There is no place in India which appeals more to imagination of poets and painters, travellers and writers than Udaipur, the lovely lake side capital of Mewar, by on of its romance and beauty and its thrilling history sting with episodes of heroism that had resounded throughout the world.
Udaipur, the entrancing City of Dawn, looms up like a vision in white. Surrounded by hills and mountains and set on the edge of three lakes which give on to a fertile plain, it is the beautiful city of Rajasthan—narrow streets lined by vivid coloured stalls, gardens, temples and palaces—every feature mirrored in the placid blue Lake Pichola. Some of the palaces have now been transformed into palace hotels offering the near glimpses into Rajasthan's princely past with all its grandeurs.
An interesting legend is related to the founding of the city. On one of his excursions, Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar met a hermit meditating on a hill overlooking Lake Pichola. The ascetic gave his blessings and also advised the Maharana to build a stronghold on the very H spot as it would be well protected. The place indeed combined many natural advantages—a fertile valley watered by a stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude and an amphitheatre of mountains. The new city was planned at the edge of Pichola in 1550 A.D. Of the original eleven gates of Udaipur city, only five remain; the chief being Suraj Pol—Gate of the Sun, on the eastern side. The majestic City Palace, 30 metres high and several hundred metres long overlooked an immense esplanade edged by arcades. Around Udaipur are vestiges of its chivalrous past—the Chittaurgarh citadel and Kumbhalgarh; the temple-splendours of Eklingji, Nathdwara and Ranakpur and finally there's Mount Abu, a hill resort in Rajasthan, 'a cool, tranquil sanctuary.
Completely white and majestic, the City Palace-stands on a hill surrounded by crenellated walls. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate, the Tripolia, built in 1725. There is Suraj Gokhada—the Balcony of the Sun, where the Suryavanshi Maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. The More Chowk or the Peacock Courtyard, gets its name from the vivid mosaics in glass which decorate its walls. The Chini Chitrashala is noteworthy for its blue and white ceramics.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built in 1651 A.D. by Maharana Jagat Singh I.
A museum of folk art, it displays a rich collection of folk dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks,, dolls, folk musical instruments and paintings. Of special interest is a section on tribal art. The world-renowned puppeteers of Udaipur, custodians of an ancient tradition, regularly put up first-rate shows here. (These are arranged on request).
Erected atop Moti Magri or Pearl Hillock, overlooking Fateh Sagar. Hundreds climb the tree-lined uphill path to pay homage to Rana Pratap and his faithful charger, Chetak, who was killed in the battle of Haldighati. There is a Japanese rock garden in the vicinity.
North of Lake Pichola and linked to it by a canal, the lake was originally constructed by Maharana Jai Singh. However, the lake, enclosed on three sides by hills, bears the name of Fateh Singh, who rebuilt its dam. Visitors can take a cruise on its waters or-row across to the island garden of Nehru Park.
The lake is surrounded by hills, palaces, temples bathing. ghats and embankments. Set splendidly in the lake are two island palaces, Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir. Jag Niwas, the summer residence of the princes of Mewar appears to float by magic on the waters. Today it is a world-class hotel unrivalled in splendour.
3 km east of the town lies Ahar, the ancient capital of the Sisodias who ceated the kingdom of Mewar. A veritable forest of stately chhatris—shimmering white marble cenotaphs—commemorates royal personages of Mewar.
Visible in the distance from the city is the silhouette of this palace fort which stands on the summit of a peak.
Few gardens in India are as bewitching as this rose garden laid out by Maharana Sajjan Singh. An elegant building, it houses a library with a valuable collection of old books. The Aravali Express, a toy train, offers a pleasant way of seeing the garden.
The Gardens of the Maids of Honour bring to mind the unique lifestyle of the ladies of court. Bordering the embankment of the Fateh Sagar Lake, these gardens appear discrete and in impeccable taste. There are four pools with dainty kiosks and fountains with elephant trunks for spouts.
22 km. Chiselled out of sandstone and marble, this complex of 108 temples is devoted to the family deity of the Mewar rulers. This complex of 108 temples enclosed by a high wall, was built in 734 A.D. It has ornate mandap or colonnaded hail under the canopy of a huge pyramidical roof composed of over a hundred knots. Darshan Timings: 4.30 a.m. - 6.30 a.m. 10.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m. 5.00 p.m:- 7.30 p.m.
