UDAIPUR
 

Venice of The East

  • Udaipur
  • History Of Udaipur
  • Tourist Attraction of Udaipur
  • Excursion Nearby
  • Getting To Udaipur

About Udaipur
Udaipur is often called ‘Venice of the East'. It is also the ‘City of Lakes'. The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas) located in the middle of Pichola Lake is the finest example of architectural and cultural marvel. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above enhances the beauty of this magnificent city. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, crafts and its famed miniature paintings. The Shilpgram festival is a great crowd-puller on new year. Surrounded by the Aravllies and interpressed by translucent lakes, Udaipur provides panoramic views which are just breathe taking. In contrast to its desert neighborhood it stands out with an mesmerizing image of White Marble Palaces, Placid Blue Lakes, Fantasy Palaces shimmering in mirror calm lakes, Havelis, Temples and romantic collection of exotic gardens surrounded by hills and mountains.

Climate
Udaipur's autumn / winter climate is the most appealing time to pay her a visit. Tourists arrive in numbers, anytime between mid-September to late March or early April. Even in January, the coldest month, the days are bright, sunny and warm with maximum temperature around 28.3 °C (82.9 °F). Mornings, evenings and nights are cold with minimum temperature around 11.6 °C (52.9 °F) especially if there is a slight breeze in the air.
 

History
Maharana Udai Singh founded Udaipur in 1559 AD.According to alegend Udai Singh was guided by a holy man meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake to establish his capital on that very spot. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes this place was less vulnerable to external invasion than Chittaurgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap who valiantly defended Udaipur from Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput iconwho gallantly fought the Mughals at the battle of Haldi ghati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth century when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon independence, Udaipur merged with the union of India.

As the Mughal empire weakened, the Sisodia ranas, and later maharanas (also called the Guhilots or Suryavansh), who had always tried to oppose Mughal dominance, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar except for Chittor. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818. Being a mountainous region and unsuitable for heavily armoured Mughal horses, Udaipur remained safe from Mughal influence in spite of much pressure. The rajvansh of Udaipur was one of the oldest dynasty of the world. Even the Nepal kingdom and Jammu kingdom are believed to have been originated from Mewar.

Lakes in Udaipur

Lake Pichola
Pichola Lake derives its name from Pichola Village was submerged and Maharana Udai Singh enlarged the lake after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam known as Badipol and lake is now 4 km long and 3 km wide. This picturesque lake encloses the Jag Niwas Island and the Jag Mandir. And, the City Palace extends along its eastern banks.

Fateh Sagar Lake
This delightful lake, bordered by hills and woodland was constructed by Maharana jai Singh to the north of Lake Pichola. It is an artificial lake dug up in 1678, reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh A canal links the two, via Swaroop Sagar and Rang Sagar Lakes. The beautiful Nehru Island as well as an islet bearing a solar observatory rises from the lake.

Lake Fateh Sagar is a medium-sized perennial storage reservoir constructed in the year 1678 A. D. by the rulers of former Mewar State. Although primarily constructed for irrigational purpose, this water body has lately formed a second major source of drinking water for the city of Udaipur. The main feeder canal of the lake comes from Madar tank situated at a higher altitude about 15 km from Udaipur City. Lake Fateh Sagar is also connected to the adjoining Lake Pichhola through a canal having gates. This (former) lake has somewhat pear-like shape and is surrounded by hills except on its eastern side where a straight masonry dam of about 800 m length is located. The lake lies on the northwest of main Udaipur city.

The runoff emerging from surrounding hillocks drains into this lake. Along the eastern shore line runs a beautiful serpentine road which has a stone wall on the lake periphery. This lake has got three prominent islands. The largest is developed into a public park. The second island is situated on the northern side and has an installation of solar observatory. The smallest island on the western side near shore supports a jet fountain. The western bank of lake is occupied by marginal agricultural field. The vegetation cover around the lake is scanty. However, several species of plants are found along the undulating roads and hillocks around this lake.

