Udaipur, the city of lakes, is the administrative capital of Rajasthan. It is also known as Kashmir of Rajasthan. Surrounded by Aravali range is just near Gujarat border. It is spread over 200 sq kms. Climate of Udaipur is 20C on an average. It is 250mi away from the capital city Jaipur. Berach River is the main source of water in Udaipur, which meets Ganga through Yamuna, Banas and Chambal. Many languages are spoken in Udaipur these include Hindi, Mewari, Marwari, Urdu, Guajarati etc.
Udaipur was found in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II, as the new capital of Mewar Kingdom, after Akbar besieged the early capital of Chittorgarh. It became one of the Princely states of India in 1818 when it became a part of the British Empire. In 1947 after the Indian Independence Udaipur became a part of the state of Rajasthan as its administrative capital.
WHAT TO SEE
People of Udaipur have inherited rich cultural heritage from their ancestors. People here have not forgotten their traditions, rituals and old culture while adapting to western lifestyle. Folk dances and traditional music are an integral part of the culture of Udaipur. Ghoomar is the Royal dance form of the Mewar culture of Rajasthan. It a dance performed by women where they move in circular motions. Kachchhi Ghodi is performed on dummy horses by men. Men wear elaborate costumes and move rhythmically on drums. Other dances include Bhavai, Terahtaali etc.
Gangaur is the main festival celebrated in Udaipur. It is a festival where Lord Shiva and his wife Paravati are worshipped. It is a 16 day festival where women come together and pray for their partners. Jagannath Rath Yatra organised n Ashad Shukla Paksha is the third largest Rath Yatra in India. During this festival idols of the temple Balarama, Jagannath and Subhadra are taken through the streets in a procession in elaborately decorated wooded chariots.
Where to go
Udaipur city palace is a complex consisting of several palaces, gardens and museums. Here once can see a unique blend of Rajasthani, Chinese, Mughal and European styles. The palace was originally built by Maharana Udai Singh II, entirely in Granite and Marble. The uppermost court in the complex is Amar Vilas, a mesmerising pavilion built in the style of the Mughals. Badi Mahal is the central Garden Palace. Fatehpraksh Palace is now turned into a hotel. It consists of crystal gallery where public is not allowed to go, as the name suggests the gallery has all things made up of crystal like chairs, tables, dressing tables, crockery etc. Durbar hall a part of the Fatehpraksh palace is place where royal ladies sat to view the royal proceedings of the court. The peacock square is another amazing view. It is a pillared hall with glass and mirror mosaic in its interiors. The chamber has, built out of 500 pieces of glass each, three peacocks situated beneath the Jharokha.
Fatehsagar Lake, built in 1678 by Maharana is an artificial lake. The lake has three islands – first; The Nehru Park, second; a public park and third island has the Udaipur Solar Observatory.
Pichola Lake is another artificial lake created in 1362 and named after a village called Pichola. The lake Palace is located in middle of the lake.
Doodh Talai is a lake between several hillocks Manikya Lal Verma Garden and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Park are a part of the lake. It is on the route to Pichola Lake.
Jagdish Temple, north of the City Palace is an outstanding example of the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. The temple houses idol of Lord Vishnu as the main deity and is one the most iconic landmarks of Udaipur. The walls and shikharas of the temple are covered with beautiful carvings.
There are many gardens worth visiting in Udaipur. Gulabh Bagh was the royal garden laid out by Maharaja Sajjan Singh. There is a library in the park which preserves ancient handwritten manuscripts. The garden has several different species of roses planted as the name suggests. Saheliyon ki Bari is garden which was laid out by Maharana Bhopal Singh. This was garden meant for the maids. It has marble elephants and also a lotus pool. Other parks include Nehru Garden and Doodh Talai Park.
If you want to spend your evening in Rajasthani style the Aapni Dhani is the perfect place. It has many entertainment options for visitors like tamasha (puppet show), Magic show, dance and cultural shows, a small zoo, camel ride etc. The place offers a perfect ending to the night with typical Rajasthani dinner of Dal, Batti, Churma etc along with mouth water sweets like Ghewar.
What to buy
Miniature painting is a mark of Udaipur. Very beautiful miniature paintings are available in the markets which you can buy. Their designs and themes are different and so is the colour scheme.
Very good quality, 100% European linen is available in Udaipur. You can buy either the cloth and get it stitched or you can directly buy readymade kurtis, Dhotis, shirts etc of linen.
Granite art is another speciality of Udaipur. Handmade Granite artefacts of various sizes and shapes are available for purchase here.
Puppets are another popular choice of tourists in Udaipur. Couple puppets that are very beautiful and available in vibrant colours are a good choice for purchase.
Silver and Jewels is another thing worth buying from Udaipur.
What to eat
Spicy food is an especially of Udaipur like Mirchi (chilly) Wada. The traditional dishes Dal, Batti, Churma, Gatte ki sabji, Bajre ki roti, Bajra Ghat etc are worth trying. They are available in quality even in small local restraints. Rajdhani, Aapni Dhani, Bawarchi, Natraj are the best places to have a typical Rajasthani meal experience.
Other cuisines like Italian, Chinese, Continental, Mexican etc are also available in Udaipur. Places like Ambrai, Hikam etc are good for such cuisines.
How to reach
25kms from the city centre is Maharana Pratap Airport. Flights from Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai etc to Udaipur run on a daily basis. Other places that are connected to Udaipur via air are Bangalore, Amritsar, Chennai, etc. From the airport, bus and taxi services are available to go around the city.
It is easy to travel to Udaipur even by road. It is connected to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai, Chittor, Bikaner, Ajmer etc via road.
Udaipur is connected directly to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chittor, Ahmadabad, Agra, Ajmer, Jaipur etc via train. Rana Pratap Nagar Railway Station and Udaipur city railway station are the two railway stations. From the station taxi and autos are available to go around the city.