Created in 1989, the colourful Shilpgram-a rural arts and crafts village is set amidst natural surroundings of Aravalli Hills. Barely 3 km from Udaipur, Shilpgram comprises 26 huts built by craftpersons drawn from all parts of the West Zone-Goa, Gujarat,. Maharashtra, - Rajasthan, Daman & Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. To ensure complete authenticity of structures, the building material was specially carted from the respective regions. Besides, there are shrines, dancing platforms, a haat or a crafts bazaar, an amphitheatre, a museum and a gallery. In fact it is a rare fare of arts and crafts delights.
23 km. On the shores of Lake Baghela, 4 km west of Eklingji, can be seen several ancient temples on a. hillside, two of them 15th century Jain temples. Accommodation is available at Heritage Resort.
40 km. Site of the memorable battle between 'Rana Pratap and the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1576. Haldighati is of immense historic interest.
50 km. This simple shrine is one of the most celebrated of the Vaishnava shrines of Shri Nathji or Lord Krishna. It was built in the early 18th century. Darshan Timings: 5.00 a.m., 6.30 a.m. 8.30 a.m., 10.00 a.m. 3.30 p.m., 4.00 p.m., 5.00 p.m.
65 km. Devoted to Lord Krishna. It is an important Vaishnava temple and ranks very high amongst the temples of the Vallabhacharya sect. It is better known as Dwarkadhish and resembles the famous Nathdwara shrine.
58 km. A well preserved temple dedicated to Ambika Mata. This dates from the 10th century and is more elaborate in style than the Nagda temples.
48 km. Situated close to Kankroli. Built by Maharana Jai Singh in 1660 A.D., this is the second largest artificial lakes in Asia. On either side were the summer palaces for the king's favourite queens. Tribesmen (the Bhils) still inhabit the islands in Jaisamand Lake. The Jaisamand wildlife sanctuary, 8 km away, shelters sambar, chital, gazelles, wild boar and panther. A large number of birds have their habitat here. They are joined annually by various species of migratory birds. The accommodation is now vailable at Jaisamand Lake Island Resort, Baba Island, having an area of 40 acres of mountain land and forest.
72 km. Symbol of Rajput chivalry, the ancient fort of Chittaurgarh the capital of Mewar founded in early 7th century was under Rajput rule from 7th to the mid 16th century. It symbolizes the finest traditions of royal Rajasthan: honour, courage, chivalry and sacrifice. Today, the scarred and shattered temples and palaces, gateways and memorials of Chittaur are its glory and its pride. They stand high on a rocky tableland, that sprawls over 700 acres enclosed by 7 miles of massive bastions. Rising tall out of the ruins stands the almost unblemished Vijay tambh or Victory Tower, a fitting symbol of Rajput courage and death defying pride.
84 km. After the fort of Chittaurgarh, this is the second most important fort in Rajasthan. Perched atop the Aravallis, it was built by Maharana Kumbha in the 1 5th century.
90 km. One of the biggest and most important of Jain temples in India. Popularly known as Chaumukha, the marble temple was built in the 15th century. There are 1444 pillars in the temple, and none of them is similarly carved.
185 km. Mount Abu offers the visitor a two-fold advantage. It boasts of the marvellously carved and sculptured Dilwara Jain temples and serves as a restful and refreshing get-away interlude in a cool, green hilltop resort. This pleasant summer retreat is a favourite of walkers, hikers and holiday makers,, with facilities that cater to their needs. But it is also a magnet that draws the pilgrim and the art lover to its The Dilwara Temples are perched high on the crest of the Aravallis, a complex of five temples that span 200 years between the 11th and 13th centuries. Built of Makrana marble—similar to that used in the building of the Taj Mahal—the temples are restrained and austere outside, giving way to a profusion of carvings, within. They offer an aesthetic and spirtual experience that is well worth the effort of getting there.
|Area :||36.27 sq. km.|
|Altitude :||577 metres|
|Climate Summer :||Mean Max 38.3°C, Mean Mm< 28.8°C/td>|
|Climate Winter :||Mean Max 28.3°C, Mean Mm 11 .6°C|
|Rainfall :||61 cm|
|Best Season :||September-March|
|Clothing Summer :||Light Tropical|
|Clothing Winter :||Light Woollen|
|Languages :||English, Hindi, Rajasthani|
|Local Transport :||Un-metered taxis, auto-rickshaws, tongas, cycle-rickshaws, city bus. Regular city bus service is available for Dabok Airport, Badi Lake, Bedala and Saheliyon Ki Bari.|
Air :Dabok Airport is 24 km from the city centre. Daily Indian Airlines flights connect Udaipur with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Bombay and Delhi For reservation and enquiry, contact Indian Airlines at Tel 28995, 28011.
