Udaipur was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh II as the final capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom, located in the fertile circular valley – “Girwa” to the southwest of Nagda, on the Banas River, the first capital of the Mewar kingdom. 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 dynasties of the world. In the recent years Udaipur has become very popular destination for people from all over the world! Being born and brought up in Udaipur, it will always be a HOME to me, I have often met people who either start swooning after only hearing the name or they ask me what’s so great about Udaipur apart from the Royalty and the lakes!!! Well this blog is my answer to them…
Udaipur is known as the city of lakes which one can read all about on the net, Here are My top 10 reasons!
1. The Lakes:
Lakes make a perfect backdrop to the romantic setting of Udaipur. Udaipur is truly famous for its beautiful lakes and watercourses. The city is popular by the phrase of ‘The City of Lakes’. The Picturesque lakes offering fabulous view of the mountains make Udaipur, a dream destination of every tourist. Since ages, these lakes have been providing water to the city dwellers.
Located in the heart of the city, Pichola Lake is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur. In 1362, the beautiful lake was built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha.
Fateh Sagar Lake is the second artificial lake of Udaipur, the first being Jaisamand lake. Built in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh, Fateh Sagar Lake got its name from Maharana Fateh Singh, who later made additions to it.
Jaisamand Lake is renowned for being the second largest artificial lake in Asia. Located at a distance of 48 kms from the city of Udaipur, Jaisamand Lake is also known as Dhebar. In 1685, Maharana Jai Singh built this lake while making a dam on the Gomti River.
On a 40 Acre Island in the midst of Jaisamand Lake is another resort worth going to stay called Jaisamand Island Resorts, it is the only resort in North West Region of the country to be built on a Private Island of 40 acres. Jaisamand Lake and the Sanctuary are rich in fauna with counts of over 300 bird species. So it is a must stay for all those Bird lovers!
Udaipur is at it’s best during monsoons, surrounded by the Aravali ranges on all sides, the rains during monsoons are what make the entire city look lush green. The Temperature drops, the sky stays overcast and the roasted corn on Fatehsagar , long drives on Rani road slow drives on Badi lake are just a few things that make you fall in love with this city!!
3. EklingNathji Mandir:
Eklingji Temple is one of the most famous temples of Rajasthan. Located in the town of Eklingji (Kailashpuri), the place got its popular name from the temple. The temple boasts of a striking four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) that is made out of black marble. Its height ranges around 50 feet and its four faces depict four forms of Lord Shiva. The east-facing part is recognized as Surya, the west-facing part is Lord Brahma, the north-facing part is Lord Vishnu and the south-facing part is Rudra i.e. Lord Shiva himself. The zenith of the multifaceted idol is known as ‘Yantra that stands for the ultimate reality. The Shivlinga garlanded by a silver snake, acquires the major attraction of people. For one seeking solace, the cool, beautiful and calm surroundings of Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple are a must visit.
4. Shilpgram Utsav:
It takes place in December around Christmas and so I always wait for this Utsav to begin! As the name suggests it actually is an UTSAV, not only the local craftsmen but craftsmen from all over the country participate in it. Shilpgram is a miniature man-made village, so every year during winters there are not only stalls of clothes but also of craft, jewellery and eatables! The entire day just flies once you are here. As the sun sets in the backdrop..the evenings are the best time of the entire day, cold breezes and the typical Rajasthani good of Dal, Bati, Choorma and the Raab!! The hot food served with warmth and lots of love by the people here, accompanied by the Rajasthani folk dancers and folk singers just add to a whole new level of amazement; hearing them just takes you to a whole new world. There are many activities for kids too, but Ladies be sure you wear Flats or Shoes and not Heels!! We wouldn’t want swollen feet now do we!!?? 😉
5. Hariyali Amawas Mela/Fair:
It is one fun-fair which takes place only in Udaipur during monsoons, to be precise in the month of August! As the name suggests, it is to welcome the rains and the greenery it brings along.
Being a 2 day fun-fair celebrations, it has one day exclusively for men and the 2nd day for women! The entire road right from Fatehsagar till the road of Saheliyon ki Badi, everything stays jampacked and closed for vehicles! The only fair where you still get the village version of a yo-yo called ‘Ullu ka pattha’ No! I’m not abusing!! It’s what they’re called…they are basically water-balloons suspended by a rubber string!
6. Gangaur Festival:
Celebrated till date in the same way as it used to be during Udai Singhji’s reign!! His highness Arvind Singhji Mewar has ensured that this festival has the same essence to it as it did when he was a child! Attending the Gangaur festivities brings back memories of childhood and makes one proud of belonging to Udaipur, to Mewar!! Hats off to him for keeping it alive till now and celebrating it with the same zeal and enthusiasm.
Yes u read it right!! Shopping in Udaipur is one of its kind. Silver is the best thing to pick up, you get excellent jewellery and show pieces made of silver in Lal-Ghat area and the entire Palace Road! There are silver pieces which one would not find anywhere else in the world. Then there are Stoles which are famous, you get all kinds of work, whether you want plain, shaded, printed work, Jamawar work etc are just a few to name! For women who love buying borders or old sarees(like me), Palace Road is the place to go! There are awesome tailors in the city area who stitch kurtis, jackets, sherwani’s etc very nicely and very quickly! You get very unique and cute suits and ghagras for little kids and grown ups too, here in the city and jootis too!
8. The Erstwhile Royalty:
To get the feel of how the erstwhile Royals lived during the golden years one MUST visit The City Palace! It is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan, located peacefully on the banks of Lake Pichola. This majestic Palace is the most-visited tourist attraction of Udaipur. It is often distinguished as the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. It was Maharana Udai Singh who initially built this superb wonder, but the present form of the Palace is the result of subsequent additions made by his successors. City Palace has several gates that are known as “Pols”. ‘Bara Pol’ (Great Gate) is the main gate to the City Palace complex that leads to the first courtyard. On passing ‘Bara Pol’, one comes across a triple arched gate, which is known as ‘Tripolia’. Between these two gates, are visible eight marble arches or Toranas, where Kings used to weigh themselves with gold and silver. Besides Tripolia, there is an arena where elephant fights were staged. After ‘Tripolia’, one enters the ‘Elephant Gate’ or the ‘Hathi Pol’.
The highest point of this Palace is Amar Vilas which has wonderful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces. City Palace is structured in a way that it offers a splendid view of the lake from all its Balconies, cupolas and towers. It has amazing interiors with delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, inlay work and colored glass. The exquisitly carved work of City Palace cannot be confined in words. To experience the beauty and to capture the real picture of this grand palace it is a must to visit this palace.
In a country less known for its romantic getaways, Udaipur offers tranquil nights, splendid strolls, and an exotic seduction that’s hard to resist, making it an ideally romantic honeymoon destination for newlyweds.
Right from long drives at Rani road and Badi Lake to dining out in places like Jagat Niwas, Sunset Terrace and Ambrai(to name a few) with the perfect view overlooking the Lake Pichola, cool breeze blowing and mouth watering food, one can’t help falling in love with this picturesquely beautiful city
10. Jagdish Temple:
This imposing white Hindu temple, with intricate architecture and carvings, is an unmissable landmark in the Lal Ghat area near the entrance to the City Palace. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1961 and houses a black stone idol of Lord Jagannath (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). The highlight there is the evocative Aarti every sunrise and sunset.
Udaipur should not be visited for all the reasons given above…. NO!! Udaipur should be visited for an experience of a lifetime and to make your own reasons to come back!!