UDAIPUR CITY TRAVEL Guide
Udaipur, situated in the state of
Rajasthan, means the 'City of Sunrise' has manifold
attractions like imposing marble palaces, enchanting
cool lakes, luxurious green gardens, and old temples. It
has so many lakes and palaces that it is often called as
the 'City of Lakes and Palaces'.
The city overlooks the calm, blue waters of lake Pichola.
It was earlier surrounded by a wall which had 4 main
gates, although the gates and much of the wall remain, a
great deal of it has disappeared. Udaipur is called as
the Oasis of the desert because of its lakes. The city
acquires its scenic beauty from the Aravalis. Three
lakes- Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar makes it an
Oasis in the desert.
Udaipur has had a history of successful and star-crossed
relationships due to which the city is called as the
most romantic city in the country. .The palaces are an
architectural delight and are massive, also they are in
excellent condition. The detail work in every pillar in
the palaces leaves one spellbound and wondering. It is a
city rich in famous creations of Mughal and superbly
crafted elegance of Rajputs.
Udaipur is also famous for its folk toys, brightly
coloured garments, hand printed textiles, batiks, and
tie & dye sarees and fabrics, Pichwais or wall hangings
painted on cloth, etc. The town is also popular for its
local crafts, particularly miniature paintings in the
Rajput - Mughal style.
Best Season to Visit Udaipur
The lakes surrounding Udaipur regulates the climate
which is pleasant than any other city in Rajasthan.
The summers are hot and winters are cold but the
temperature does not rise to extremes. The rainfall is
less, around 61 cm annually.
PLACES TO SEE NEAR UDAIPUR:
Jag Nivas Palace
It is a palace on an island in the Pichola lake. Its
construction was started by Maharana Karan Singh, it
gets it name from Maharana Jagat Singh who made several
additions to the palace structure in 1757. Formerly the
royal summer palace, today it is the ultimate in luxury
hotels, with shady courtyards, fountains, lotus ponds
and even a small mango-tree-shaded swimming pool. Hotel
launches cross to the island from the city palace jetty.
The principal building has three storeys and a round
tower of yellow sandstones.
Towards the southern end of the lake is Jag Mandir.
Emperor Shah Jahan sought refuge here while planning a
revolt against his father. It is said that Shah Jahan
got ideas for the Taj Mahal after he stayed here.
The Jagdish temple which is in the centre of the old
town and to the north of city palace, was built by
Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651. This temple is dedicated
to God Vishnu and has a shrine with a black stone image
of lord Vishnu as Jagannath (Lord of the universe).
There is a also brass image of the Garuda in a shrine in
front of the temple. This temple has a height of 80ft
and is built in Indo-Aryan style.
which is situated on the top of Moti Magri which
overlooks Fateh Sagar Lake, is the memorial of Maharana
Pratap. A statue of Maharana Pratap was built to pay
homage to this great Rajput hero. The path to Pratap
Memorial goes through elegant gardens which also
includes a Japanese rock garden.
North of lake pichola, this lake is overlooked by a
number of hills and parks. It was originally built in
1678 by Maharana Jai Singh but, after heavy rains was
destroyed the dam, it was reconstructed by Maharana
Fateh Singh. A pleasant lakeside drive winds along the
east bank of the lake. In the middle of the lake is
Nehru Park, a popular garden island with a boat shaped
café. Below this lake is Saheliyon ki Bari
Saheliyon ki Bari
Saheliyon ki Bari, or Garden of the Maids of Honour, is
in the north of the city. This small ornamental garden
has fountains, kiosks, marble elephants and delightful
Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum
This museums goal is preservation and promotion of local
folk arts which includes dresses, dolls, masks, musical
instruments, paintings and puppets, which are all kept
here as exhibits.
Another good museum to see is the one which is in Sajjan
Nivas Garden, the turban of Prince Khurram, inscriptions
of the first and second centuries B.C, sculptures and
images from Khumbhalgarh and a number of inscribed Jain
images are exhibited here. Attached to the museum is
Saraswati Sadan which contains valuable books.
A Crafts village 3 km away west of fateh sagar, was
inaugurated by Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. It is an
interesting place with traditional houses from four
states -Rasajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, and Maharashtra - and
there are daily demonstrations by musicians, dancers and
artisans from the various states. The site covers 80
The City Palace
The Maharana's palace built by successive rulers runs
parellel to Lake Pichola. It is the largest palace
complex in Rajasthan.
The palace is a collection of buildings constructed by
different Maharaja's during their reign, but inspite of
that the whole complex has retained uniformity in
The palace has octagonal towers surrounded by cupolas
and inside the apartment there are mosaics of peacocks
inlaid with tiles and mirror work and exquisite
paintings. This part of the palace has been converted
into a museum. The place where one sees these peacock
mosaics is called the 'Mor Chowk'.
