Popularly referred to as the town of Lakes, serene Udaipur is that the crowning jewel of royal Rajasthan. With shimmering lakes visible from almost every rooftop, fairytale palaces, sprawling havelis, revered temples and narrow lanes weaving through colourful markets as ancient because the city’s history, Udaipur’s charm is unmatched.Founded by Maharaja Udai Singh II in 1559, the town served because the capital of the dominion of Mewar after Mughal emperor Akbar besieged its earlier power-centre Chittorgarh. Udaipur is additionally mentioned because the Venice of the East, a title it’s earned for being dotted with numerous lakes (seven to be precise)!
Nestled within the mighty Aravalli range, surrounded by dense forests and craggy hills, and magical sunrises and sunsets turning its lakes into pools of gold, Udaipur is one among the foremost picturesque destinations within the country. Colonel James Tod of the Malay Archipelago Company, who was also a scholar, aptly described the town as “the most romantic place within the Indian sub continent”.
Visitors can enjoy tranquil boating on Lake Pichola, the most important of Udaipur’s lakes, spend each day taking within the jaw-dropping opulence of City Palace, visit the time-weathered temples, patronize the art and curio stalls that line the streets, enjoy Rajasthani ethnic music and dance performances, taste mouth-watering cuisine or drive out of the town to get legends hidden within the wooded Aravalli hills and therefore the impregnable forts dotting its surroundings. No wonder then, Udaipur is one among the foremost popular tourist destinations within the country!
How to get there
Maharana Pratap Airport provides easy flights to various cities across the country.
Udaipur is well connected to all the major cities of India. Delhi is 667 km away while Mumbai is 760 km away via road.
Trains from various parts of the country like Delhi, Mumbai are connected to Udaipur.
Located on the outskirts of Udaipur, Ahar, which seems like a city of tombs, is that the cremation ground of the rulers of Mewar. Also a renowned archaeological site, Ahar has 372 cenotaphs of kings and queens of Mewar and was built over 400 years. Nineteen maharanas were cremated here, and therefore the most striking cenotaph is that of Maharana Sangram Singh (1710 to 34). These cenotaphs are made from marble with fine carvings etched into them. The cenotaph of Sangram Singh has 56 pillars with an octagonal dome at the centre supported by eight smaller pillars.
Nearby may be a small museum with a rare collection of antiques. The archeological museum houses antiques that go back to the 10th century. a number of them include earthen pots, iron objects, etc. there's also a metal figure of Lord Buddha that dates back to the 10th century along side grain pots, skin scrubbers, balls and seals belonging to 1st century BC.
Bagore Ki Haveli
Standing on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat is that the stunning Bagore ki Haveli. Constructed within the 18th century by Amar Chand Badwa, the then Prime Minister of Mewar kingdom, Bagore Ki Haveli was a personal property till India’s independence. Today, this mansion with ostentatious architecture, may be a museum. Reflecting Mewar’s rich heritage, Bagore ki Haveli has an assortment of giant courtyards, balconies, jharokhas, archways, cupolas and a fountain. With around 138 rooms, the interiors of the Haveli are decorated with alluring glasswork and murals, including the chambers of the royal ladies, renowned for intricate glass windows.
The marvels of architecture are visible together enters the high gates of the haveli, being welcomed into a beautiful courtyard with a double-layered lotus fountain at its centre. As you walk inside, a row of rooms on the proper offer splendid views of Lake Pichola. The haveli has three chowks: Kuan Chowk, Neem Chowk and Tulsi Chowk, the latter reserved for ladies of the family. The Kanch Mahal (mirrored passage) and Durrie Khana were areas used only by the lads of the family. Diwan-e-khas was the most important chamber.
Bagore ki Haveli also has Shringar Kaksh, a room employed by the ladies , while Sangeet Kaksh (music hall) was employed by them to find out music and practice.
The Bagore ki Haveli museum is split into five sections, including the puppet museum, the most haveli, the turban museum, the arms and ammunition museum and a neighborhood that depicts royal weddings. However, the foremost popular attraction of the mansion
The main attraction of Bagore ki Haveli is that the Dharohar Dance Show that's conducted within the evenings. This hour-long show takes place within the Neem Chowk courtyard and showcases the normal dance sorts of Rajasthan.