Leaching of nutrients from the catchment area and agricultural activities in the marginal areas of the lake has influenced the nutrient level of this water body. Similarly, incoming silt has also reduced the water holding capacity of this lake.
Lakes are focal point for social and economic activities of Udaipur people. Every year thousands of tourists from India and abroad come to this 'City of Lakes'. Yet this water body is facing acute shortage of water sometimes due to scanty rains. For checking loss of water through evaporation, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has been using cetyl alcohol (hexadecanol) during drought period. In the year 1972 the lake exhibited heavy bloom of blue green algae Microcystis. In 1978, local citizen groups and environmental conservation organizations undertook desilting operation through human labour wherein about 10 thousand truck loads of silt were removed from the shallow basin of this lake

Jaisamand Lake (51kms)
Maharana Jai Sigh had built this picturesque artificial lake. It the second largest lake in Asia. The lake has elegant step leading to the water and marble Chhatri (cenotaphs) on its bank and a small Shiv temple marks the grace of the lake. On either side are the palaces built for the king favourite queens. The local tribe for Bhils still inhabit the island.

Rajsamand Lake
On the way to Kumbhalgarh lies their royal lake with a magnificent dam created in the 17th century offers a spectacular views of the sunset adorned by beautiful Torans [arches] and Chhatris And number of attractive pavilions. Stunning sculpture and Sanskrit verses are vividly inscribed in store a small counterpart of Nathdwara.

Forts & Palaces in Udaipur

City Palace
City Palace towers over the Pichola Lake. Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex retained a surprising uniformity to the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant gate.

The Bari Pol or the Big gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate. It was once a custom that the Maharana would weigh under this gate in gold and silver, which was distributed to the populace. It is also now the main ticket office. Balconies, cupolas and towers surmount the palace to give a wonderful view of the lake.

Suraj Gokhada or the balcony of the sun is where the Maharana would grant public audiences mainly to boost the morale of the people in difficult times. The Mor Chawk is the peacock square and gains its name from the vivid blue mosaic in glass of a peacock that decorates its walls.

The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword. The City Palace museum is then entered through the Ganesh Deori meaning the door of Lord Ganesh.

This leads to the Rajya Angan, the royal courtyard that is the very spot where Maharana Udai Singh met the sage who told him to find a city here. The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings. Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas display a rich collection of miniature paintings.

Moti Mahal or the pearl palace has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over. The Surya Chopar or the sun square depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Mewar dynasty belongs. The Bari Mahal is a central garden with view of the city. Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the Zenana Mahal or the ladies chamber, which leads to Lakshmi Chowk a beautiful white pavilion.

FatehPrakash Palace
It's like being cocooned in authentic royal luxury at the Fateh Prakash Palace, the grand heritage palace of the HRH group. The warmth of royal hospitality greets you as you walk along the corridors lined with large paintings of the Mewar school that flourished in the seventeenth through nineteenth century. Advertise Here The lake facing suites in the turrets are suitably appointed with four poster beds and period furniture, festooned with maroon velvet curtains and delicate silk tassels. It's a legacy kept alive since the early decades of the twentieth century when Maharana Fateh Singh (period of reign : 1884 - 1935) used to be the royal occupant of this palace. Till date the formality of royal occasions are maintained.

The Lake Palace
The Lake Palace is located on the Jag Niwas Island and covers the whole of 1.5 hectare of the island in the middle of the Pichola Lake. Built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743 it was meant as a royal summer palace and now converted in to a five star palace hotel. Advertise Here It is a magical palace and its image in the middle of the lake is like a leaf straight out of a fairy tale book with an excellent taste of intricate craftsmanship and the ethnic themes using the textiles and handicrafts all over highlight the beauty that is simply beyond compare the lake around makes a pleasant murmur with its rippling waves and lapping that adds to the mesmerising moments.

The Lake Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, arising out of the Turquoise Waters of the Pichola like an elegant fantasy in white marble. The Lake palace was built in the 17th century on a natural foundation of 4 acers of rock. It was initially called Jaginwas after its founder Maharana Jagjit Singh.

The Maharana, ruler of Jaipur from 1628 to 1654, was very friendly with Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and encouraged his craftsmen to copy some of the glories of his incomparable buildings at Agra. The successive rulers used this cool haven as their summer resort, holding their regal durbars in its courtyards.

These courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens all add to its impressive image. The rooms are decorated with cusped arches, inland stones of pink, and green lotus leaves and painted mirrors.

apartments like the Bada Mahal, Kush Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal and Dhola Mahal. All enhance the romance of the elegant setting. Among the facilities available are swimming pool, conference hall and a bar. Other events of recreation organised here are excursions in and around and a bar other events of recreation organised here are excursions in and around Udaipur.

Monuments & Havelies in Udaipur

Bagore-Ki-Haveli
This is a very congenial old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has over hundred rooms and some very interesting display of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork.

