Udaipur was awarded the best tourist destination in 2010. It is known as one of the most romantic cities of India. It is also called as the Kashmir of Rajasthan, the Jewel of Mewar and also at times, the Venice of the East..
Udaipur was the capital city of the Kingdom of Mewar. Maharana Udai Singh was the one who founded the city in the year 1553,and shifted his capital to Udaipur from the city of Chittorgarh. It remained as the capital city until 1818, after which it became part of the British princely state.
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Located in a valley which is surrounded by four lakes, it has natural offerings and with a touch of human effort, it makes one of the most enchanting and memorable tourist destinations.
The city not only has lakes but also has a wide range of forts, palaces, temples and hills. For a visitor, there is the beautiful boat ride on the lake, the hustle and bustle along with its bright coloured markets and an endless array of shops selling all sorts of jewellery, clothes and handicrafts.
Places To Visit
The palace has an interesting legend behind it. The legends say, Maharana Udai Singh, was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditating on a hill which overlooked the lake Pichola.
The sage is said to have blessed the King and asked him to build a palace at this place after finding out a favourable spot with a fertile valley, which is watered by the stream or a lake. The King followed the advice of the hermit and built the city in 1559.
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Overlooking the Lake Pichola stands the beautiful City Palace, a structural marvel made out of granite and marble. There were originally 11 gates to the city of Udaipur, but now only five remain. The main entrance to the city is through the Surajpole or Sun Gate on the eastern side of the city.
It is a beautiful land around the large water body, which is hemmed by the lush hills of the Aravalli drenched in love and beauty. It is a perfect blend of beautiful landscapes and sounds that were an inspiration for poets, painters and writers.
1. City Palace
Standing tall across the Pichola lake, which served as the home for the ruling royalty is the City Palace. The construction was started by Maharana Udai Singh which was later continued by his successors, who further incorporated several palaces and other structures into the complex.
An interesting fact is that each of these additions preserved the original style of design and did not alter or demolish the older structures. Tourists can enter the palace through the Bari Pol or the Big Gate, which leads one to the Tripolia or the Triple gate.
The Triple Gate was once the place where it was a custom to distribute the Maharaja's wealth in gold and silver to his subjects. The palace has numerous balconies, cupolas and towers which overlook the Pichola lake.
The complex is both beautiful inside as well as outside. Each palace is designed in a unique way and the decorations like mirrored tiles, paintings, glass work and ornamental tiles bring more life to the structure.
2. Lake Palace
The Lake Palace was originally known as Jag Niwas Palace and served as a summer palace. It was built between 1743 and 1746 on an island near the Jagmandir Palace. The palace faces the east and is a feast for your eyes. The walls of the palace are made up of black and white marbles and adorned with semi precious stones.
Now this heritage structure is a hotel.There are gardens, fountains and pillared terraces along its courtyards.
3. Jag Mandir
Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island on the Lake Pichola, it is also called as the Lake Garden Palace. The construction of this palace is said to have begun in 1551 and completed around 1652. The royal family used the palace as a summer retreat and for hosting parties.
The palace offered shelter to Emperor Shah Jahan of the Mughal Empire when he rebelled against his father Jahangir. The palace is also said to have become one of leading factors influencing him to build the Taj Mahal.
4. Monsoon Palace
Located on top of the Bansdara Mountain of the Aravalli range, this 18th-century palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh. The King had initially commissioned it as a five storey astronomical centre.
Because of his early death, it brought the plans to a grinding halt. It was later converted into the monsoon palace and also as a hunting lodge. The palace belonged to the Mewar royal family until it was handed over to the Government of Rajasthan, recently.
5. Jagdish Temple
A perfect example of the Indo-Aryan style of architecture,the temple was built in 1651 and is one of the most famous temples in Udaipur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is an architectural marvel playing host to carved pillars, painted walls and graceful ceilings.
6. Fateh Sagar Lake
This lake was constructed by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678.It was later reconstructed during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh after the earthen dam was washed away in the floods. It is one of the four lakes in Udaipur, which has three small islands. The calm blue surface of the lake set against the backdrop of the green mountains makes Udaipur another Kashmir.
7. Lake Pichola
The lake got its name from the village of Picholi, which got submerged when Maharana Udai Singh founded the city of Udaipur by enlarging the original lake. It was created in 1362 and was intended to meet the drinking and irrigation requirements of the city of Udaipur.
The famous City Palace is spread along the lake's eastern bank while the Pichola Palace is in the middle of the lake.
8. Saheliyon Ki Bari
Saheliyon Ki Bari or the Courtyard of the Maidens was built by Rana Sangram Singh as a garden for women. It is one of the popular tourist destinations that houses a small museum.It has several attractions like marble elephants, a lotus pool and fountains.
9. Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal
The Kala Mandal is a cultural institution which is dedicated to the study of folk art, culture, songs and festivals of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It also houses a museum that exhibits various artefacts of Rajasthani culture.
10. Doodh Talai Lake
It is among the more recent attractions and was built in 1995 by the Municipal Council of Udaipur. The lake is nestled between several small hillocks which themselves are tourist attractions. One can reach the top by climbing steps or by driving up.
Locals often go up the hillock to the Karni Mata Temple that houses a white stone idol of the goddess and also thousands of rats.
11. Jaisamand Lake
The lake is known as the second largest man-made sweet water lake in Asia. Locals say that the lake was constructed to halt the water of Ruparel river. The lake hosts a large island, which is home to various species of birds.
Getting To Udaipur
Udaipur has an airport to itself. It is located at a distance of 761 km from Mumbai, 663 km from Delhi and approximately 400 km from Jaipur. The railway station here offers connectivity to all the major cities in India.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit is during the winter season. The temperature is at a comfortable range and is apt for sightseeing. The best months to visit are from September to March.