City Palace is one of the most beautiful palatial buildings in Udaipur. It is considered the largest amongst its kind in Rajasthan. Maharana Udai Mirza Singh constructed the palace in 1559 as the capital of the Sisodia Rajput clan. It lies on the banks of the Pichola Lake.
The complex of the City Palace comprises around 11 palaces. The structure displays a perfect combination of the Mughal and the Rajasthani style of architecture. It is built on top of a hill and offers an aerial view of the entire city. There are several domes, courtyards, corridors, rooms, pavilions, towers, and hanging gardens in the palace, which add to its beauty.
There are many gateways in this palace. The Bara Pol or the Great Gate is the main entrance gate to the palace. There is a triple arched gate too, which is called Tripolia. Close to this gate, there is a field where elephant fights used to take place.
In the middle of these two gates, there are eight toranas or marble arches. The kings were weighed here against silver and gold, which was later, distributed among the poor. The antique furniture, beautiful paintings, notable mirror and ornamental tile work enhance the elegance of the interiors of the palace.
The Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace is adorned with amazing crystal and porcelain statues. The Bhim Vilas is decorated with miniature paintings presenting the life of the Hindu deities, Radha and Krishna.
The other palaces inside the City Palace include the Krishna Vilas, the Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors, and the Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace. The Jagdish Temple, known as the biggest shrine of Udaipur, is a part of the City Palace complex.
City Palace Museum is a part of the City Palace that was opened for the public in the year 1969 so as to generate income for the maintenance of the building. The pictures and photographs of the royal families are displayed in the museum. These depict the history, culture and tradition of the Maharanas of Mewar.
There is an armoury museum here displaying a vast collection of protective weapons and arms. The museum is run by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, and contains special portraits of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar. The visiting hours are from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm daily.
Pichola Lake is a picturesque artificial lake that was developed in 1362 AD and named after a village called Picholi. A dam was constructed in order to meet the drinking and irrigation requirements of Udaipur, which led to the formation of the lake. Maharana Udai Singh was highly impressed by the surroundings of the lake; therefore, he decided to build the city of Udaipur on the banks of this lake.
The lake has a surface area of 696 hectares and its maximum depth is 8.5 m. Over the years, surroundings of the lake were developed and temples, palaces and mansions came to be constructed there. In the vicinity of the lake, travellers can see the Natini Chabutra, a raised platform, which was built in honour of a tightrope walker Natini commemorating the legend around her and her curse. Travellers can hire tongas, taxis and autorickshaws to reach the lake.
There are four islands on the Pichola Lake, Jag Niwas, which houses the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, which has a palace with the same name, Mohan Mandir, the place from where one could view the Gangaur festival celebration which happens annually and the Arsi Vilas. which served as an ammunition depot and also a miniature palace. A variety of birds, like tufted ducks, coots, egrets, terns, cormorants and kingfishers, flock Arsi Vilas.
Fateh Sagar is a beautiful pear-shaped artificial lake developed in the year 1678 by Maharana Fateh Singh. It is one of the four lakes of Udaipur, and is considered the pride of the city. Because of its beautiful blue waters and green surroundings, the place has been nicknamed as ‘Second Kashmir’.
There are three small islands situated amidst the lake. The Duke of Connaught, who was the son of Queen Victoria, laid the foundation of the lake. It is connected to Pichola Lake and Rang Sagar Lake by a water canal. The Ram Pratap Palace is situated on the banks of Fateh Sagar. Travellers can reach here by availing local bus services, taxis, autos and tongas.
Lake Palace is a magnificent structure situated on the Jag Niwas Island amidst the Pichola Lake. Maharana Jagat Singh built this palace as a summer retreat in the year 1743. Now, the palace has been transformed into a 5-star hotel. The architecture of the building is a beautiful example of intricate craftsmanship.
It is counted among the most exquisite palaces in the world. The beautiful pillared terraces, courtyards lined with columns, gardens and fountains add to the beauty of the palace. The rooms of the palace are adorned with pink stones, painted mirrors, cusped arches and green lotus leaves.
There are several apartments like the Kush Mahal, the Bada Mahal, Dhola Mahal, Phool Mahal and the Ajjan Niwas. The facilities available in palace include a bar, a swimming pool and a conference hall.
Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of around 5 km from Udaipur, and surrounds the Sajjangarh Palace. The Bansdara Hill, located in the backdrop of the sanctuary, looks amazing from the place. Tiger Lake, also known as Jiyan Lake or Bari Lake, is located inside the sanctuary.