Rising from the bank of Lake Pichola, the imposing City Palace may be a grand icon of Udaipur’s and Rajasthan’s royal past. A must-visit destination for anyone who involves Udaipur, City Palace is that the largest palace in Rajasthan. With a facade that’s 244 m long and 30.4 m high, the palace complex has 11 smaller palaces. Construction of the palace was started in 1599 by Maharana Udai Singh II, the city’s founder, and was extended by his successsors. Though today, it seems uniform, just like the brainchild of 1 man. It includes two luxurious palace hotels, a faculty and therefore the popular City Palace Museum.
With ornate towers, cupolas, arched doorways and protruding balconies, the town Palace is an architectural marvel and represents an exquisite blend of Rajasthani, Mughal, European and oriental architecture styles. it's a maze of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. Encircled by fortifications, this stately palace is made in granite and marble. the huge gates of the palace are referred to as ‘pols’ with Bara Pol being the most gate, which results in the primary courtyard. On passing Bara Pol, one comes across a triple arched gate, referred to as Tripolia. Between these two gates, one can see eight marble arches or 'toranas', where its is claimed kings wont to weigh themselves with gold and silver. Next to Tripolia is an arena where elephant fights were staged. Across Tripolia, is that the Elephant Gate or the Hathi Pol. In 1974, an outsized a part of the town Palace was became a museum, referred to as the town palace Museum. you'll still marvel at the royal family's horses at the stables next to the museum. Inside the museum, first comes Rai Angan, where it's said king Udai Singh met a sage who asked him to create the town . Its walls are lined with rare paintings. Next comes Bada Mahal is that the exotic garden palace that stands a 90-feet-high natural rock formation. Inside, there's an enviable collection of rare paintings, antique furniture and exquisite glass mirror and decorative tile-works. Manak Mahal has an exquisite collection of crystal and porcelain figures, while Bhim Vilas flaunts a wonderful collection of miniature paintings depicting the important life stories of Radha-Krishna. Krishna Vilas is understood for miniature paintings portraying royal processions, festivals and games of the queens. Moti Mahal is widely known for its lavish decor while Sheesh Mahal is understood for its breathtaking mirror work. Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles are often seen at Chini Chitrashala and Dilkusha Mahal is understood for murals and wall paintings. The Zenana Mahal’s central courtyard, Laxmi Vilas Chowk, contains a gorgeous white pavilion and a stable of howdahs, palanquins and other people-carriers. Another must-see place here is that the Durbar Hall, with a number of most impressive chandeliers. The walls display weapons and portraits of former kings of Mewar. the inspiration stone of this hall was laid in 1909 by Lord Minto, the viceroy of India, during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh. The hall is inside the Crystal Gallery. Amar Vilas is that the highest point of the palace with wonderful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces, offering one among the foremost magical views of Lake Pichola. the town Palace is made in such a way that the lake are often viewed from any of its balconies, cupolas and towers. While, from the surface , it's going to appear to be almost nondescript, one has got to step inside to understand its artistic heritage. Such is its splendour that it isn't rare for visitors to lose themselves amidst the fragile mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, inlay work and colored glass!
About 110 km faraway from Udaipur is that the hilly paradise of Dungarpur nestled within the foothills of the Aravalli range. Popular for the green marble found here,
Dungarpur is wild at bottom with the fertile plains of the Mahi and Som, the 2 rivers criss-crossing it, teeming with flora and fauna. The town gets its name from the local Bhil chieftain Dungariya and was founded in 1258 by Rawal Veer Singh, the eldest son of Karan Singh, the then ruler of Mewar.
The main attraction here is that the 19th-century Udai Bilas Palace. With a shocking mixture of Mughal and Rajput architecture, the palace, which is now a hotel, is made with the local green granite and boasts carved balconies, arches, and windows.
The other popular attraction here is that the Juna Mahal, an imposing seven-storeyed structure inbuilt 13th century from yellow stone. The palace is adorned with frescos, murals, local green stones and mirrors. the govt Archaeological Museum of Dungarpur is well-known also and displays statues of varied deities, stone inscriptions, coins and paintings dating back to the 6th century. Operational since 1959, it exhibits a set of commodities excavated from Vagad region. aside from these, Gaib Sagar Lake with a palace is additionally a well-liked site.
Situated 22 km faraway from Udaipur, the Ekling Temple is one among the foremost famous pilgrimage sites within the state of Rajasthan. Ekling is believed to be the ruling deity of the princely state of Mewar. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was inbuilt 734 AD and has been repaired and modified numerous times. A four-faced idol of Lord Shiva made out of black marble rests within the temple.