Rail :Udaipur is directly linked by rail with Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Chittaurgarh, Jodhpur and Ahmedabad. Railway enquiry at Tel.: 131.
Road :A wide network of bus services links Udaipur with several destinations. Some of the important connections are Agra 630 km, Ahmedabad 262 km, Ajmer 264 km, Jaipur 406 km, Jodhpur 275 km and Mount Abu 187 km. For State Roadways enquiry dial Tel.: 27191.
Udaipur is indeed a treasure-trove for the bargain hunters. A multitude of items, including folk toys, shimmering tie-and-dye sarees and garments, turbans, hand painted textiles, silver jewellery, wall hangings and wall paintings are strongly recommended. The terracotta images of various gods & goddesses made in Mollela village near Nathdwara are also available in Udaipur. Major shopping districts are Hathipol, Chetak Circle, Lake Palace Road, and Bapu Bazar. The Rajasthan Government Handicrafts Emporium is an ideal outlet.
The Mewar Festival, celebrated during March April is dedicated to goddess Parvati and welcomes spring with song, dance and fireworks. There are prayers, rituals and processions. Gangaur, also held in March-April is a festival in which women pray to Goddess Parvati. "Lord Shic'a's image is brought with caparisoned horses and elephants when he escorts the Goddess back with him. Teej, in July-August is a festival of rejoicing.
State Bank of India, Hospital Road Tel 28857 State Bank of Bikaner Jaipur, Chetak Circle Tel 27087 Punjab National Bank, Town Hall Road Tel 26118 Bank of Rajasthan, Bapu Bazar Tel 29702 Bank of India, Delhi Gate Tel 28335 Canara Bank, Hospital Road Tel 28882 Union Bank of India, Town Hall Road Tel 29047 Andhra Bank, Shakti Nagar Tel 29415
GPO, Chetak Circle Tel 26033 City Post Office, Shastri Circle Tel 28905
Rama Studio, Bapu Bazar; Tak Studio Station, Road; Kalpana Studio, Bapu Bazar; Shnimal Studio, Suraj Pol.
Tourist Information Bureau Kajri Tourist Bungalow Tel 29535 Tourist Information Counter at City Railway Station Platform No. 1 Tourist ' Information Bureau, Dabok Airport Tel 28011 (PP)
Approved guides for local sightseeing can be hired through the Tourist Officer, Tourist Information Bureau, Kajri Tourist Hotel Tel 29535
Rajasthan Tours, Tel 25777, Tourist Guide Service Tel 29626; Aravali Safari Tel 529282; Tourist Taxi Service Tel 581169; Travel Corporation of India Tel 522239; Travel Plan Tel 24688; Exclusive India Tel 23045; Registhan Tours Tel 28670; Lake Palace Tours & Travels Tel 28239; Speed Birds Tours Tel 524169; Travel Easy Tel 27734
Daily tours, conducted by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, start from Hotel Kajri Tel 29509
1 - Pratap Memorial-Fateh Sagar Lake-Saheliyon Ki BanBharatiya Lok Kala Mandal Museum-City PalaceJagdish Temple, pulab Bagh. Timings: 0800 td 1300 hrs.
2 - Haldighati-Nathdwara-Eklingji Timings: 1400 to 1900 hrs.
Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal Near Chetak Circle Tel 529296; Meera Kala Mandir, City Station Road Tel 583176; Shilp Gram, Fateh Sagar, Rani Road Tel 560304.
Clubs in Udaipur that offer some activities are Field Club, Rotary Club and Lions Club.
For enthusiastic anglers, there is the Jaisamand Lake. License can be obtained from the Fisheries Department. For assistance, please contact the Tourist Officer, RTDC. Hotel Kajri, Tel 29535.
Facilities are offered by the Lake Palace Hotel on prior permission from the Management. Other places with a swimming pool are Hotel Laxmi. Vilas Palace, Shikarbadi and Lakend Hotel, Hotel Shiva Niwas Palace, Shilpi Restaurant. .