Udaipur is the jewel of Mewar kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years. 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 meditations on a hill overlooking the Lake Pichhola. The hermit blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favorable located spot with a fertile valley watered by the stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude and an amphitheater of low mountains. Maharana followed the advise of the hermit and founded the city in 1559 A.D.
How to Reach :
By Air : Udaipur is well connected to all the major cities which includes Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Jodhpur, Jaipur.
By Train : Udaipur is connected to many major cities of India. There are daily trains from Delhi, Jaipur.The best train between Delhi and Udaipur, the daily Chetak Express. Trains take around 12 Hrs from Jaipur to Udaipur.
By Road : Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe & air conditioned buses from Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad to Udaipur. The roads are very good, and it takes around 8-9 hr. from Jaipur. You can also come by taxi from Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
Places to See :
City Palace complex is actually a conglomeration of buildings added by various Maharanis, the palace manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design. Building was started by Maharana Udai Singh II . The palace is surmounted by balconies, towers & cupolas and there are wonderful views over the lake and the city from the upper terrace.
Main entrance is from northern end through the Baripol of 1600 and the Tripolia Gate of 1725 , with its eight carved marble arches. It was once custom for Maharanis to be weighed under the gate and their weight in gold or silver distributed to the populace.
In Badi Chowk , the large rectangular courtyard outside the museum, there are some shops selling pricey handicrafts and a money exchange facility.
The main part of the palace is now preserved as the City Palace Museum, housing a large and varied collection of artefacts. Downstairs from the entrance is an armoury section, sporting a collection of old weapons including a lethal two-prolonged sword.
The Ganesh Deori is the entrance to the museum and leads up to the Rajya Angan, or Royal courtyard , the very spot where Udai Singh met the sage who told him to found this city here. The rooms of the museum are extravagantly decorated with mirrors , tiles and paintings. In the Manak Mahal (Ruby Palace) there is the exquisite glass and mirror work, while Krishna Vilas has a remarkable collection of the miniatures.Teh Moti Mahal has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal is covered in ornamental tiles. The Surya Chopar has a huge ,ornamental sun-the symbol of mewar dynasty, the origins of which are traced to the sun. The Mor Chowk (Peacock Square) has beautiful mosaics of the peacocks, the favourite Rajasthani bird. In the Bari Mahal there is a fine central garden with good views over the old city. More beautiful paintings can be seen in the Zenana Mahal , which opens onto Laxmi Chowk;there’s a beautiful white pavilion in the center of this square. Note the large tiger catching cage near Zenana Mahal entrance ; a helpless goat of buffalo would be tied up inside the cage to lure the tiger in-gruesome.
Photography is not permitted in Krishna Vilas.
Saheliyon ki Bari
Saheliyon ki badi, situated in the north of the city, is well maintained, with fountains and kiosks, a delightful lotus pool and marble elephants. There is also a small museum here; of which the main attraction are some stuffed cobras.
Kumbhalgarh, situated 65 km north of Udaipur hold a heroic past having sheltered the heir of Mewar throne in times of Danger. It was here that the baby prince of Mewar was hidden from an assassin. It is an isolated and fascinating place, built by Maharana Khumbha in the 15th century. Because of its inaccessibility – at1100m on top of the Aravalli Range – it was taken only once in history. Even then, it took the combined armies of the Mughal emperor Akbar, and of Amber and Marwar to breach its defenses. The thick walls of this mighty fort stretch some 36km and are wide enough for eight horses to ride abreast. They enclose many temples, palaces, gardens and water storage facilities. The fort was renovated in the 19th century by Maharana Fateh Singh. It is worth taking a leisurely walk in the large compound, which has some interesting ruins and is very peaceful.
There is also the Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary here, known for its wolves. The scarcity of water-holes between March and June makes this the best time to see animals, including chowsinghas (four-horned antelopes), leopards, panthers, sloth bears and various bird species.
Located only 150 m north of the entrance to the City Palace, this fine Indo-Aryan Temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651 and enshrines a black stone image of Vishnu as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. There is a brass image of the Garuda in a shrine in front of the temple and steps up to the temple are flanked by elephants.
Beautiful Lake Pichola was enlarged by Maharaja Udai Singh II after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam, known as the Badipol, and the lake is now 4km long and 3 km wide. Nevertheless, it remains fairly shallow and can actually dry up – in severe droughts it’s possible to walk to Jagniwas and Jagmandir island. A handful of crocodiles are believed to inhabit the more remote parts of the lake, near the inhabited sections of the shore. The City Palace extends for a long stretch along the east bank.
Surrounded by a number of hills, Fateh Sagar was originally built in 1678 by Maharana Jai singh, but it was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh after heavy rains destroyed the dam. It is an artificial lake. A canal links the two, via Swaroop Sagar and Rang Sagar Lakes. A pleasant drive winds along the east bank and in the middle of the lake is Nehru Park, a popular garden island with a boat shaped cafe. In dry years, you can walk there otherwise you can catch a boat, from the bottom of Moti Magri, to reach there.
Atop Moti Magri (Pearl Hill), overlooking Fateh Sagar, is a statue of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap, who frequently defied Mughals, riding bravely on his beloved horse Chetak. The path to the top traverses some pleasant gardens including a Japanese rock garden.