The idol is 50 foot tall and is flanked by idols of Goddess Parvati and her two sons, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya. the most temple has huge silver doors depicting the 2 sons guarding their father. One must visit the temple during the festival of Shivratri as an excellent celebration ensues during this point .
Fateh Sagar Lake
Pear-shaped and encircled by green hills of the Aravalli range, the Fateh Sagar Lake is one among the foremost serene spots in Udaipur. Located just next to the Moti Magri hill, the lake was inbuilt 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh. it had been named after Maharana Fateh Singh, who extended it later. Fateh Sagar, which is that the second largest reservoir in Udaipur after Jaisamand, is 2.4 km long, 1.6 km wide and 11.5 m deep. it’s a well-planned reservoir with three intake channels and an overflow channel that help regulate water flow during monsoon.
Three small islands increase the sweetness of the lake. the most important island of the lake is Nehru Park and comprises a restaurant and alittle zoo. The government has converted the second island into a public park and therefore the third island features a solar observing site, one among the foremost elaborate in Asia, called the Udaipur Solar Observatory. From rock bottom of Moti Magri Hill, you'll hire pedal boats or motor boats to enjoy the scenery.
Jag Mandir Palace
Often mentioned because the ‘Swarg Ki Vatika’ or the garden of heaven, this beautiful palace is claimed to possess inspired the Taj Mahal . Built on the Jag Mandir Island, about 800 m south of Jagniwas, this three-storeyed palace was built by Maharana Karan Singh II in 1620 and later completed by his son. inbuilt yellow sandstone and marble, it’s said the king built it as a topographic point for Mughal emperor Shah Jahan , before he ascended the throne. Legends say, Shah Jahan, who was then referred to as Prince Khurram lived here together with his wife and sons.
Maybe a reason why Gul Mahal, the section during which the prince lived, has strong traces of Islamic architecture, including the crescent. A mosque was also constructed here. Gu Mahal features a stunning courtyard with checquered black and white tiles. Folklore says, the Mughal prince was so impressed with the architecture of the palace, especially its pietra dura (stone mosaic) work, that when he used it in Taj Mahal in Agra.
The other attractions here are the life-sized marble elephants, Bara Patharon ka Mahal, Kunwar Pada ka Mahal, Zenana Mahal and delightful flower gardens. It also features a museum that gives a glimpse into the history of this island and therefore the palace. Interestingly, most locals also ask it as Octopussy's house, pertaining to the 1983 Bond film Octopussy, which was shot at several palaces in Udaipur.
Located 150 m faraway from City Palace, Jagdish Temple is formed within the Indo- Aryan sort of architecture and named after Maharana Jagat Singh, who ruled between 1628 and 53. referred to as the most important in Udaipur, the three-storeyed temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is adorned with carved pillars, decorated ceilings and painted walls. the most shrine has the figurine of the four-armed Lord Vishnu carved out of one black stone. the most shrine is surrounded by four smaller shrines of Lord Ganesha, the Sun God, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva.
the primary and second floors of the temple house 50 intricately carved pillars each. The shikhar or spire of the most temple, around 80 feet high, dominates the skyline of Udaipur. Decorated with sculptures of dancers, elephants, horsemen and musicians, it is a spectacular piece of art.
A pair of marble elephants welcome visitors to the temple and there's a stone slab here that has inscriptions which ask Jagat Singh. A flight of 32 steps cause the most shrine, where stands a brass idol of Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu.
Framed by majestic mountains, grand forts and magical palaces, Lake Pichola may be a site dreams are made from . Watching the limpid blue sheet being set aflame by the rising sun, is magical. It’s equally mesmeric to only watch the grey-green mountains cast long shadows on the water, because the sun sets, and twinkling stars float on the ripples, mingling with lights from the encompassing restaurants and hotels.
Located right at the guts of Udaipur, Pichola is one among the oldest and largest of the city's lakes. inbuilt 1362 by Pichhu Bajanara during the rule of Maharana Lakha, legends say that the sweetness of the lake enticed Maharana Udai Singh to create a city by its banks. it had been enlarged by Maharana Udai Singh II, after the town was constructed, by flooding Picholi village, which gave the lake its name. He also built a stone masonry dam within the Badipol area by the lake. Today, the lake is 4 km long and three km wide.
