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DESTINATIONS » WEST INDIA » RAJASTHAN » UDAIPUR
 
  
 
Often called the Venice of the East, Udaipur is no doubt the most enchanting and romantic city of Rajasthan. Founded in 1568 by Maharana Udai Singh II following the final sacking of Chittorgarh by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. This extraordinarily beautiful city has come to be celebrated for its association with Queen Padmini, and Meera Bai, royal princesses who are linked with the fortunes of the Sissodia family. The old city was once surrounded by a wall with entry through eleven gates, of which only five remain. The Suraj Pol or Sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance to the city. Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure Pichola Lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravallis. It is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writers. Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valour and chivalry. It is full of palaces, temples and havelis ranging from the modest to the extravagant.
 
     
     
 
DESTINATIONS
 
     
 
  City Palace   Lake Pichola   Jag Niwas  
             
  Jag Mandir   Jagdish Temple   Saheliyon-ki-Bari  
             
  Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir   Pratap Smarak   Fateh Sagar  
             
  Ahar   Eklingji & Nagda   Haldighati  
             
  Nathdwara   Jaisamand Lake   Chittorgarh  
             
      Deogarh      
             
             
 
     
  City Palace  
 
Destination City Palace
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing
It is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, with its scalloped arches, fretted balconies and cupolas. It is an imposing and majestic architectural marvel towering over the lake on a hill surrounded by crenellated walls. The building was started by Maharana Udai Singh II and there were subsequent additions by various maharanas down the years. It is a conglomeration of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. Although added by various maharanas at various times, the complex still retains a surprising uniformity of design. The main entrance is through the triple arched gate, the 'Tripolia'. The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum. It includes the Mor Chowk with its beautiful mosaics of peacocks. The Manak Mahal or Ruby Palace has glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas has a remarkable collection of miniatures. The Chini Mahal is noted for its blue and white ceramics and ornamental tiles. More paintings can be seen in the Zenana Mahal (Women's Palace) and in the Bari Mahal there is a pleasant central garden.

There is also a Government Museum within the palace complex. The exhibits on display include apart from sculptures and paintings, a stuffed kangaroo and a Siamese twin deer.
The other part of the palace against the lake shore has been partly converted into two heritage hotels, the Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace. There is a stunning Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace. The items on display include a rare collection of Osler's crystal ordered from England by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877, crystal chairs, tables and even beds. The Crystal Gallery overlooks the grandiose Durbar (Assembly) Hall with its massive chandeliers, some of the largest in the country. This is one of India's most impressive Durbar Hall with a lavish interior. The walls display royal weapons and striking portraits of former maharanas of Mewar. Th top floor of this high ceiling hall is surrounded by viewing galleries, where ladies of the palace could watch in veiled seclusion what was happening below. The foundation stone of the Durbar Hall was laid by Lord Minto, the viceroy of India in 1909 during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh and as a mark of honour to the viceroy, it was originally named Minto Hall.

 
 
 
     
 
Lake Pichola
 
 
Destination Lake Pichola
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing
This placid lake was enlarged by Maharana Udai Singh II after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam, known as the Badipol and the lake is now 4km in length and 3km wide. In the lake are two islands - Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir. Boat rides on the lake especially in the evenings are very popular.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Jag Niwas
 
 
Destination Jag Niwas
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing,Swimming/Bathing

It is the island on which stands the famous Lake Palace. The palace was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II in 1754 and covers the whole island. Formerly the royal summer palace, it is today a luxury hotel with shady courtyards, lotus ponds and even a small mango tree shaded swimming pool.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Jag Mandir
 
 
Destination Jag Mandir
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing

It is the other island palace on Lake Pichola. It was commenced by Maharana Karan Singh, but takes its name after Maharana Jagat Singh who made a number of additions to it. It is said that the Mughal emperor Shahjahan derived some of his inspiration for the Taj Mahal from this palace after staying here in 1623-24 while lading a revolt against his father Jahangir. Flanked by a row of enormous stone elephants, the island has an impressive chhatri (cenotaph) carved from grey blue stone. The view across the lake to the city is a scene of rare beauty.

 
 
 
     
 
Jagdish Temple
 
 
Destination Jagdish Temple
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Pilgrim Centre/Holy Place
Activities Pilgrimage/Place of worship
Located near the entrance of the City Palace, this temple was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh. This fine Indo-Aryan temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, enshrines a black stone image of the Lord as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe.
 
 
 
 
     
 
Saheliyon-Ki-Bari
 
 
Destination Saheliyon-ki-Bari
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing

‘Garden of the Maids’ is located in the north of the city, is a small ornamental garden with fountains, kiosks, marble elephants and delightful lotus pool. It was a popular relaxing spot where the royal ladies came for a stroll and hence the name.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir
 
 
Destination Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Night Life 
Activities Folk Arts

It has an interesting exhibition of folk arts including dresses, dolls, masks, musical instruments, paintings and puppets. It is also a foundation for the preservation of local folk arts.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Pratap Smarak
 
 
Destination Pratap Smarak
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing

Located atop the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake is a memorial to the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap, who frequently defied the Mughals. The path to the top traverses elegant gardens, including a Japanese rock garden.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Fateh Sagar
 
 
Destination Fateh Sagar
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Scenic Nature 
Activities Boating/canoeing

Located north of the Pichola Lake, this lake is overlooked by a number of hills. It was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678 but after heavy rains destroyed the dam, it was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh. In the middle of the lake is Nehru Park, a popular garden island. Boating facilities are also available.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Ahar
 