After the death Badwa the building became the property of Mewar State. It came to be occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore who built the palace of the three arches also in 1878 and it acquired its name of Bagore-ki-haveli, the house of Bagore. After independence the structure lay in neglect until 1986 when it housed the West Zone Cultural centre.

The haveli now stages delightful evening's entertainment; the pleasurable performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli. It is an ideal place for an evening entertainment while enjoying the view of Lake Pichola

Maharana Pratap Memorial
This is a very congenial old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has over hundred rooms and some very interesting display of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork.

After the death Badwa the building became the property of Mewar State. It came to be occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore who built the palace of the three arches also in 1878 and it acquired its name of Bagore-ki-haveli, the house of Bagore. After independence the structure lay in neglect until 1986 when it housed the West Zone Cultural centre.

The haveli now stages delightful evening's entertainment; the pleasurable performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli. It is an ideal place for an evening entertainment while enjoying the view of Lake Pichola.

Museums in Udaipur

City Palace Museum
The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword.

The City Palace museum is then entered through the Ganesh Deori meaning the door of Lord Ganesh. This leads to the Rajya Angan, the royal courtyard that is the very spot where Maharana Udai Singh met the sage who told him to find a city here. The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings.

Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while Krishna Vilas display a rich collection of miniature paintings. Moti Mahal or the pearl palace has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over.

The Surya Chopar or the sun square depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Mewar dynasty belongs. The Bari Mahal is a central garden with view of the city. Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the Zenana Mahal or the ladies chamber, which leads to Lakshmi Chowk a beautiful white pavilion.

Shilpgram Museum
Literally meaning a "Craftsmen's Village" is a living ethnographic museum depicting the enormous diversities in craft, art & culture between various Indian states, but the exquisite terracotta work mainly in dark red and dark brown sand material along with the wooden carvings are the forte of this ethnic village . Shilpgram comprises 26 huts set in 70 acres of natural surroundings at the foot of the Aravali Hills. A colourful craft festival during winter seasons to the whole set up induces viatanity and zeal.

Situated 3 kms west of Udaipur near the Havala village is the Centre's Shilpgram - the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex. Spread over an undulating terrain of 130 bighas (70 Acres) of land and surrounded by the Aravallies, the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex is conceived as a living enthnographic museum to depict the lifestyles of the folk and tribal people of the West Zone. Within this complex, huts of the member states are constructed incorporating traditional architectural features of different geographical and ethnic groups residing within the West Zone of India comprising of five Federal States.

One of the important objectives of Shilpgram is in the sphere of increasing awareness and knowledge of rural life and crafts, specifically, for the younger generation. Special emphasis is laid on workshops for children on arts, crafts, theatre and music.

The Rural Arts and Crafts Complex - Shilpgram - would also provide an opportunity to rural and urban artists to come together and interact through the process of camps and workshops. It is hoped that through intimate observation of different styles and experiences, urban and rural artists would learn from one another and enrich their skills and art forms. The Centre promotes contemporary urban ceramists, potters, designers, visual artists etc. to work with their traditional counterparts in creating works of everyday art which would then be put up for exhibition and sale for visitors.

The Center developed two Museums in the Shilpgram where simple objects of day-to-day use, that represent the sense of wonder and aesthetics in rural and tribal life are put on display. In addition, a Crafts Bazar in the fashion of a traditional 'haat' was made where visitors could buy traditional crafts from the Zone. Craftsman were invited periodically to demonstrate their skills and sell the crafts to the visitors at the Shilpgram.

An attraction no less of the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex is the open air Amphitheatre with a seating capacity of approximately 8000. Besides the major theatre festivals which the Centre hold here, it is hoped that this facility would motivate the local community as well as outside visitors to take a keener interest in theatre and the traditional folk performing arts.

Shilpdarshan is a continuing activity at Shilpgram in which traditional performing artists and craftsmen are used to draw from the interior villages of the member states. They are regularly invited to exhibit their skill and to demonstrate their crafts, and sell their masterpieces in order to have direct access to the buyers. This programme has encouraged the rural craftsmen and performers in a big way. The Shilpgram has become an important landmark in India and Government of India has decided to replicate them in all the Federal States of India.

