Udaipur, formerly the capital of the Mewar Kingdom, is a city in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559, it’s set around a series of artificial lakes and is known for its lavish royal residences. City Palace, overlooking Lake Pichola, is a monumental complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens, famed for its intricate peacock mosaics.
City Palace, Udaipur
Standing on the east bank of Lake Pichola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate – the Tripolia, built in 1725. This gate leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping partitions, terraces, corridors and gardens. The palace now houses a museum with many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils from the royal era.
Situated over an island in Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace was constructed to serve as a royal summer palace. Built of white marble, the palace is now a luxury 5 Star hotel, operating under the “Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces” banner.
Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. Also known as the “Lake Garden Palace”, it was constructed by three Maharanas of the Mewar kingdom. The construction started in 1551 and was completed by 1652. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabh dev, the first Jain Tirthankara. The fifty-two pinnacles of the temple are seen from a long distance. The main idol in the temple is of Tirthankara Rishabha, carved in black stone in padmasana posture, about 3.5 feet (1.1 m) tall.
Monsoon Palace, also known as Sajjan Garh Palace, was built as an astronomical center to keep track of the movement of monsoon clouds in the area and also served as the summer resort of the Maharanas. Built with white marble, it is located on Bansdara peak of the Aravalli hill range at an elevation of 944 m (3100 ft) above mean sea level. The palace has view of the city’s lakes, palaces, and surrounding countryside.
The Jagdish Temple is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur, built by Maharana Jagat Singh I. A key tourist place in the city, this temple is an example of Maru-Gurjara architecture.
Lake Fatehsagar is an artificial lake situated in the north-west part of Udaipur. The lake was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh and later reconstructed and extended by Maharana Fateh Singh. It also houses an aquarium named ‘Under the Sun’ inaugurated in 2017.
Sukhadia Circle (square) is large roundabout in the city’s northern suburb and is a recreational centre. The square has in its centre, a small pond amidst which lies a 21 ft high three-tiered fountain. The fountain, made of marble is surmounted by a wheat-ear motif, a symbol of prosperity.
Sahelion ki Bari
Sahelion ki Bari is a garden and tourist space in the northern part of the city. The garden with its fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants, was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.
Lake Pichola is an artificial freshwater lake and is one of the several contiguous lakes in the city of Udaipur. The lake’s surroundings and the several islands within the lake have been developed over the centuries, with palaces, marble temples, family mansions, bathing ghats (Gangaur Ghat, Ambrai Ghat, Hanuman Ghat) and chabutaras (a raised platform, normally within a courtyard)
Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, is a memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap. It is basically a small hill, atop of which there is a bronze statue of the Maharana astride his favourite horse “Chetak”. It was initiated by Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar, and carried over and completed with the help of public trust.
Neemach Mata Temple
Neemach mata is located on a hill near Fateh Sagar Lake. The temple is 900 meters above on the top of the hill. This location provides a holistic view of entire Udaipur.
Karni Mata Temple
Karni mata temple is located at Doodh Talai near Pichola. There is a rope-way which takes visitors to a hill at which this temple is located. There are views of Pichola Lake, Jag Mandir and Doodh Talai. From the top one can view the whole city.
Pratap Gaurav Kendra
Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirtha is situated at Tiger Hill. It was started by the Veer Shromani Maharana Pratap Samiti, and aims at providing information about Maharana Pratap and the historical heritage of the area with the help of modern technology.
Gulab Bagh and Zoo
Gulab Bagh is the largest garden in Udaipur, situated at heart of the city. It is known for a wide variety plantation and includes various attractions including ponds, a library, toy train, zoological park, temples and a religious place for Arya Samaj, as well as several government offices.
Pratap Park is a garden situated near the bank of Pichola Lake. It has an open gymnasium and several other attractions. It has gained attraction due to the human-sized alphabets reading “I LOVE UDAIPUR”, with a view of Lake Pichola and City Palace in the background.
Gangaur is one of the most important local festivals in Rajasthan. In some form or the other it is celebrated all over Rajasthan. “gan” is a synonym for Lord Shiva and “Gauri” or “gaur” stands for Goddess Parvati, the heavenly consort of Lord Shiva. Gangaur celebrates the union of the two and is a symbol of conjugal and marital happiness.
It is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March-April), the first month of the Hindu calendar. This month marks the end of winter and the onset of spring. This festival is celebrated especially by women, who worship clay idols of “Gan” & “Gauri” in their houses. These idols are worshiped by the girls who seek the blessings of Gan and Gauri for a good spouse, while the married women pray for the good health and long life of their husbands. On the eve of the Gangaur festival, women decorate their palms and fingers with henna. Udaipur has the privilege of having a dedicated Ghat named after Gangaur. Gangaur Ghat or Gangori Ghat is situated on the waterfront of Lake Pichola. This ghat serves as a prime location for the celebration of multiple festivals, including the Gangaur festival. The idols of Gan and Gauri are immersed in the Lake Pichola from this ghat.
A traditional procession of Gangaur commences from the City Palace which passes through various areas of the city. The procession is headed by old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts, and performance by folk artists.
Shilpgram, a crafts village 3 km west of Lake Fateh Sagar, has displays of traditional houses from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, and Maharashtra. There are also demonstrations by musicians, dancers, or artisans from these states. The 10-day festival organized here is a treat for the visitor to an array of exquisite art and craft. One of the important objectives of the Shilpgram festival is in the sphere of increasing awareness and knowledge of rural life and crafts, specifically, for the younger generation. Special emphasis is laid on workshops for children on arts, crafts, theatre, and music.
Hariyali Amavasya (new moon day of the Sawan / Shravan month) marks the beginning of the monsoons and greenery. It arrives three days before the famous Hartalika Teej (Shravan Shukla Tritiya). People worship God Shiva for abundant rains and good agricultural season. Melas and fests are arranged in several places in the city.
Jagannath Rath Yatra
In Udaipur, the third biggest Ratha-Yatra is organized on the auspicious day of Ashadh Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) Dwitiya according to Indian Vikram Samvat. On this cultural day of summer solstice theme, June 21 of every year, the journey of the Lord Jagannath to their aunt’s house is started. The presiding deities of the temple lord Jagannath (Krishna), Balabhadra (Balarama) and their sister Subhadra are taken through the streets in heavily decorated wooden chariots, which are made every year for the purpose. The Chariot of Lord Jagannath, called Nandighosha, has 16 wheels and is draped in red and yellow.
The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages.
According to the Hindu calendar, Gyaras, or Ekadashi is basically, the 11th day of each waxing (Shukla paksha) and waning moon (Krishna paksha). This Ekadashi, known as Jal-Jhulni Gyaras, or Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi, like all other festivals, is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Udaipur.