Udaipur is known as the city of lakes. The city hailed as the 'Venice of the East' set amidst the Aravalli hills of South Rajasthan, is one of the most romantic destinations in India. Udaipur has a profusion of marble palaces, lakes, temples, cenotaphs and rugged hills. It is also proud of its heritage as a centre for the performing arts, painting and crafts. Famous historical personalities like Maharana Pratap, Rani Padmini and Meera Bai, the poetess and devotee of Lord Krishna hail from here. The enchanting marble palaces and scenic beauty makes it a fantastic place for leisure.
History of Udaipur
The foundation of the city has an interesting legend associated with it. According to it, Maharana Udai Singh, the founder, was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditating on a hill overlooking the Lake Pichhola.
The hermit blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favorably located spot with a fertile valley watered by the stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude and an amphitheater of low mountains. Maharana followed the advice of the hermit and founded the city in 1559 A.D.
Overlooking the aquamarine expanses 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 Surajpole or Sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance to the city.
This city of Dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure water lakes, hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravalli drenched in romance and beauty. Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sounds and experiences - an inspiration for the imagination of the poets, painters and writers. Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry.
Geography of Udaipur
Udaipur rests in the shadows of the Aravalli Mountains, at a height of 577m. The old city is surrounded by the city wall, on the east side of Lake Pichola. The train station and bus station are both just outside the city wall. Udaipur is located at 24.58° N 73.68° E. It has an average elevation of 598 meters (1961 feet). Located at the foothills of the Aravalli Range, Udaipur lies in southern Rajasthan near the Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh borders.
Udaipur can enamor its tourists with its enchanting view of the lakes, sparkling view of the spotless white palaces, its interesting historic background, and unique rural handicrafts. But you can enjoy the real charm of this historical place only when you can relax or roam outside comfortably. Though Udaipur has some fascinating features which can appear captivating for any outsider, the weather of Udaipur is not quite favorable all over the year. Actually the lakes that encircle the city of Udaipur make the climate somewhat pleasant during summer. The summer is very hot and rainfall is scarce which is not favorable for a pleasant holiday in Udaipur. There are also dust winds blowing occasionally which will prevent you even to have a holiday party in your desired destination place. It can be said that Udaipur is having somewhat desert climate. So the best weather to enjoy your holiday in Udaipur is planning for your vacation during the winter.
Tourist attractions of Udaipur
Lake Palace: The most enchanting tourist attraction of Udaipur, the Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas) is a beautiful island palace built by Maharana Jagat Singh II in 1754. Situated on picturesque Lake Pichola, the white marble structure appears like emerging out of the shimmering blue waters on the lake, creating a spellbound effect on visitors.
One of the largest royal complexes in Rajasthan, the City Palace is situated on a promontory on the picturesque Lake Pichola. The complex has 11 beautiful Mahals (palaces) with balconies and towers, offering a breathtaking view of the lake and the city. Its Durbar Hall, which had been used as a venue for formal occasions like state banquets and meetings, has most luxurious interiors highlighted by some of the largest chandeliers in the world. The Palace also houses a Museum exhibiting a rich collection of artifacts.
Jag Mandir is another beautiful island palace on Lake Pichola, built by Maharaja Karan Singh in 1615 AD. The palace once sheltered the Mughal prince Khurram (later Emperor Shah Jehan, who built the world-famous Taj Mahal) who rebelled against his father Jehangir in the 1620's. The Palace has a giant stone sculpture of elephants and an impressive chattri (cenotaphs) that add to its beauty.
The Saheliyon-ki-Bari Garden was built in early 18th century AD as a retreat for ladies of the royal household to spend their time in leisure. The enchantingly beautiful Garden is famous for its lotus pool, fountains (in the shape of birds), lush green lawns, flowerbeds, and marble pavilions, offering a breathtaking view to visitors.
Jagdish Temple is the largest and the most beautiful temple in Udaipur, built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651 AD. Dedicated to lord Vishnu, the temple is famous for its beautiful sculpted images and a towering Shikara.
Located in the vicinity of the famous Saheliyon-ki-Bari Garden, Fateh Sagar is a beautiful lake, built by Maharana Fateh Singh in 1678. A canal built at the beginning of the 20th century connects it to the Lake Pichola. Nehru Park, a popular garden island with a boat-shaped café, is situated in the middle of the Lake.