Udaipur is a city as romantic as a dream, with marble palaces gently afloat in a lake surrounded by low lying hills and other impressive palaces dominating the skyline with their many turrets and cupolas, imposing doorways and delicately chiselled windows.
The lake here was artificially created in the 14th century, two hundred years before the city was founded by the Maharanas of Chittorgarh as the capital of the indomitable Mewar. A bastion wall encircles it. There were five gates armed withiron spikes and the largest palace in Rajasthan, the City Palace, stands on the ridge, overlooking the steel blue waters of the Lake Pichola.
If the City Palace is imperial with its multicoloured mosaics, mirror work inlaid tiles and roof gardens on the lake are no less than sumptuous. Courts, fountains, apartments and gardens embellish them and decorated with arabesques of coloured stones, they are startling pleasure palaces, a rich experience that can now be captured as they have been converted into modern resorts.
Major Attractions of Udaipur
City Palace : City Palace, the majestic white royal building towers itself on a hill and is surrounded by crenellated walls. The palace was completed in its present form by the contribution of many rulers. Originally started by Udai Singh, the later additions were so carefully planned and integrated with the original building that it becomes difficult to believe that the building was not conceived as a whole. The city palace stands along the shores of Lake Pichola.
Jaisamand Lake: 48 kms from the city, this artificial lake was built in 17th century by Maharana Jai Singh. The marble 'Chhatris' along the embankment add grace to this second largest lake in Asia. On either sides of the lake were built the palaces for the favourite queens of the King. People of the Bhil tribe still inhabit the islands in Jaisamand lake.
Lake Palace : The Lake Palace hotel amazes and delights you at every turn. Every inch of it is made of pure white marble, slender carved columns, fountains, filigreed screens and swimming pool, created for the private frolics of a princess. It is the early morning musical cacophony of birds and white masses of bougainvillea drooping over a rippling lily-pond that attracts the tourist.
Saheliyon Ki Bari : The "garden of the maids of honour", Sahelion-ki-Bari was designed and laid out early in the eighteenth century as a retreat for ladies of the royal household to spend their time in comfort. The lotus pool, fountains, lawns, flowerbeds and marble pavilions all combine to make it a captivating place.
Sajjangarh : Commanding the skyline of Udaipur, on the distant mountain range, is the "Monsoon Palace" of Sajjangarh which is visible from the city. Deserted by the royal family soon after its construction in 1880 due to the impossibility of pumping water to the palace, it offers an unrivalled view of the city's lakes, palaces and the surrounding countryside.
Places to Stay in Udaipur
Udaipur has accommodation options available for all categories of tourists. The best options, if one does have enough money to spend, are the heritage hotels, which are grand, royal, and bring alive the bygone eras.
Climate in Udaipur
The lakes surrounding Udaipur regulates the climate, which is pleasant than in 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 cms annually.
Shopping in Udaipur
Shopping can be a pleasure at the Hathipole, Chetak Circle, Clock Tower, Palace Road and Bapu Bazaar. Rajasthan Government also has its own Handicraft emporium. The shops of Udaipur have plenty of exquisite items to offer. The dainty folk toys, brightly coloured garments, hand printed textiles, batiks, and tie & dye sarees and fabrics to name few. 'Pichwais' or wall hangings painted on cloth are world renowned for their vivid colours and themes. The craftsmanship is at its peak in the metal images and chunky silver jewellery.
How to Get there
Air : The City of Lakes is well connected by air services. The Dabok Airport is 21 kms from the city centre.
Rail : Railway has trains from all over the country to destination Udaipur. The Palace On Wheels covers this magnificent city during its eight day package tour.
Road : There are bus services from tourist places in Rajasthan , Gujarat and Delhi.