The city of Udaipur is a lovely land around the Azure water lakes hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravails.
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A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights sounds and experience-an inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writen.
of fairy tale palace lakes temples gardens and narrow lanes strew with stalls,
carry the flavour of a heroic past. Epitomising for 1200 years.
The foundation of the city has an interesting legand associated with it. According to it, Maharana Udai Singh the founder was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditaing on a hill overlooking the lake pichhola.
The hermit blessed
the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favourable located
spot with a fertile valley watered by the stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude
and an the advise of the hermit and founded the city in 1959 A.D.
Overlooking the aquamarine xpanses of the lake Pichhola stands the splendid city palace-a marvel in granite and marbel. Of the original eleven gates of the Udaipur City, only five remain. The suraj pol or sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance to the city.
Exquisite lake palaces of Udaipur shimmering like jewels on lake Pichhola are overwhelming in splendour.
Several palaces of interest around Udaipur, including the majestic Chittaurgarh
the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh, beautiful jain temples of Ranakpur,
Eklingli and Nathdwara and the cool retreat of Mr.Abu make the visit to udaipur
a memorable one.
Udaipur is known as the Venice of the east. It is also called the city of lakes. The Lake Palace on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Pichola Lakes is the finest example of its architectural and cultural explosion.
The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake compliments the palace along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, craft and its famed miniature paintings.The Shilp Gram festival is a center of attraction during the season.
Maharana Udai Singh II founded Udaipur in 1568 after his citadel Chittorgarh was sacked by Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The legends says that Udai Singh was guided by a
holy man meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake to establish his capital
on this very spot. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes this place
was less vulnerable than Chittorgarh.
Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap who valiantly defended Udaipur from subsequent Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon and gallantly fought the Mughal at the Haldighati in 1576.
Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon independence Udaipur merged in the union of India.
Places to See in Udaipur
» City PalaceCity 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.
» 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. 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.
» The Lake PalaceThe 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.
This is a very congenial 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.
» Maharana Pratap Memorial
An impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap and his favorite and loyal horse, who was fiercely protective about his master and stood by him till his last breath, stands at the top of Moti Magri (Pearl Mount) overlooking Fateh Sagar. Local people climb the hill to pay homage to Rana Pratap and his faithful charger 'Chetak', who was killed in the battle of Haldighati. There are the ruins of one of the first Udaipur's forts and there is also a charming Japanese rock garden not faraway.
» Lake Pichola
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. Lake Fateh Sagar is a medium-sized perennial storage reservoir constructed in the year 1678 A. D. by the rulers of former Mewar State. Although 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.
» Jaisamand Lake (51 Kms)
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 either side are the palaces built for the king favourite queens. The local tribe for Bhils still inhabit the island.
» Sahelion 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.
» Jag Mandir
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.
» Jagdish Mandir
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.
» Nathdwara Temple
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. The legends have it that the image of the Lord Krishna was being transferred to safer place from Vrindaban to protect it from the destructive wrath of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The image when it reached the spot it vehicle the bullock carts wheel sank axel deep in mud and refused to move further. The accompanying priest realised that this was lord's chose spot and the image did not want to travel any further. Accordingly a Temple was built here.
Fairs & Festivals in Udaipur
» Shilpgram Fair
Literally meaning a "Craftsmen's Village" is a living ethnographic museum depicting the enormous diversities in craft, art & culture between various Indian states, but the exquisite terracotta work mainly in dark red and dark brown sand material along with the wooden carvings are the forte of this ethnic village . Shilpgram comprises 26 huts set in 70 acres of natural surroundings at the foot of the Aravali Hills.A colourful craft festival during winter seasons to the whole set up induces viatanity and zeal.
Situated 3 kms west of Udaipur near the Havala village is the Centre's Shilpgram - the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex. Spread over an undulating terrain of 130 bighas (70 Acres) of land and surrounded by the Aravallies, the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex is conceived as a living enthnographic museum to depict the lifestyles of the folk and tribal people of the West Zone. Within this complex, huts of the member states are constructed incorporating traditional architectural features of different geographical and ethnic groups residing within the West Zone of India comprising of five Federal States.
» Mewar Fair
The Mewar festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur, and has a unique charm about it. The festival of Gangaur is very significient for women of Rajasthan. It is a time for them to dress up in their best clothes and participate in the festival. They gather to dress the image of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in ceremonial procession through different parts of the city.
The procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichhola. Here, the images are transferred to special boats amidst much singing and festivity.Once the religious part of the festival is over, it is time for cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an impressive fireworks display. Like other fairs and festivals celebrated throughout the state, there is a lot of activity which keeps the participants in a joyful frame of mind, eager to enjoy every moment of the celebrations.