Udaipur is known as the Venice of the east. It is also called the city of lakes. The Lake Palace on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Pichola Lakes is the finest example of its architectural and cultural explosion. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake compliments the palace along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, craft and its famed miniature paintings.The Shilp Gram festival is a center of attraction during the season.
Maharana Udai Singh II founded Udaipur in 1568 after his citadel Chittorgarh was sacked by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The legends says that Udai Singh was guided by a holy man meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake to establish his capital on this very spot. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes this place was less vulnerable than Chittorgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap who valiantly defended Udaipur from subsequent Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon and gallantly fought the Mughal at the Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon independence Udaipur merged in the union of India.
The beautiful Pichola Lake was enlarged by Maharana Udai Singh after he founded the city. It takes its name from Pichola Village which was submerged when Maharana Udai Singh enlarged the lake. He built a masonry dam known as the Badi Pol and the lake now stretches for four km in length by three km wide.
City Palace & Museum:
The huge City Palace towers over the lake, it's the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. The palace is actually a conglomeration of buildings added by various Maharanas but it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design. It was originally commenced by Maharana Udai Singh, the city's founder. The palace is surmounted by balconies, towers and cupolas and there are fine views over the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The palace is entered from the northern end through the Bari Pol of 1600 and the triple Tripolia Gate of 1725 with its eight carved marble arches. It was once a custom for Maharanas to be weighed under the gate and their weight in gold or silver to be distributed to the populace.
Lake Fateh Sagar:
Another delightful lake that gave Udaipur the name, City of Lakes.North of Lake Pichola, this lake was originally built in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh but heavy rains destroyed the dam and it was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh. There is a pleasant lake side drive that winds along the east bank of the lake and a number of hills and parks overlook it. Nehru Park is a popular garden island with a restaurant in the middle of the lake.
Atop the Moti Magri or 'Pearl Hill' overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake is a statue of Rajput hero Maharana Pratap who frequently defied the Moghuls astride his charger Chetak. The path to the top goes through elegant gardens including a Japanese rock garden.
Largest temple in the city. Only 150 metres north of the entrance to the City Palace this fine Indo-Aryan temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651 and enshrines a black stone image of Vishnu as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. It's spread over the 1.5 hectare Jag Niwas Island in the middle of lake Pichola. Thanks to its impeccably aesthetic interiors, the palace is virtually an art museum. A brass image of the Garuda is in a shrine in front of the temple and the steps up to the temple are flanked by elephants.
About 22 km from Udaipur, a unique complex of 108 temples built from marble and sandstone.This interesting little village with a number of ancient temples is only a short bus ride north of Udiapur. In the village itself there is a Shiva temple which was originally built in 734 AD although its present form dates from the rule of Maharana Raimal who ruled from 1473 to 1509. The walled complex includes an elaborately pillared hall under a large pyramidal roof. There is a four-faced Shiva image of black marble.
This renowned temple dedicated to Lord Krishna lies 48 km from Udaipur. The idol is ritually bathed, dressed, fed and put to sleep too. The black stone Vishnu image was brought here from Mathura in 1669 to protect it from Aurangzeb's destructive impulses.
located in the most rugged of the Aravali in Pali, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan. It takes name after the impressive historic fort of Kumbhalgarh, which come into view over the Park. It is 578 sq Kms in area and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300m. It is home to a very large variety of wild life, some of which are highly endangered species. The wild life includes wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, smabhar, nilgai, chaisingh (the four horned antelope), chinkara and hare.