In the harsh terrain of the hills and ravines of Aravallis, flourishes the city of lakes, Udaipur. One of the most romantic places in India, Udaipur is situated around the shimmering clear blue water lakes, which whisper the mood of a bygone era.
Maharana Udai Singh founded the city in 1567 AD on the advice of a sage. Udaipur was last of the numerous Mewar capitals. It was in Udaipur that legendary Maharana Pratap was born. He was obsessed with Chittaur and the past glories of the Sisodia clan possessed his mind. Maharana Pratap left Udaipur to win back Chittaur from the Mughals. But he failed in his attempts and Udaipur remained the capital of Mewar till India got her independence. The memory of the failure of noble Pratap gives Udaipur its pervading mood of nostalgic wastefulness. The city acquires its scenic beauty from the Aravallis. Three lakes- Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar make it an oasis in the desert.
Ajmer: 264 Kms
Chittaurgarh: 112 Kms
Mount Abu: 185 Kms
Ranakpur: 90 Kms.
Nathdwara: 48 Kms.
Kankroli: 65 Kms.
Udaipur is known as the ' City of Lakes'. The two most scenic and famous lakes of the city are Lake Pichola and Lake Fateh Sagar.
Lake Pichola is surrounded by hills, palaces, temples, bathing ghats and has two island palaces- Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir. Lake Fateh sagar lies to north of Pichola and was built by Maharana Jai Singh but it got the name of Fateh Singh who rebuilt its dam. Both the lakes are breathtakingly beautiful and one can take a cruise on their waters. The sunset over these lakes is a sight to be cherished.
This majestic white royal building towers itself on a hill and is surrounded by crenellated walls. The palace stands along the shores of Pichola.
This former summer residence of the royal family has now been converted into a fabulous hotel.
On the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake was built a garden for the 48 young girls waiting to be sent to the royal house as part of dowry. This garden is laid with extensive lawns, fountains and shady walking lanes. There are four pools with dainty kiosks and fountains with elephant trunks for spouts. These gardens appear discrete and impeccable in taste.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal:
This is a museum of folk arts, which has rich collection of folk dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments and paintings. World famous puppeteers put shows here, on request in advance.
Erected atop Modi Magri is this equestrian bronze statue of the valiant hero, Maharana Pratap. Sajjan Garh, Gulab Bagh, Dudh Talai Park, the Sunset point are also the places to be seen.
Dedicated to Vishnu, this temple was built in 1651 AD by Maharana Jagat Singh.
22 kms from the city is a temple complex of 108 temples enclosed by high walls. Built in 1734 AD, the temples are dedicated to the royal deity Ekling ji. The complex has been chiselled out of sandstone and marble. It has an ornate 'mandap' or pillared hall, the canopy of a huge pyramidical roof composed of hundreds of knots.
This temple is one the most celebrated Vaishnava shrines of Lord Krishna or Nathji. Thousands of pilgrims visit this shrine during the festivals. Foreigners are not allowed in the temple and photography is prohibited. It is located 48 kms from Udaipur.
Known as Dwarkadhish, this temple is an important Vaishnava temple and ranks very high among the temples of the Vallabhacharya. 65 kms from the city.
(98 Kms) Famous for the beautiful Jain temples.
Jagat (58 Kms):
The tenth century Amebic Mata Temple is well preserved in all its splendor.
Rishabhdeoji (65 Kms):
Popularly known as Kesariyaji because of the large saffron offerings, this temple is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankara Rishabhdeoji.
This ancient place in Mewar is famous for their intricate carvings of the graceful 'apsaras'. 23 kms from the city.
This place, 40 kms from Udaipur, has immense historical importance. It was at Haldighati in 1576 AD that armies of Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar clashed. A 'chhatri' with delicate white marble columns is dedicated to the indomitable hero and his loyal charger.
Kumbhal Garh Fort:
Maharana Kumbha built Kumbhalgarh Fort in the 15th century. Perched on the Aravallis, this is the second most important fort in Rajasthan after the Chittaurgarh Fort. Nearby is the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
Maharana Jai Singh built this artificial lake 48 kms from the city, in 17th century. The marbles ‘Chhatris’ along the embankment add grace to this second largest lake in Asia. On either sides of the lake were built the palaces for the favorite queens of the King. People of the Bhil tribe still inhabit the islands in Jaisamand Lake.
Rajsamand lake (66 Kms):
This is dam built by Maharana Rai Singh in 1660.
Shopping can be a pleasure at the Hathipole, Chetak Circle, Clock Tower, Palace Road and Bapu Bazaar. Rajasthan Government also has its own Handicraft emporium. The shops of Udaipur have plenty of exquisite items to offer. The dainty folk toys, brightly coloured garments, hand-printed textiles, batiks, and tie & dye sarees and fabrics to name few. 'Pichwais' or wall hangings painted on cloth are world-renowned for they’re vivid colors and themes. The craftsmanship is at its peak in the metal images and chunky silver jewelry.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
The 10-day festival is a treat for the visitor to an array of exquisite art and craft. Shilpgram hosts the festival.
The onset of spring brings the Mewar festival. During the festival, the tradition and culture of Rajasthan dominates every other thing in one's mind.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The City of Lakes is well connected by air services. The Dabok Airport is 21 kms from the city center.
Rail: Railway has trains from all over the country to destination Udaipur. The Palace on Wheels covers this magnificent city during its eight-day package tour.
Road: There are bus services from tourist places in Rajasthan , Gujarat and Delhi.
PLACES TO STAY
The Lake Palace Hotel is considered to be among the best hotels around the world. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation provides various categories of rooms and dormitory at the Kajri Hotel. Apart from the hotels, there is Tourist a guesthouses and municipal guesthouse. There are Dharamshalas and the railway offers its retiring rooms at nominal rates. Paying guest accommodations are also available.
The lakes surrounding Udaipur regulates the climate, which is pleasant than in any other city in Rajasthan. The summers are hot and winters are cold but the temperature does not rise to extremes. The rainfall is less, around 61 cms annually.
Population: About three lakhs
Main Languages: Rajasthani, Hindi, English