There are four islands on the lake: Jag Niwas, where the Lake Palace is located; Jag Mandir, with the palace of an equivalent name; Mohan Mandir, from where the king would enjoy the annual Gangaur festival celebrations and Arsi Vilas, alittle island which had a small palace and an ammunition storehouse. Legends say it had been built by one among the kings of Udaipur to enjoy the sunset on the lake. it's also features a sanctuary where an outsized sort of birds like egrets, cormorants, coots, tufted ducks, terns and kingfishers are often spotted. Beautiful arched bridges were built to attach the shores of the lake at several places. While the magnificent City Palace stands along the eastern banks of this lake, on the southern side, stands the Machla Magri (Machhala Magra) or Fish Hill on which is found the ruins of the Eklinggarh Fort.
Boatrides on the lake are one among Udaipur's unmissable experiences. And while cruising on the serene lake, one truly understands the meaning of author Rudyard Kipling's words: "If the Venetian owned the Pichola Lake, he might say with justice, `see it and die'"!
Sitting atop the Bansdara hills within the Aravalli range and overlooking the Fateh Sagar lake, this white palace seems a bit like a fairy-tale castle, one which holds within its walls memories of kings and queens. This 19th-century marble palace was constructed by Maharana Sajjan Singh of the Mewar dynasty, and was named after the king. Originally planned to be an astronomical centre, it had been later became a monsoon palace and a royal lodge , at the untimely death of Sajjan Singh.
Strategically built to let the royalty enjoy sightings of the monsoon clouds, a harbinger of happiness within the desert state, it stands shrouded in melancholy today. However, it offers stunning views of Udaipur and therefore the surrounding countryside and lakes, specially during sunset. At the foot of Capitol Hill is that the 5-sq-km Sajjan Garh Wildlife Sanctuary, where wild animals like chital, sambar, wild boar, and nilgai are often seen. Nearby is that the Jiyan Sagar lake also referred to as Badi lake.
On the bank of River Banas is found the Celestial City of Nathdwara, renowned for a much-revered temple of Lord Krishna. Situated around 48 km faraway from Udaipur, the town derives its name from two words: ‘nath’ meaning the Lord and ‘dwar’ meaning a gate. The 17th century temple dedicated to Lord Shrinathji (an incarnation of Lord Krishna) is housed during a beautiful complex with intricately carved structures. The idol of the Lord is carved out of one black stone and depicts Lord Shrinathji (this term is employed for Krishna when he lifted the Govardhana hill ) together with his left raised and therefore the right bunched into a fist.
The temple's gaushala (cow shed) houses quite 500 cows and Holi, Janmashtami and Annakutta festivals are celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm. Nathdwara is additionally popular for its pichhwai paintings, which are colourful representations of Lord Krishna on fabric or cloth. it's also popular for mouth-watering sweets.
Saheliyon ki Bari
A popular garden in Udaipur, Saheliyon ki Bari, is understood for its stunning fountains and plush green lawns. Located on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake, this massive garden was inbuilt the 18th century by king Sangram Singh for the royal women of the palace. Legend says that it had been designed by the king himself for his queen and therefore the garden was often visited by the queen along side her friends and maids. And hence, its name refers to saheliyon (friends).
The garden features a spectacular pavilion of rain fountains and elephant-shaped fountains in white marble that were imported from England. the most reservoir has four black marbled stands within the corners and one white marbled kiosk at the centre.The garden also houses a museum that displays an enormous collection of royal home items .
The Lake Palace
Located at the guts of Lake Pichola, the ethereal Lake Palace looks like a mirage, a dream in white floating within the brilliant blue of the lake. and each sunrise and sunset, the palace seems to melt into the molten gold of the shimmering waters.
Built on a four-acre Jag Niwas island between 1743 and 1746 under the supervision of Maharana Jagat Singh II as his summer palace, this white marble palace was originally referred to as Jag Niwas.
Later, it had been used because the summer resort by the descendants of Jagat Singh. Today, it houses a five-star hotel.
The palace faces the east, during a tribute to the rising sun. With white cupolas seemingly stacked against one another , the palace is beautifully adorned with brilliant murals during a myriad of shades, series of courtyards that are aligned with numerous columns, terraces, beautiful fountains and well-laid gardens. within the evening, when it's lit-up it is a sight of a lifetime!