Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, the city of lakes Udaipur is located around azure water lakes and is hemmed in by lush green hills of Aravallis. The famous Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola is one of the most beautiful sights of Udaipur. It is also home to Jaisamand Lake, claimed to be the second largest man-made sweet water lake in Asia. Solar observatory in Lake Fateh Sagar is the only observatory in India located on an island and has been made on the pattern of Big Bear Lake in Southern California.
The gigantic City Palace, towering over the Pichola Lake, is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. It extends a considerable distance along the east bank of the lake. South of the palace, a pleasant garden runs down to the shore. The original structure was built in the sixteenth century. Thereafter, each successive generation of rulers in Udaipur made its architectural mark on the City Palace complex. By the end of the nineteenth century the Maharana’s Palace was a city in itself, with storehouses, stables, wells and farms within it’s walls. Inspite of being a conglomeration of buildings added by various rulers, the palace complex manages to retain a surprising integrity of design. The palace has numerous balconies, towers and cupolas and there are stunning views over the lake and the city from the upper terraces.
Jagdish Temple is one of the famous temples of Udaipur. Located in the City Palace complex of Udaipur, this temple is made in the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. In 1651, Jagdish temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh, who ruled Udaipur during 1628-53. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Laxmi Narayan), the preserver of the Universe. It is celebrated for being the largest temple in the city of Udaipur. The gateway of this temple can be sited at a distance of 150 meters from the Bara Pol of the City Palace.
This is a very congenial old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangaur Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has over hundred rooms and some very interesting display of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen’s Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork.
This lake is the centre-piece around which Udaipur revolves. It started off as a small pond built by a banjara, who dammed up the waters of a mountain stream by building a dyke. Maharana Udai Singh extended this pond, creating the exquisite Lake Pichola. The lake lies to the immediate west of the ridge on which the City Palace of Udaipur stands. Maharana Udai Singh built a masonry dam, known as Badi Pol, and the lake is now 4 km long and 3 km wide. Amusingly, the water of the lake belongs to the Government of India whilst the land under water belongs to the royal family.
Dudh Talai is a dainty lake in Udaipur studded with enhancements of human pleasures. The lake beautifies the south-east part of Lake Pichola and has an affable view from the twinkling places like City Palace, Jag Mandir etc. The small inlet of this lake, contributes its water to the larger lake Pichola. This place is unique with the presence of conspicuous view of Shiv Niwas Palace on its southern side and is adorned by two parks which adds grace to its shore. Manikya Lal Verma Garden and Pandit Deen Dayal Musical Fountain Park are showcase of modern architecture and allows one to stroll along its beauty.
Laid by Maharana Sajjan Singhji in the 18th century, Gulab Bagh also known as Sajjan Niwas Garden creates soothing vistas with exotic rose beds, fruit trees, orchids and attractive looking plants. The Saraswati Bhawan Library at Gulab Bagh is a storehouse of volumes that deal with topics such as history, archaeology, Indology and quite a few very old manuscripts that can trace their origin to the early medieval period. There are several handwritten manuscripts from the ancient past on display at the Gulab Bagh Museum.
Udaipur is blessed with a vintage car museum that showcases antique heritage cars. It is a treat for all the automobile lovers to pay a visit to a place filled with fascinating vehicles that can be explored and studied. The museum was inaugurated on 15th February 2000. The founder of National Motor Museum England – Lord Montagu of Beaulieu was the Chief Guest in the inauguration ceremony. The Vintage Car Museum was initially a Mewar State Motor Garage located in the premises of a belonging of HRH Group – Garden Hotel and restaurant. The museum contains several cars of the Maharanas (Kings/Custodians) of Mewar from the past and also from the present. The Museum also houses a shell petrol pump that is still in the working condition. All the cars exhibited in the museum are in working condition, in spite of some cars being more than 70 years old.
Visit the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal Museum. An excellent museum of all folk collection from Udaipur and elsewhere in Rajasthan. This facility offers insight into the rich folk traditions of the area. The collection includes masks, Typical Dress, Puppets and Musical instruments. There are regular opportunities to attend a traditional Puppet show – a delightful experience for children.
Sukhadia Circle, also known as Sukhadia square, is a majestic turn around in Panchwati, the Udaipur city’s northern suburb. It is a popular landmark in Udaipur and provides a beautiful view with the illumination of lights. This square, opened in 1970, has a magnificent three tiered fountain in the center and a structure representing the prosperity. This place is used as a evening relaxation place with beautiful gardens and a nice pond. This square attracts many, especially children. Children make funs in the lawns and float toy boats in the pond. There are some duck shaped paddle boats for children’s amusement.
Maharana Sangram Singh built this Garden in the mid-18th century. The ‘Garden of the Maidens’ brings to mind the lifestyle of the ladies of the court. These delightful gardens reflect their discreet and impeccable tastes. There are four pools with dainty kiosks. All around are flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains protected by a series of walls and trees offering plenty of shade. The fountains of the Sahelion ki Bari function solely by water pressure and no pumps are used. The garden has a lotus pool and a sitting room decorated with paintings and glass mosaic. The whole ambience is flavored by reminiscence of those beautiful belles enjoying themselves in lavish environs.
North of Pichola Lake, this water body is overlooked by a number of hills and parks. It was originally built in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh, but reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh after heavy rains destroyed the dam. A pleasant drive winds along the east bank and in the middle is Nehru Park, a popular garden island with a cafe shaped like a boat. You can get there by boat from near the bottom of Moti Magri. Paddle boats are available. You can also enjoy a speed boat ride or water scooter ride in Fateh Sagar.