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.

Jagdish Temple
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.

Pratap Smarak
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.

Fateh Sagar
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 lotus pool.

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.

Shilpgram
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 hectares.

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 design.

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
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
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).

Kumbhalgarh Fort
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 and leopard.

Nathdwara
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 was!

Jaisamand Lake
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.

Ranakpur
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.

Haldighati
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.

Ghanerao
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.


 
 
 
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