UDAIPUR : THE VENICE OF EAST
The city of Dawn, Udaipur is lovely land around the Azure water lakes, hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravalis. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udiapur is a fascinating blend of sights, sounds and experiences - an inspiration for the imanigation of poets, painters and writers.
Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing velour and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the Lake pichhola is an enticing sight.
Udaipur is the jewel of Mewar - a 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 meditating on a hill overlooking the Lake Pichhola.
The hermit blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favourable located spot with a fertile valley watered by the stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude and an amphitheatre of low mountains. Maharana followed the advise of the hermit and founded the city in 1559 A.D.
Over looking 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 Suraj Pol or Sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance of the city.
Exquisite lake palaces of
Udaipur, shimmering like jewels on Lake Pichhola are overwhelming in splendour.
Several places of interest around
Udaipur, including the majestic Chittaurgarh, the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh, beautiful Jain temples of Ranakpur, Eklingji and Nathdwara and the cool retreat of Mount Abu, make the visit to Udaipur a memorable one.
City Palace :
A majestic architectural marvel lowering over the lake on a hill surrounded by crenellated walls, it is a conglomerated of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. The main entrance is through the triple arched gate, the `Tripolia' with eight marble porticos. The maharanas were weighed under the gate in gold, the equivalent amount of which was distributed among the populace.
The Suraj Gokhada, the balcony of the sun, is where the Suryavanshi Maharanas of Mewar presented themselves to the people in time of trouble to restore their confidence. The `Mor Chowk' known for its exquisite peacock mosaics in glass and the `Chini Chitrashala' noted for its blue and white ceramics are other attractions in the palace.
Jagdish Temple :
Built in 1651 A.D. by Maharana Jagat Singh, this Indo-Aryan temple is the largest and the most beautiful temple of Udaipur with noteworth sculpted images.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum :
The interesting collection exhibited by this Indian fol, arts museum includes folk dresses, ornaments, folk deities and paintings.
Sahelion-ki-Bari (Garden of the maids of honours) :
This small ornamental garden was a popular relaxing spot where royal ladies came for a stroll and hence the name. The garden has many fountains in its four delightful pools, chiseled kiosks and marble elephants.
Pratap memorial :
Atop the Moti Magri or pearl hill, overlooking the
is the memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap with a bronze statue of the Maharana.
Fateh Sagar :
A beautiful lake, overlooked by a number of hills on the three sides and the Pratap Memorial on the north was built by Maharana Fateh Singh. In the middle of the lake is
Nehru Park- a lovely garden island with a boat shaped café accessible by an enjoyable boat ride.
Pichhola Lake :
The picturesque lake that entranced Maharaja Udai Singh. It was later enlarged by the founder. The lake is surrounded by hills, palaces, temples bathing ghats and embankments. Two island palaces, Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) on the lake are of breathtaking magnificence.
The ancient capital of Sisodias, 3 kms. from
Udaipur, Ahar boasts of a profusion of royal cenotaphs of the rulers of Mewar. A rare collection of antiquities including earthen pots, iron objects and other art items excavated in the region are displayed in a small Government museum.
Sajjan Garh :
Dominating the city's skyline is the monsoon
. It offers a panoramic overview of the city's lakes, palaces and the surrounding countryside.
Gulab Bagh :
A spectacular rose Garden laid out by Maharana Sajjan Singh. A library in the garden has a rare collection of ancient handwritten manuscripts and books.
Eklingji (22 kms.) :
Built in 734 A.D. is the beautifully sculpted temple complex with 108 temples within its high walls. The temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of Mewar rulers. The walled complex encloses an elaborately pillared hall o `mandap' under a large pyramidal roof and has four-faced image of Lord Shiva in black marble.
Nagda (23 kms.) :
The ancient site dating back to the 6
century A.D. is renowned for the Sas-Bahu temples (9
century A.D.) with interesting architecture and carvings. The splendid Jain temples of Adbudji are also worth a visit.
Haldighati (40 kms.) :
A historical site, witness to the great battle fought between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1576 A.D.. The `chhatri' of Maharana's horse-Chetak is noteworthy.