Of the various Mahals, The Chini Mahal is covered with
blue and white Chinese and Dutch ornamented tiles, while
the Manak Mahal is full of glass and porcelain figures.
The manak or Ruby Mahal has glass and porcelain figures
while Krishna Vilas has a remarkable collection of
miniatures. The Bari Mahal houses a fine central garden.
In The Zanana Mahal,one can see nice paintings.
The Moti Mahal has beautiful mirrorwork.
EXCURSIONS FROM UDAIPUR
Eklingji is a little village 22 kms northeast of Udaipur.
It has a complex of 108 Shiva temples collectively known
as Shri Eklingji Temple. The Shiva Temple in the village
itself was originally built in 734 AD, although its
present form dates from the rule of Maharana Raimal
between 1473 and 1509. The walled complex includes an
elaborately pillared hall under a large pyramidal roof
and has a four faced Shiva image of black marble The
Eklingji is the family temple of the Maharanas of
Udaipur and is also where the famous Saint Meera Bai
(who was married to Bhoj Raj, eldest son of Maharana
Pratap) started gaining fame, composing and singing her
hymns and ballads almost all devoted to Lord Krishna.
Nagada which is just a km away from Eklingi is worth a
brief stop. There are two temples here worth seeing. The
Jain temple of Adbuji whose architecture is interesting
though the temple lies in ruins and The Sas-Bahu temples
which means the mother in law and daughter in law
temples. It is a small complex with fine architecture
and carvings including some erotic figures. These
temples date back to the 10th century. This entire
region has had a very strong presence of the Jains, most
of who were money lenders and controlled the economies
in the region for ages (and continue to do so).
The fort at Kumbhalgarh was constructed by Rana Kumbha,
one of the most ferocious and daring Rajput rulers of
Mewar, in the year 1458. The fort was named after him
and was the most important fort of the Chittor kingdom
at Mewar. Due to its inaccessibility on top of the
Aravalli range at 1100 meters, it was taken only once in
its history. Even then, it took the combined armies of
the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, and those of Amber and Marwar
to breach its defenses. It was here that the rulers of
Mewar retreated in times of danger. The walls of the
fort stretch some 36 km and enclose many temples,
palaces , gardens and water storage facilities. There’s
also a big sanctuary here, known for its wolves. There
is a lot of wildlife including antelope, panther, bear
Nathdwara is a small town 48 kms to the north of Udaipur.
The important 18th century Vishnu Temple of Sri Nathji
stands here, and it’s an important shrine for
Vaishnavite devotees. Its a popular pilgrimage site but
non Hindus are not allowed inside. According to legend
when an attempt was made to move the image, the getaways
vehicle, a wagon sank into the ground up to the axles,
indicating that the image preferred to stay where it
The lake which lies 48 kms to the south-east of Udaipur,
is the second largest artificial lake in Asia. It was
built in the late 17th century by Maharana Jai Singh.
The lake is close to 60km in circumference. Along the
shore there are marble chatris each with an elephant in
front. The summer palaces of the Udaipur queens are also
here and a wildlife sanctuary is nearby. In the
pre-British era (for that matter, practically continuing
till the mid 20th century), the Rajputs used to hunt
here, and managed to account for practically every wild
animal of significance that ever existed here. This
royal hunting preserve nearby has now been converted
into a wildlife sanctuary.
Along the western slopes of the Aravalli hills is the
celebrated Jain temple of Ranakpur. It is at a distance
of 96 kms from Udaipur. The 15th century Charmuka (four
faced) temple is dedicated to Adinath, the Jain
Tirthankar (saint). It is the main temple in the
complex. This temple built in 1439, has 29 halls,
supported by 1444 pillars , which are all beautifully
crafted and no two of the 1444 pillars are alike. A
kilometer away from the complex is the Amba Mata temple,
dedicated to the mother goddess and the Sun Temple. Jain
temples are open to anyone who wishes to enter, unlike
several Hindu temples which restrict entry only to
members of their fold.
This site, 40 km north of Udaipur, is where Maharana
Pratap, valiantly defied the superior Mughal forces of
Akbar in 1576.
Even the horse of Rana Pratap was very famous for its
true Rajput valour (!) and Chetak must be the only
animal to have documented history in India dedicated to
it. The horse is said to have taken its master, the
Maharana out of the war zone, even though it was in a
severally wounded state, breathing its last only after
it had reached the king to safety. There is a monument
(a Chhatri) dedicated to the horse, Chetak here.
The attractive town of Ghanerao can make a good base for
explorations of the various attractions around Udaipur.
The Ghanerao Royal Castle's helpful owners can arrange a
trek from Ghanerao to Kumbhalgarh with an overnight stay
at their hunting lodge, Bagha ka Bagh, En route.