments and ornaments. Following this hall, you would reach to a puppet theater. You can actually watch a puppet show that occurs at regular intervals. On the opposite side of this theater, there are designs of henna handprints, decorated cow dung floors and terra-cotta devras (small shrines) that come from the village of Molela near Nathdwara.
The museum portrays the remarkable collection of over past 44 years, gathered by the Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal. To provide a summarized idea of the folk heritage of India, traditional attires, ornaments, miniature paintings and many other art objects are displayed here. Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal of Udaipur definitely requires a visit to closely observe the artistic and culturally rich region of Rajasthan.
. The Sukhadia Circle has been named after the first chief minister of Rajasthan, Mohan Lal Sukhadia. With a garden and large fountain surrounded by a pond, it also offers boating facility.
Often referred to as Sukhadia Square, it is a turnaround in Panchwati, the city???s northern suburb. Opened in 1970, the square has three tiered fountain in its centre. In order to attract kids, it has been provided with some duck shaped paddle boats and toy trains.
Udaipur Solar Observatory
. Asia's only solar observatory, the Udaipur Solar Observatory, is situated on an island in the middle of the Lake Fatehsagar, and the main office building is located at its NW shore near the Bari Road - Rani Road Junction. The site is run under the PRL (Physical Research Lab) in Ahemdabad. The sky conditions at Udaipur are quite favourable for solar observations.The large body of water surrounding the telescopes decreases the amount of heating of the surface layers, which decreases the turbulence in the air mass and thereby improves the image quality and seeing.