Udaipur is a royal city that had been the capital of Mewar rulers for centuries. The romantic city of Udaipur has a legend behind its origin and it goes like this. Once, Maharana Udai Singh happened to meet a holy sage when he was on his hunting expedition in the Aravalli Hills. The Sage counseled the King to establish a kingdom in the fertile valley that would be well-protected by the elevated Aravalli Hills. Subsequently, Maharana Udai Singh laid the foundation stone of Udaipur in 1557 A.D.
Chittorgarh was the previous capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar. Maharana Udai Singh was a successor of the Sisodias, who claimed to be the descendants of the Sun God. The Sisodias are believed to be the oldest ruling family in the World. Amongst the warrior clans, Sisodias are recognized as the most powerful ones in Rajasthan. Another reason for shifting the capital from Chittorgarh to Udaipur was constant attacks of enemies.
In 1568, Chittor was attacked by the Mughal emperor, Akbar and to ward off this danger, Udai Singh shifted the whole kingdom to Udaipur. Udaipur was naturally safe under the fortifications made by Aravalli Hills. Since that time, Udaipur developed into a full-fledged city. Slowly when the Mughal Empire undermined, the Sisodias reasserted their freedom. They recaptured most of the parts of Mewar with the exception of the Chittorgarh Fort.
Udaipur continued to be the capital of Mewar, till it became the princely state of British India in 1818. When India got independent in 1947, the Maharaja of Udaipur granted the place to the Government of India. At that time, Mewar was merged into the state of Rajasthan. In the present date, Udaipur enjoys a favorable position on the maps of Rajasthan. Udaipur is known for its picturesque surroundings and its royal past. Various ancient monuments, massive palaces, architectural temples and beautiful lakes fascinate people to visit the ancient land of the Royalty, Udaipur is well-known for its magnificent palaces, traditional food, scenic lakes.
The climate of Udaipur is tropical with the mercury staying between a maximum of 42.3°C and a minimum of 28.8°C during summers. Winters are a little cold with the maximum temperature rising to 28.8°C and the minimum dipping to 2.5°C. The annual total rainfall received at Udaipur is 61 cm. Winters (September-March) are the best period for visiting Udaipur.
Must Visit Places
City Palace – Standing on the east bank of Lake Pichola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559 A.D. The balconies of the palace provide panoramic views of “Jag Niwas” (the world wide famous Lake palace hotel), Jag Mandir and the city of Udaipur. The palace’s main entrance is through the triple-arched gate – the Tripolia, built in 1725.
When one enters the palace they are greeted by a series of courtyards, terraces, corridors and gardens – a harmonic profusion hard to describe. There is a Suraj Gokhda, where the maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in the times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. The Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the vivid mosaics in glass decorating its walls. The chini chitrashala is noteworthy while a series of wall paintings of Krishna are on display in Bhim Vilas. There are numerous other temples one will see within the palace such as Dilkhush mahal, Sheesh mahal, Moti mahal and Krishna vilas – in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival princess. The palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils and attracts thousands of visitors every day.
City Palace Museum (Pratap Museum) – Within City Palace one will find the Government Pratap Museum housed with old sculptures and inscriptions. The antique paintings of Mewar, the turban of prince Khurram later on called Shah Jahan, who built world famous Taj Mahal has also been displayed here as a token of friendship of Maharana Khazan Singh.
Lake Palace – Originally known as the Jag Niwas, took three years to build and was inaugurated in 1746. Nothing but marble is used in the composition of this palace. It is now a luxury hotel.
Jag Mandir – Another island in the Lake Pichola, which is known for its beautiful garden courtyard. Shah Jahan took refuge here while revolting against his father.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal – An excellent museum of folk arts. Also hosts great puppet shows in its auditorium.
Maharana Pratap Memorial or Moti Magri– Atop the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake is the memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap with a bronze statue of the Maharana astride his favourite horse “Chetak”. More details are available at Maharanapratap.net, a fantastic collection of facts and figures on Maharana Pratap and his life.
Sajjangarh Fort – The summer resort of the Maharajas is atop the hill overlooking all the lakes. This palace had an ingenious way to collect rain water for consumption all year around.
Sukhadia Circle – A landmark built on a traffic roundabout in Udaipur. This local spot has a three tiered fountain that is lit at night and is a popular place for Udaipurites in evenings.
Jagdish Temple – this Temple, Jagannath Rai, now called Jagdish-ji is situated in the middle of the city is a big tourist attraction. Raised on a tall terrace and completed in 1651, it is a tribute alike to the tenacity of its builders and the resilience of the art tradition it represents. It attaches a double storied Mandapa (hall) to a double – storied, saandhara (that having a covered ambulatory) sanctum. The mandapa has another storey tucked within its pyramidal samavarna (bell – roof) while the hollow clustered spire over the sanctum contains two more, non – functional stories. Lanes taking off from many of the sheharpanah (city wall) converge on the Jagdish Temple and walking leisurely through them brings you face with the many layers of the cultural palimpsest that Udaipur is. Jagdish Temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1651 A.D. It is a good example of Indo – Aryan architecture.
Fateh Sagar Lake- Lovers Paradise : Fateh Sager Lake is situated in the north of Lake Pichola. It is a peaceful and relaxing place to spend leisure time. This beautiful Fateh Sager Lake is set with infinite beauty amidst the Aravali hills. It was originally build by Maharana Jai Singh in the year 1678 AD, but later on reconstructed and extended by Maharana Fateh Singh, In the middle of lake, you can see a grand Nehru park, which is a popular garden island and showcases a boat shaped cafe. The lake is one of the major attractions of Udaipur.
Lake Pichola – The Sapphire Udaipur : Lake Pichola is one of the most fascinating lakes, which has two islands, Jag Niwas and the Jag Mandir. This beautiful shimmering lake is 4km long and 3 km wide, originally built by Maharana Udai Singh II after he discovered the jewel of Rajasthan “Udaipur”. There are many ghats, like the bathing and washing ghats, which can be approached through boats from the City Palace of Udaipur (Bansi Ghat). In the heart of lake, most delicate world marvel is built the Lake Palace which is now converted into a heritage palace hotel. The lake is fairly shallow even at the time of heavy rains and gets dry easily at the time of severe drought. Once the island dries, it makes the best time to take the leisure walk inside the most remote parts of Lake Pichola, where one can sight rows of crocodiles.
Udaipur Solar Observatory– Asia’s only solar observatory, The Udaipur Solar Observatory is situated on an island in the middle of the Lake Fatehsagar (Location: 240 35.1′ : 730 42.8′ ) and the main office building is located at its NW-shore near Bari Road – Rani Road Junction. The site is run under PRL (Physical Reasearch Lab) in Ahemdabad. The sky conditions at Udaipur are quite favorable for solar observations. The large water body surrounding the telescopes decreases the amount of heating of the surface layers. This decreases the turbulence in the air mass and thereby improves the image quality and seeing. The main objective of obtaining the high spatial and temporal resolution observations of solar photosphere and chromosphere activity is to understand the various dynamic phenomena occurring on the surface of the Sun.USO (UDAIPUR SOLAR OBSERVATORY) is one of The six sites comprising the Global Oscillations Network Group Network in World.