City of Lakes
The beauty of this small city of Rajasthan cannot quite be described in words, and one must see it with their own eyes to experience what Udaipur has to offer. Separated from the sandy stretches of Thar by the gigantic Aravalli Ranges, Udaipur sometimes enjoys a strategic advantage geographically, politically and in terms of tourism because of its proximity to other states like Gujarat and Maharashtra.
British administrator and writer James Tod once dubbed Udaipur as the “most romantic spot in the continent of India”, and he was not at all exaggerating the statement. Often referred to as the Venice of the East because of its cultural significance and stunning scenic beauty, Udaipur was established in 1559 by MaharanaUdai Singh II of the Sisodia clan of Rajput.
The birth of this city is owed to the fact that the original capital of his Kingdom of Mewar, the city of Chittor was besieged by Mughal Emperor Akbar. An exiled Udai Singh established this city with five serene lakes – Pichola, FatehSagar, DoodhSagar, SwaroopSagar and Rang Sagar – adding to its tranquillity. The white marbles used extravagantly in the architecture of Udaipur has also brought it the name White City, keeping in trend with the colour-coded names of the cities of Rajasthan.
The crown jewel of Udaipur is the magnificent City Palace that strands in the middle of Lake Pichola. From the different balconies and terraces that crop out from the edifice, one can get spectacular views of the lake and the rest of the city. On the same lake lies the Lake Palace, which is now a luxurious hotel but once served as the summer retreat of the royals with stunning views of sunrise, as it faces the east
. The royalty had a Monsoon Palace as well, built on top of Bansdara Hills. It was supposed to become an astronomical centre under the patronage of MaharanaSajjan Singh but was stripped of the opportunity because of his premature death. But it does offer jaw-dropping views of Udaipur skyline.
Among other popular attractions of the city, there is SaheliyonkiBari, or the Garden of the Maidens, boat trips in FatehSagar Lake with Nehru Island and Udaipur Solar Observatory stranded on its surface, and the sprawling rural art and craft complex called Shilpgram.