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.
The city was founded in 1567 AD by Maharana Udai Singh 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 wistfulness.
The city acquires its scenic beauty from the Aravallis. Three lakes- Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar make it an oasis in the desert.
Udaipur Tourism 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.
Sahelion-Ki-Bari: 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.
City Palace: This majestic white royal building towers itself on a hill and is surrounded by crenellated walls. The palace stands along the shores of Pichola.
Lake Palace: This former summer residence of the royal family has now been converted into a fabulous hotel.
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.
Pratap Memorial: 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.
Jagdish Temple: Dedicated to Vishnu, this temple was built in 1651 AD by Maharana Jagat Singh.
RAJASTHAN TRAIN TRAVEL
PALACE ON WHEELS
Ever wondered what luxury in the royal times was all about! Welcome to Palace On Wheels, a luxury train that carries with it an ambience of the Rajputana era and an exciting fairytale journey, which takes the visitor to the imperial cities of Rajasthan every single day. The coaches also carry out an image of the Rajput states with beautiful interiors. Last but not the least the "Royal Treat" for the passengers on board include saloons, bar lounges & libraries in every coach as well as restaurant and organized shopping facilites.
Ranakpur: (98 Kms) Famous for the beautiful Jain temples.
Jagat (58 Kms): The tenth century Ambika Mata Temple is well preserved in all its splendour.
Rishabhdeoji (65 Kms): Popularly known as Kesariyaji because of the large saffron offerings, this temple is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankara Rishabhdeoji.
Nathdwara : 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.
Kankroli: 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.
Nagda: This ancient place in Mewar is famous for their intricate carvings of the graceful 'apsaras'. 23 kms from the city.
Haldighati: 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.
FORTS OF UDAIPUR
Kumbhal Garh Fort: Kumbhalgarh Fort was built by Maharana Kumbha 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.
Jaisamand lake: 48 kms from the city, this artificial lake was built in 17th century by Maharana Jai Singh. The marble '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 favourite 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.
PLACES TO STAY
Udaipur Hotels, 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 are Tourist guest houses and municipal guest houses. There are dharamshalas and the railway offers its retiring rooms at nominal rates. Paying guest accommodations are also available.