This artificial lake was built in the year 1664 by the former king of Mewar, Maharana Raj Singh. He named this lake as Jiyan after Jana Devi, his mother. There are varied species of animals, birds and reptiles present in the sanctuary. Animals like wild boars, jackals, sambars, blue bulls, hyenas, chitals, panthers and hares can be easily spotted here.
In the vicinity of the sanctuary, there is a unique fish-shaped hill called Machla Magra, which is quite beautiful. A shrine dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva is also located near the sanctuary.
Gulab Bagh, also known as the Sajjan Niwas Garden, was constructed during the 1850s by Maharana Sajjan Singh. The garden is supposedly the largest garden in Udaipur as it covers an area of around 0.40 sq km. The Victoria Hall Museum containing antiques, curios and other ancient royal items, is also located in the complex of the palace.
There is a zoo located in the vicinity of the garden. Apart from the zoo, and the museum, the compound also houses the Saraswati Bhawan Library, built by Maharana Fateh Singh. The library has a rich collection of books related to archaeology, history and ideology. Along with these books, travellers can also see various ancient manuscripts here belonging to the medieval era.
Duddhtalaii Musical Garden, located near the Pichola Lake is maintained by the Udaipur Urban Development Trust. The first musical fountain in the state of Rajasthan was set up in this rock garden. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful sight of the sunset point, located far beyond the Aravalli Mountains, from here.
Saheliyon Ki Bari, meaning 'Garden of the Maids of Honour', was constructed by Maharana Sangram Singh in the 18th century for the royal women. It is said that the king himself designed this picturesque garden, and gifted it to his queen who was accompanied by 48 maids after her marriage.
Situated on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake, the place is noted for its beautiful fountains, lush green lawns, and marble works. The main highlights of the garden are the fountains, which were imported from England. All the fountains are constructed in the form of birds spurting water from their beaks. Pavilions made of black stone surround the fountains.
There is a small museum in the garden displaying a vast collection of the royal household. Apart from the museum, there is also a rose garden and lotus pools. The garden is open to visitors daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Bada Mahal is the men’s section of the City Palace that was constructed in the 17th century. The literal meaning of the Bada Mahal is the 'Large Palace'. It is built on a 90 ft high natural rock formation and is encircled by lush green lawns, a splendid garden, beautiful terraces, pillars, balconies and fountains. The rooms of this palace are adorned with mirrors, carvings and portraits.
Jagdish Temple, earlier known as the Temple of Jagannath Rai, is a major part of the City Palace in Udaipur. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Vishnu and is considered as the largest temple of the city. Representing the Indo-Aryan architectural style, it was constructed by Maharana Jagat Singh of Udaipur in 1651.
The image of Vishnu enshrined in the temple is carved out of black stone and features four arms. It is a three-storey structure with exquisitely carved pillars, painted walls and decorated ceilings. There are 50 pillars each on the first and the second floor. The apex of the temple measures 79 ft in height, and statues of musicians and dancers along with elephants and horsemen can be seen on it.
The image of Garuda (half-man and half-eagle) guards the doorway of Lord Vishnu. There are four other shrines located close to the Jagdish Temple, which are dedicated to the Sun God, Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti.
Nehru Garden is a picturesque oval-shaped island, located amidst Fateh Sagar Lake. The garden is named after Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. It was opened for the public on 14th November 1967 to mark his birth anniversary.
This beautiful garden is a major tourist attraction of Udaipur. Spread across an area of 4.5 acres, the park has a lily pond, a flower garden and fountains. Travellers can also enjoy in the floating restaurant located in the garden premises.
Shilpgram, also known as the Handicrafts Village, is around 3 km away from Udaipur. It is a small hamlet comprising 26 huts built in the traditional style. These huts are equipped with household articles of everyday use.
Among all, five of the huts symbolise Mewar’s Weaver's Community. It is a kind of living ethnographic museum, which shows the lifestyle of the tribal population living in the West Zone. Every year, the village hosts several theatre festivals where people from various states of India come and participate.
The Rural Arts and Crafts Complex is the amphitheatre here sprawling over a large area of 70 acres. Artists and craftsmen from all over display their work in Shilp Darshan. In this fair, they also sell their work to the customers.
Sukhadia Circle or the Sukhadia Square is a turnaround in Panchwati, Udaipur. Constructed in 1970, the circle is named after Mohan Lal Sukhadia, the first Chief Minister of Rajasthan. The beautiful place is surrounded by a pond, and there is also a big garden and fountain. Travellers can enjoy boating in the pond.