In these traditional huts, household articles of everyday use - whether terracotta or textile, wooden or metal, along with decorative objects and implements - agricultural or craftsmen's tools, etc. are featured with appropriate signages and explanatory details. The objective is to give a realistic glimpse of the people and their belongings representing Unity in Diversity and National Integration.

In order that the above is vested with its own internal dynamism, the huts are constructed around an interlocking occupational theme. Traditional village life was said to have been, to a considerable extent, self-contained and self-sufficient with a potter, a carpenter, a blacksmith, often a weaver, living alongside one another. The Centre's Rural Arts and Crafts Complex adopts this cellular approach such that each individual hut is at once an organic entity and at the same time nourishing and husbanding a series of such transactions.

In this integrated pattern are 5 huts from Rajasthan, representing weaver's community from Marwar. There are 2 huts named after the two sand bound villages of Rama and Sam from the desert region of western Rajasthan. From the hilly region of Mewar, is a potter's hut from the village Dhol, 70 kms west of Udaipur. Two huts represent the tribal farmer communities of the Bhil and the Sehariyas of the Southern regions of Rajasthan.

There are 7 representative huts from the state of Gujarat. A cluster of six huts from Banni area and one from Bhujodi have been selected from the arid wastelands of Kutch. the Banni cluster consists of two huts each of the Rebari, Harijan and Muslim communities famous for their weaving, embroidery, bead & mirrorwork, wood work and rogar work. Equally well known for its valiant horses, Lambdia village near Poshina in North Gujarat is represented with a potter's hut. Adjoining to the Lambdia potter's workshop at the Shilpgram is the weaver's hut from Vasedi village in Chota Udaipur area in western Gujarat. Two huts represent the Dang and Rathwa tribal farmer communities of southern Gujarat. In addition to these, there is an ornately carved wooden house from Pethapur near Gandhinagar.

Selected after an exhaustive survey of the Konkan coast of Maharashtra, the Koli hut is from a seashore hamlet in Raigarh district. Close to the Koli hut stands one from Kolhapur - representing leather chappal craftsmen from southern Maharashtra. From Thane district in north Maharashtra is aWarli hut replete with its wall paintings. The tribal farmer community of the Kunbis is also represented along with two huts of the Gond and Maria tribal communities from eastern Maharashtra famous for their 'dokra' work.

From the member state of Goa, there are 5 representative huts. A potter's hut from Bicholim stands in close proximity to a Hindu hut and Christian hut made of local laterite stone. From the lush green taluka of Canacona is a typical hut of the Kulumbi tribal agriculturalists renowned for their grass and cane weaving work. A hut chosen from the Mandovi riverside represent the traditional fisherman's way of life.

Thus each member state of the West Zone has huts derivative of certain basic occupations fundamental to the way of life of the people of the area. In addition, certain occupations feature a commonality so as to offer a basis for comparison. For example, three member states have a potter's hut since working with the earth is fundamental to all our cultures. What is interesting to highlight is how Indian people have fashioned and reshaped this basic element to suit their environment, needs and aesthetics. Similarly, two member states of the West Zone feature weaving, again as an affirmation of how geography and needs have given rise to such a variety in this most basic of occupations. Also while the above are illustrative and not exhaustive, the occupations and crafts to be shown will differ so as to cover a wider variety of our crafts heritage.

In order to ensure that a visit to Rural Arts and Crafts Complex - Shilpgram - becomes an educative and enriching experience, the hut from Sam (Marwar) is planned as the Activity and Documentation Section where workshops, seminars etc.can be organised. Similarly the cluster of Banni and Bhujodi huts from Gujarat would comprise of Guest Room facilities for the visiting master craftsmen, researchers and scholars. A Goan mainstream hut and Mewar potters hut can accommodate children and students.

Ahar Museum
Located about 2 kms east of Udaipur is an impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there.
The most striking cenotaph is that Maharana Amar Singh, who reigned from 1597 to 1620. Nearby is also Ahar Museum, where on display is limited but very rare earthen pottery. Some sculptures and other archaeological finds. Some pieces date back to 1700 BC and a tenth century metal figure of Buddha is a special attraction.

Vintage Collection of Classic Car Museum
The collection within the grounds of the Garden Hotel comprises a variety of classic and interestingly rare transportation vehicles; some stately and vintage like Cadalec, Chevalate, Morais etc., while the others are sleek and fast.