 
Destination Ahar
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing

Located about 2km east of the city, there are remains of an ancient city. There is an impressive cluster of royal cenotaphs of the maharanas of Mewar. There is also a museum, which exhibits old earthen pottery, iron objects and other art items excavated in the region.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Eklingji & Nagda
 
 
Destination Eklingji & Nagda
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Pilgrim Centre/Holy Place
Activities  

Located about 22km north of Udaipur, Eklingji is a small village has a number of ancient temples. The Shiva temple here was originally built in 734 AD. The walled complex includes an elaborately pillared hall under a large pyramidal roof and features a four-faced Shiva image of black marble. At Nagda are three old temples. The Jain temple of Adbudji, which though in ruins has interesting architecture. The nearby the Sas Bahu (Mother-in-law Daughter-in-law) Temples have intricate architecture and carvings, including some erotic figures.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Haldighati
 
 
Destination Haldighati
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing

Located about 40km away is a historical site, the scene of the famous battle of 1576 AD fought between Rana Pratap, the heroic son of Udai Singh and the massive forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar. A beautiful Chhatri (cenotaph) with white marble columns, dedicated to Rana Pratap stands here. The cenotaph dedicated to Chetak, Rana Pratap's famous horse is also noteworthy.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Nathdwara
 
 
Destination Nathdwara
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type  
Activities Shopping,Pilgrimage/Place of worship

Located about 48km north of Udaipur is the site of the 18th century Sri Nathji Temple. The most revered of the Vaishnavite shrines. The black stone image of Lord Vishnu was brought here from Mathura in 1699 to save it from the destructive impulses of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It is a very popular pilgrimage site. Nathdwara is also known for its pichwai paintings (religious paintings on cloth), which was first produced after the image of Vishnu was brought to the town.

 
 
 
     
 
Jaisamand Lake
 
 
Destination Jaisamand Lake
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Wildlife Safari/Bird Watching

Located about 48 km southeast of Udaipur, this stunningly located artificial lake was built in the 17th century by Maharana Jai Singh by damming the Gomti River. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in Asia. There are beautiful marble chhatris (cenotaphs) around its embankment. Beautiful summer palaces of the Udaipur queens are built on either side of the lake. There is also a wildlife sanctuary nearby whose fauna includes panther, wild boar, deer, four honed antelope, mongoose and various species of migratory birds.

 
 
 
 
     
 
Chittorgarh
 
 
Destination Chittorgarh
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type  
Activities Heritage sight seeing

This sprawling hilltop fort epitomizes the whole romantic, doomed ideal of Rajput chivalry. The fort stands on a 280 hectare site on top of a 180m high hill, which rises abruptly from the surrounding plains. It traces its history to mythological character Bhim, one of the Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata, who is credited with the fort's original construction. Three times in its long history, Chittor was ransacked by a stronger enemy and on each occasion the end came in true Rajput fashion as jauhar was declared in the face of certain defeat. Men donned the saffron robes of martyrdom and rode out from the fort to certain death, while the women and children immolated themselves on a huge funeral pyre. Honour was always more important than death.

All of Chittor's attractions are within the fort. There are palaces, towers, reservoirs and temples within the fort. Rana Kumbha's Palace has elephant and horse stables and a Shiva Temple. One of the jauhars is said to have taken place here. Fateh Prakash Palace houses a small museum. Near this palace is the Meera Bai's Temple, an ornate Indo-Aryan temple built during the reign of Rana Kumbha and associated with the mystic-poetess Meera Bai. Padmini's Palace is built beside a pool with a pavilion in its centre. Legend relates that as Padmini sat in this pavilion while Ala-ud-din Khilji was allowed to see her reflection in a mirror in the palace. This glimpse led Ala-ud-din to destroy Chittor in order to possess her. But Padmini had committed jauhar. Across this palace is the Kalika Mata Temple, an 8th century Sun Temple, which was later converted to a temple to goddess Kali. The Jaya Stambha (Tower of Victory) was erected by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa in 1440. Rising at 37m with nine storeys, Hindu sculptures adorn the exterior of the tower. Near the tower is Mahasati, an area where the Ranas of Chittor were cremated during Chittor's period as capital of Mewar. There are many sati stones here commemorating women who burned themselves on their husband's pyre. Beyond this area at the edge of the cliff is the Gaumukh Reservoir, a deep tank. A spring feeds the tank from a carved cow's mouth in the cliff, hence the name. The opening here leads to a cave in which Padmini and her compatriots are said to have committed jauhar. Chittor's other famous tower is the 22m high Kirti Stambha (Tower of Fame). Built by a Jain merchant, it is dedicated to Adinath the first Jain tirthankar (apostle). Said to be older than the Victory Tower it features naked figures of many Jain tirthankars , thus indicating that it is of the Digambara (sky clad) sect.

 
 
 
     
 
Deogarh
 
 
Destination Deogarh
Location Udaipur
State Rajasthan
Destination type Heritage Site  
Activities Heritage sight seeing,Pilgrimage/Place of worship

Located about 135km north of Udaipur is a small town known for its wonderful castle that has now been converted into a hotel. It makes an ideal stopover between Udaipur and Jodhpur, Ajmer or Jaipur. There is also an extraordinary cave temple, the Anjaneshwar Mahadev, dedicated to Lord Shiva and said to be 2000 years old.