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The city of Udaipur is a lovely land around the Azure water lakes hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravails. 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 writters.

Its kaleidoscope 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 advice 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 marble. 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 :

Forts & Palaces in Udaipur :

City Palace : City 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.

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 Palace : The 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.

Monuments & Havelis in Udaipur :

Bagore-Ki Haveli : 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.

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 far away.

Museums in Udaipur :

City Palace Museum : The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword. The City Palace museum is then entered through the Ganesh Deori meaning the door of Lord Ganesh.

Shilpgram Museum : 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.

Ahar Museum : Located about 2 kms east of Udaipur is an impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there. The most striking cenotaph is that Maharana Amar Singh, who reigned from 1597 to 1620. Nearby is also Ahar Museum, where on display is limited but very rare earthen pottery.

Vintage Collection of Classic Car Museum : The collection within the grounds of the Garden Hotel comprises a variety of classic and interestingly rare transportation vehicles; some stately and vintage like Cadalec, Chevalate, Morais etc., while the others are sleek and fast.

Lakes in Udaipur :

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.

Jaisamand Lake : 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.

Rajsamand Lake : On the way to Kumbhalgarh lies their royal lake with a magnificent dam created in the 17th century offers a spectacular views of the sunset adorned by beautiful Torans [arches] and Chhatris And number of attractive pavilions. Stunning sculpture and Sanskrit verses are vividly inscribed in store a small counterpart of Nathdwara.

Parks in Udaipur :

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. The foundation of the Sahelion ki bari functions solely by water pressure and no pumps are used.The garden has a lotus pool, a sitting room decorated with paintings and glass mosaics.

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 far away.

Temples in Udaipur :

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.

Eklingji : A RELIGIOUS COMPLEX Northern region of Mewar (22 Kms) It houses 108 temples chiselled out of sandstone and marble,
this temple of Eklingji was built in 734 AD. Enclosed by high walls, it is devoted to Eklingji (A form of Shiv Deity adored under the epithet of EKLINGA).

Nathdwara : 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.

Udaipur Excursions :

Kumbhalgarh Fort : Located 64 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Kumbhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Cradled in the Aravali Ranges the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Because of its inaccessibility and hostile topography the fort had remained un-conquered. It also served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife.

Chittourgarh Fort : Chittorgarh is the epitome of Rajput pride, romance and spirit. It reverberates with history of heroism and sacrifice, which is evident as it echoes with the tales sung by the Bards of Rajasthan. The main reason for visiting Chittorgarh is its massive hilltop fort, which is a depiction of Rajput culture and values. The fort stands on a 240-hectares site on an 180m high hill that rises rapidly from the plains below.

Haldighati : The extensive terra firma, towards the south west of Nathdwara, this historical site witnessed the great legendry battle fought between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal Emperor -Akbar in 1576 AD.

Ranakpur : Beautiful sculptured Jain temples mark the glory of this renowned place. Marked as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15 the century. During the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha [four faced temple] is dedicated to Adinathji the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars all distinctly carved and no two being alike is a amazing evidence of the genius sense of architecture that enhances the charm of the place.

Sajjangarh : High on a hilltop just outside Udaipur lies this dramatic 18th century palace, with a breathtaking view of the Mewar countryside Originally intended to be a towering five-story astronomical centre, it was later abandoned and used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge.

Ghanerao : Is a small town famous for its castle now converted into a hotel. The castle's highlight in the pavilion in the central court, where the musicians would perform. Also near the castle are the cenotaphs of former rulers. Mahavir Temple, a Jain Temple is also one of the highlights of the town.

How to Reach Udaipur :

Air : Debock Airport is 24 km from the city centre, Dairy Indian Airliness flights connect Udaipur with Jodhpur Jaipur aurangbad, Mumbai and Delhi.

Rail : Udaipur is directly linked by rail with major cities some important train connection are : 9643 Express (Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Jaipur-Ajmer-Chittaurgarh-Udaipur.)

Road : A wide network of bus service link Udaipur with several destinations. Some of the important distance are Agra 630km, Ahmedabad 262 km Jaipur 406 km .Jodhpur 275km and Mount Abu 185km.

Local Transport : Unmetered taxis, auto-rickshaws, tongas, city bus, regular city bus service is available for dabok airport, badi Lake, Bedala and shaeliyon ki Bari.



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