Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, is the crown jewel of the state of Rajasthan. It is surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli Hills in all directions, making this city as lovely as it is. This ‘Venice of the East’ has an abundance of natural beauty, mesmerising temples and breathtaking architecture which makes it a must-visit destination in India. A boat ride through the serene waters of lake pichhola will be enough to prove to you why Udaipur is the pride of Rajasthan.
Located in a valley and surrounded by four lakes, Udaipur has natural offerings with a grandeur multiplied by human effort, to make it one of the most enchanting and memorable tourist destinations. It justifies all names ever offered to its charm from ‘Jewel of Mewar’ to ‘Venice of the East’. And though the entire city’s architecture is flattering, the Lake Palace hotel is something that offers the city a visual definition. The revered nathdwara temple is about 60 km from Udaipur.
The Lake Pichola is an artificial lake located in the heart of Udaipur, Rajasthan. The oldest and one of the largest lakes of the city, the Lake Pichola observes lakhs of tourists because of its tranquillity and beauty. Flanked by lofty hills, heritage buildings and bathing ghats, it is a dream come true for peace and nature lovers. A visit to the Lake Pichola is incomplete without a boat ride, especially in the dawn. During evenings, it seems the entire place has been dipped in gold as you can see the heritage buildings and the pristine water turning golden with the sun’s reflection. The enthralling views will take you to a different world of stillness and will also bring out your romantic side.
Built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha in 1362 AD, the Pichola lake is 3 miles in length, 2 miles in width and has a depth of 30 feet. Maharana Udai Singh, enchanted by the charm of the lake enlarged it and also constructed a dam on the shores of this lake. The lush green hills in the backdrop with many royal palaces along its banks is a cherry on the cake. The beautiful city palace of jaipur adorns the eastern banks while the Mohan Mandir is situated in the north-east corner. The renowned Lake Palace is perfectly perched in the middle, and there is the Jag Mandir on Jag Island.
Built on the banks of Lake Pichola, the City Palace in Udaipur is considered to be the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. The magnificent palace was built in the year 1559 by Maharana Uday Singh and served as the main seat of power, where the Maharanas lived and administered the kingdom from. Subsequently, the palace was made even more splendid by his successors, who added a number of structures to it. The Palace now has an assortment of Mahals, courtyards, pavilions, corridors, terraces, rooms and hanging gardens. There is a museum here as well that showcases some of the finest elements of Rajput arts and culture – from colourful paintings to the typical architecture found in Rajasthani palaces.
Nestled in the bosom of the Aravallis, the granite and marble edifice of the City Palace stands in contrast to its quaint natural surroundings. The intricate architecture of the regal palace is a subtle mix of medieval, European as well as Chinese influences and is embellished with numerous domes, arches and towers. The City Palace itself lies on a bed of lush green garden and is quite an imposing sight to behold. The regal beauty of this attraction has quite a few fans in the film industry as well, and several movies such as ‘Guide’ and ‘Octopussy’ have been shot here. A gentle amalgam of architectural genius and rich heritage, the City Palace of Udaipur is a wonderful trip down the pages of history.
Located just on the outskirts of the city of Udaipur, perched atop a hill, Sajjangarh Palace is a former royal residence belonging to the Mewar dynasty, who ruled over this place for centuries. The palatial complex is named after its patron, Maharana Sajjan Singh, who ordered its construction and had it erected in 1884. It was originally intended to be a nine-storeyed astronomical observatory to note and assess the arrival and patterns of monsoon clouds, which could be easily perceived from the palace because of its location at a strategic vantage point at one of the hilltops of Aravalli, called Bansdara Peak. For this reason, it has also earned the name Monsoon Palace. It would have also created employment opportunities for the subjects.
However, due to the premature death of Maharana Sajjan Singh, that did not turn into a reality. His successor Maharana Fateh Singh transformed it into a place of recreation. During his tenure and after that, the Monsoon Palace was primarily used as a hunting lodge for the royal family of Mewar and their guests. Staying true to the contemporary styles of that time, Sajjangarh Palace displays a fascinating Rajput architecture, complete with high towers, turrets, balconies and pillars. It even had the facilities to harvest rainwater in unique scientific techniques.
Fateh Sagar Lake
Lying to the north-west of udaipur, Fateh Sagar Lake is a sparkling lake which is one of the major tourist spots in the city. Surrounded by the Aravalli Hills, it is the second largest artificial lake in the city and is known for its scenic beauty. The atmosphere here is calm, and tourists are bound to find themselves enthralled by the blanket of tranquillity the place warms them up with. One can witness the circumference of the Fateh Sagar Lake by driving on the Moti Magri Road and get a fantastic view of the entire lake. Apart from enjoying a laid-back afternoon in the serene beauty of this destination, you can also try your hand at boating and a number of other water sports that are available here for the visitors.
The Fateh Sagar Lake is sprawled over an area of one square kilometre and is divided into three distinct islands. The largest of these is called the Nehru Park and houses a boat-shaped restaurant and a small zoo for kids. It also doubles as a famous picnic spot. The second island has a public park with water-jet fountains. The third island comprises of the best solar observing site in all of Asia, the Udaipur Solar Observatory. Being one of the four lakes in the city, people often flock here to enjoy boating on the surreal blue waters and look at the scenic beauty. Its surreal beauty and quaint charms have made it one of the most popular weekend destinations and is a must visit for anyone touring the city.
Vintage Car Museum
Located just a few kilometers away from the magnificent City Palace Vintage Car Museum is an awesome place for automobile and car lovers.
Moving away from the grand forts, castles and pristine lakes that Udaipur is so well known for, the Vintage Car Museum makes an interesting diversion. The museum is a collection of a good many vintage automobile models used by the Mewar dynasty of Udaipur. The Mewar dynasty happens to be one of the most opulent Rajput rulers, leading plush and luxurious lifestyles. Here at the Vintage Car Museum, you will get a tiny glimpse of it in the Rolls Royce and Mercedes models, which were previously custom-made and owned by the royal members of the Mewar family.
The premises of the museum was originally the Mewar State Motor Garage, or the Palace Garage, now under the HRH group owned by the current heir of the Mewar family, Rana Shri Arvind Singh Mewar. The museum was inaugurated by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, the founder of the National Motor Museum of England on February 15, 2000. Among the most popular displays of the Vintage Car Museum are the 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom which was used in the famous James Bond movie Octopussy and the Cadillac convertible that escorted Queen Elizabeth back to the airport in 1961. There are around 20 more antique pieces here that you can feast your eyes on if you are a motor lover, like four more Rolls Royces, one MG-TC Convertible, two Cadillacs, one Ford-A Convertible, one Vauxhall-12 and solar-powered rickshaws.