Udaipur, also widely recognized as the “city of lakes” and the “Venice of the East” is this beautiful city situated in the heart of the Aravalli Range famous for its rich heritage and the fascinating lakes which make for a flawless picturesque backdrop for the city of Udaipur.
Udaipur, the capital of the former kingdom of Mewar was the only kingdom to have remained untouched by the Mughal dynasty thus most of the architecture is of Rajputana style. With a population less than seven lakhs, it’s the only city that attracts tourists in number more than three times its population. Udaipur owes this recognition to the beautiful forts and palaces it houses.
01. City Palace – Udaipur
Located on the peaceful banks of Lake Pichola, the City Palace of Udaipur is an architectural marvel of Rajasthan. A feast to the eyes, it is a beautiful assortment of courtyards, pavilions, corridors, terraces, rooms and hanging gardens. It is wholly built in granite and marble. ‘Bara Pol’ is the main entrance to the City Palace and among the most important of its gate referred to as ‘Pols’.
City Palace houses eleven different palaces made by Maharana Udai Singh and his successors. They display a marvelous collection of antique paintings, unique furniture, and delicate ornamental tile work and glass décor.
The grand courtyards of the City Palace are a marvel to look at. The various towers, domes and arches add to the grandeur of the Palace.
The walls of the city palace showcase some of the most intricate glass works reflecting the artistic brilliance of the Rajput historic age. The City Palace has several of these. ‘Mor Chowk’ for instance, has incomparable glass mosaics of peacocks, set into the walls presenting the three seasons of summer, winter and monsoon. And ‘Laxmi Vilas Chowk’ is an art gallery with a unique collection of beautiful Mewar paintings. City Palace has breath-taking interiors with fragile mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work and inlay work in colored glass.
02. Jagdish Temple
The biggest and most beautiful temple of Udaipur, the Jagdish Temple is situated inside the premises of the City Palace. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh who ruled Udaipur from 1628 to 1653. It is made in the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. It attaches a double-storey ‘Mandapa’ or hall to a sandhaara sanctum. There is a flight of 32 marble stones that lead to the shrine at the end – a brass image of Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu.
The temple is decorated with beautiful carvings a splendid example of the Maru-Gurjara architecture. It is said that there was an estimate amount of 1.5 million rupees spent to build the temple.
03. The Lake Palace
Built between 1743 and 1746, under the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh II, the Lake Palace spans across four acres and was built as the winter palace of the rulers. However it was used by successive rulers as a summer resort.
The courtyards are lined with columns, terraces, pillars, fountains and gardens. The walls of the palace are made of black and white marble stones. They are adorned with semi-precious stones and ornaments.
Bhagwat Singh between 1961 and 1969 converted the palace into Udaipur’s first luxury hotel. In 1971 Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces took over the management of the hotel and it has since been a major tourist attraction.
04. Jag Mandir
Built on an island in Pichola Lake, Jag Mandir also called the “Lake Garden Palace” was used as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. The grand structure consists of the Gul Mahal, built as a refuge for prince Khurram, the façade flanked by four carved statues of elephants, the garden courtyard, the Bara Patharon ka Mahal, the Zenana Mahal and the Kunwar Pada ka Mahal.
The Jag Mandir can be approached only by boat that has to be taken from Bansi Ghat near Lake Pichola. It is beautiful sight in the evening.
05. The Monsoon Palace
Overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, also known as the Sajjangarh Palace, the Monsoon Palace is a hilltop palatial monument constructed by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1884. Previously owned by the Mewar royal family, it is now under the Forest Department of the Government and has been recently opened for the public. It provides a beautiful view of the sunset.
It is built with white marble, carved with exquisite motifs of leaves and flowers and has high turrets and guards. Plastered with lime mortar, the illuminated palace is fairy tale like view in the evening with its beautiful assortment of Rajasthan’s architecture comprising domes, fountains and ‘jharokas’.
06. Saheliyon Ki Bari
The Saheliyon ki Bari literally translates to the “courtyard of the maidens” is a now major garden of the city of Udaipur. It was built by Maharana Sangram Singh for the royal ladies as a relaxing spot, a get-away from the political intrigues of the court.
The gardens set below the embankment of the Fateh Sagar Lake have gorgeous lotus pools, marble pavilions and elephant- shaped fountains. These fountains are fed by the water of the lake gushing through ducts made for the purpose.