Udaipur – the White city
In the dry desert state of Rajasthan, Udaipur is an oasis with numerous lakes that are interconnected by canals, earning it the name “lake city”. It is also known as the “white city” in reference to the many white marble palaces here. Udaipur is a kaleidoscope of majestic palaces, emerald lakes, exquisite temples, gardens and old markets with narrow lanes lined with shops that transport a visitor to a bygone era.
The picturesque Lake Palace amidst the aquamarine expanse of lake Pichhola, with its grand reflection gracing the lake waters, is a sight to behold. Towering over the lake is the City Palace resplendent in the famed Rajasthani royal heritage and grandeur. Walking around the city is a experience not to be missed. One comes across lakes, palaces and old buildings assembled in a picture book setting; even more so in the evenings when the palaces are lit up with bright lights and their reflections shimmer in the azure waters of the lakes.
Rana Udai Singh, the father of the legendry warrior Rana Pratap, founded Udaipur. At the time, Nagda, on the banks of the Banas River was the capital of Mewar. However, later Maharana Udai Singh shifted the capital to Udaipur, after Akbar captured Chittorgarh in 1568 AD.
The Sisodia Ranas of Mewar never surrendered to the pressure of the ruling Mughals and always fought them to protect their honour. The Gehlot or Sisodias were continuously at loggerheads with the Mughals and asserted their independence. The topography of the surrounding area supported them in their battle against the Mughal; the latter had an army of horses which could not climb the mountains around Udaipur. It remained a princely state under British India and became a part of the Republic of India after Independence was gained for the country.
According to a legend, Rana Udai Singh met a hermit on the hill here who asked Rana to build a palace on this spot which had a stream, a hill and an agreeable climate for a desert land. Taking his words to heart Rana build this panoramic city which later became his capital.
City Palace : Located facing the Lake Pichhola, City palace was built by Rana Udai Singh in 1559 AD. Construction continued for the next 300 years. It is a captivating structure and a fine blend of Indian and Mughal architecture.The main structures inside the palace are Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal and Krishna Vilas. It is also home to a priceless collection of artefacts, paintings and decorative furniture. The Chini Chitrashala has lovely Dutch and Chinese ornamental tiles. Manak Mahal has a display of crystal and porcelain figures. Mor Chowk has a unique glass mosaic of a peacock showing three seasons.
Lakes: A number of lakes surround Udaipur adding to the natural charm of the city.
Lake Pichola: This is an artificial fresh water lake built in 1362 AD. It was named after the nearby Picholi village. It was built by a Banjara tribal during the reign of Maharana Lakha. Later when Udai Singh made Udaipur the state capital, he constructed a dam near Bandipol to increase the size of this lake. This lake was built to provide water to the surrounding area which faced water scarcity. The lake has small islands which have been well developed. Jag Nivas on Jag Mandir island, Arsi Vilas island with a bird sanctuary, and Mohan Mandir to name a few.
Udai Sagar lake: Located 13kms from Udaipur, this lake was built by Rana Udai Singh in 1565 AD.
Fateh Sagar Lake: This lake is an artificial water body which was constructed in 1678 AD. It has three islands:The first one, Nehru Park, which is a garden with a zoo today, The second one has a public garden garden with jet fountains and the third one is home to the Udaipur solar observatory.
Crystal Gallery :At the Fateh Prakash displays Maharaja Sajjan Singh’s unused collection of crystal chairs, sofas, tables and even beds made in England.
Sahelioyn Ke Bari was constructed for the princesses and their female attendants; the Saheliyon ki Baari has lotus pools, elephant shaped fountains and pavilions made of marble. The water reaches the fountains through ducts from the lake.
Eklingji Temple : Built in 734 AD by Bappa Rawal has a pyramid like roof and carved exterior. A pillared Mandapa and … double storey structure add grandeur to this temple. A 50 feet four faced Shiva idol made of black marble is the presiding deity here.
Jagdish Temple :built in 1651 AD by Maharana Jagat Singh. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is located inside the City Palace complex. A magnificent 79 feet high spire of the temple adds to the beauty of the temple. Lord Vishnu is depicted with four arms and is carved out of a single slab of black stone.
Sajangarh for sunset view : formerly known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, it is located on a hilltop. It is a palatial residence in the city, overlooking the lake Fateh Sagar, It offers a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built primarily to enjoy the monsoon clouds; hence popularly known as Monsoon Palace. The palace provides a beautiful view of the sunset over the Udaipur city.
Nearby Destinations / Attractions :
Nearest Airport : Udaipur Airport (20 km / 30 mins)
Best time to visit and Climate :
Best time to visit Udaipur is during the winter, spring & monsoonmonths when the weather is glorious and the lakes are full. May and june months are extremely hot and the lakes dry up.
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