Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’ was founded in 1599 by Maharana Udai Singh. The city hailed as the ‘Venice of the East’ set amidst the Aravalli hills of South Rajasthan, is one of the most romantic destinations in India. Udaipur has a profusion of marble palaces, lakes, temples, cenotaphs and rugged hills. It’s also proud of its heritage as a centre for the performing arts, painting and crafts. Famous historical personalities like Maharana Pratap, Rani Padmini and Meera Bai, the poetess and devotee of Lord Krishna hail from here. The enchanting marble palaces and scenic beauty makes it a most fantastic place for leisure.
Places of Interest in Udaipur
City Palace towers over the Pichola Lake. Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex retained a surprising uniformity to the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant gate. The Bari Pol or the Big gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate. It was once a custom that the Maharana would weigh under this gate in gold and silver, which was distributed to the populace. It is also now the main ticket office.
Balconies, cupolas and towers surmount the palace to give a wonderful view of the lake. Suraj Gokhada or the balcony of the sun is where the Maharana would grant public audiences mainly to boost the morale of the people in difficult times. The Mor Chawk is the peacock square and gains its name from the vivid blue mosaic in glass of a peacock that decorates its walls.
City Palace Museum
The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword. The City Palace museum is then entered through the Ganesh Deori meaning the door of Lord Ganesh. This leads to the Rajya Angan, the royal courtyard that is the very spot where Maharana Udai Singh met the sage who told him to find a city here.
The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings. Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas display a rich collection of miniature paintings. Moti Mahal or the pearl palace has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over. The Surya Chopar or the sun square depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Mewar dynasty belongs. The Bari Mahal is a central garden with view of the city.
Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the Zenana Mahal or the ladies chamber, which leads to Lakshmi Chowk a beautiful white pavilion.
Fateh Prakash Palace Crystal Gallery
It is situated in the Fateh Prakash Palace is a breath taking collection of crystals. Maharana Sajjan Singh mainly ordered these crystals from F & C Osler England. But he could not see the crystals because of his untimely death. The crystal item includes tables, sofa sets, dinning table, dressers, fountains and even beds besides a whole array of washing bowls, decanters and perfume bottles. There is also an exquisite jewel studded carpet, which is beyond description.
The Lake Palace is located on the Jag Niwas Island and covers the whole of 1.5 hectare of the island in the middle of the Pichola Lake. Built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743 it was meant as a royal summer palace and now converted in to a five star palace hotel. It is a magical palace and its image in the middle of the lake is like a leaf straight out of a fairy tale book with an excellent taste of intricate craftsmanship and the ethnic themes using the textiles and handicrafts all over highlight the beauty that is simply beyond compare the lake around makes a pleasant murmur with its rippling waves and lapping that adds to the mesmerising moments.
Vintage Car Collection
The collection within the grounds of the Garden Hotel comprises a variety of classic and interestingly rare transportation vehicles; some stately and vintage like Cadalec, Chevalate, Morais etc., while the others are sleek and fast .The Maharanas of Udaipur once possessed and used these regal splendours of automobiles as their luxuries but most of the other models are gradually being added to the collection,since it provides a unique aristocratic safari for the exclusive guests.
A RELIGIOUS COMPLEX Northern region of Mewar (22 Kms) It houses 108 temples chiselled out of sandstone and marble, this temple of Eklingji was built in 734 AD. Enclosed by high walls, it is devoted to Eklingji (A form of Shiv Deity adored under the epithet of EKLINGA).
Beautiful sculptured Jain temples mark the glory of this renowned place. Marked as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15 the century. During the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall.
Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara
Nathdwara lies 48 kms from Udaipur and literally means the gateway to the Lord. This great Vaishnavite shrine was built in the 17th century on spot exactly defined by the Lord himself.
Located 64 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Kumbhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Cradled in the Aravali Ranges the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha.
Chittorgarh is the epitome of Rajput pride, romance and spirit. It reverberates with history of heroism and sacrifice, which is evident as it echoes with the tales sung by the Bards of Rajasthan.
Located about 2 kms east of Udaipur is an impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there.
Jaisamand Lake Maharana Jai Sigh had built this picturesque artificial lake. It the second largest lake in Asia. The lake has elegant step leading to the water and marble Chhatri (cenotaphs) on its bank and a small Shiv temple marks the grace of the lake.
On the way to Kumbhalgarh lies their royal lake with a magnificent dam created in the 17th century offers a spectacular views of the sunset adorned by beautiful Torans [arches] and Chhatris And number of attractive pavilions.
Tourist Attraction Udaipur
Pichola Lake derives its name from Pichola Village was submerged and Maharana Udai Singh enlarged the lake after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam known as Badipol and lake is now 4 km long and 3 km wide. This picturesque lake encloses the Jag Niwas Island and the Jag Mandir. And, the City Palace extends along its eastern banks.
Fateh Sagar Lake
This delightful lake, bordered by hills and woodland was constructed by Maharana jai Singh to the north of Lake Pichola. 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
This is the other island palace in Lake Pichola, which was constructed by Maharana Karan Singh as a hideout for Prince Khurram the estranged son of Emperor Jehangir the implacable foe of the Maharana. The reason for the aid was that the prince was the son of a Rajput mother.
It is also said that Shah Jahan [prince Khurram] derived some of these ideas for the Taj Mahal from this palace when he stayed there in 1623-24. The island has some striking carving including a row of elephants that looks as though they are guarding the island. The exquisitely carved chhatri in grey and blue stone is another example.
Built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1651 the temple enshrines a black stone image of Lard Vishnu. There is a brass image of Garuda the Lord bird carrier. The exterior and the plinth are covered with base relief of alligators; elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians rise in tiers. Chanting, bells and music can be heard throughout the day. It is the largest and most splendid temple of Udaipur.
Saheliyon ki Bari
Maharana Sangram singh builds this in the mid 18th century. The ‘garden of the maidens’ brings to mind the lifestyle of the ladies of the court. The delightful gardens appear discreet and in impeccable taste. There are four pools with dainty kiosks, and all around are flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains protected by a series of walls and shady trees.
The foundation of the Sahelion ki bari functions solely by water pressure and no pumps are used.The garden has a lotus pool, a sitting room decorated with paintings and glass mosaics. The whole ambiences is flavored by the nostalgia of those beautiful bells enjoying themselves in a lavish aura.