The Maharanas of Udaipur once possessed and used these regal splendours of automobiles as their luxuries but most of the other models are gradually being added to the collection ,since it provides a unique aristocratic safari for the exclusive guests.
Shopping

Udaipur has numerousshops and many interesting local crafts that make it a one-of-its-kinds shopping experience. A plethora of items like folk toys, colourful tie-dye sarees and clothes, turbans, hand painted fabrics, silver Jewellery, wall hangings and miniature paintings in Rajput Style are the favourite buys. The beautiful images of gods and goddesses made in the nearby Molalla village near Nathdwara are not to be missed. The shopping spots include a cluster of stalls on the Lake Palace road next to the Rang Niwas Palace Hotel and the Jagdish Temple.

Kumbhalgarh fort
Located 64 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Kumbhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Cradled in the Aravali Ranges the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Because of its inaccessibility and hostile topography the fort had remained un-conquered.

It also served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife. The fort also served as refuge to the baby king Udai of Mewar. It is also of sentimental significance as it is the birthplace of Mewar's legendary King Maharana Partap. The fort is self-contained and has within its amalgam almost everything to withstand a long siege.

The fort fell only once that too to the combined armies of Mughal and of Amber for scarcity of drinking water. Many magnificent palaces an array of temples built by the Mauryas of which the most picturesque place is the Badal Mahal or the palace of the clouds.

Haldighati
The extensive terra firma, towards the south west of Nathdwara, this historical site witnessed the great legendry battle fought between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal Emperor -Akbar in 1576 AD. See Your AD Here The vast terrain that was supposedly covered with blood (the sand turned Red in colour) evokes a chill in the spine till date and envelopes a feel of nostalgia, this was the place where the heroic Chetak the gallant charger with his dedicated loyalty towards his chivalrous master (the Maharana Pratap) proved his worth by co-operating till his last breath.

A 'Chhatri' with delicate white marble is dedicated both to the indomitable hero and his loyal charger, is note worthy. A jeep drive to this place is rather interesting.

Ranakpur
Beautiful sculptured Jain temples mark the glory of this renowned place. Marked as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15 the century. During the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha [four faced temple] is dedicated to Adinathji the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars all distinctly carved and no two being alike is a amazing evidence of the genius sense of architecture that enhances the charm of the place. Every temple has this conceivable surface carved with equal delicacy.

The ambience of Ranakpur is mainly highlighted by the location and the almost divine architecture, giving the same hue as its counter part - the great Dilwara Temple's. in Mt-Abu. Facing the main temple are the unique temples -Parasvanath - Neminath with exquisite figures carving similar to that Khujaraho sculptures. Another temple worth visiting is the nearby 'Sun Temple' dedicated to the 'Sun God' (Surya-the master of all the planets and the provider of light to the whole universe) adorned with polygonal wall, richly embellished with the carvings of warriors, horses and solar (Nakshatras, grahs') deities riding splendid 'chariots' the vehicle of the 'Sun God'- which accordingly to the Hindu Mythology is the God of prosperity and a shining destiny in this world. Many throng this shrine for these blessings. Overall Ranakpur is known as ' The tranquil pilgrimage town'. For the buffs a ride to the outskirts like ' Sadari' - 'Desuri'- 'Ghanerao'- 'Narhai', serves the purpose of their satisfaction.

Ghanerao
Is a small town famous for its castle now converted into a hotel. The castle's highlight in the pavilion in the central court, where the musicians would perform. Also near the castle are the cenotaphs of former rulers. Mahavir Temple, a Jain Temple is also one of the highlights of the town.

Getting To Udaipur

By Air
Debock Airport is 24 km from the city centre, Dairy Indian Airliness flights connect Udaipur with Jodhpur Jaipur aurangbad, Mumbai and Delhi.

By Rail
Udaipur is directly linked by rail with major cities some important train connection are : 9643 Express (Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Jaipur-Ajmer-Chittaurgarh-Udaipur.)

by Road
A wide network of bus service link Udaipur with several destinations. Some of the important distance are Agra 630km, Ahmedabad 262 km Jaipur 406 km .Jodhpur 275km and Mount Abu 185km.

Local Transport
Unmetered taxis, auto-rickshaws, tongas, city bus, regular city bus service is available for dabok airport, badi Lake, Bedala and shaeliyon ki Bari.

Tour
"Vraj" Opp. Panchal Hall Anand Vidyanagar Road Anand Gujarat - 388001 Ph: 02692 245455, E:info@chocolatyholidays.com
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