An idyllic place for romantics at heart, Udaipur is undoubtedly one of the best places to holiday in Rajasthan. Adorned with pretty palaces and the scenic lakes, this popular tourist place has so much to offer to the couples and history lovers. A perfect destination for honeymoon tour, family vacation as well as holiday with friends, this prized possession of Rajasthan is definitely a must visit. The charming Udaipur draws the attention of the tourists with its enormous lakes, awe-inspiring palaces and quite scrumptious food. The city is like a fresh breath of air as it is adorned with multiple of lakes in a desert state. Udaipur is home to many popular Hindu temples, thus a pilgrimage tour is also a great idea in this tourist place in Rajasthan. Another important aspect of Udaipur tourism is the reflection of rich Rajasthani culture. The city has cultural village that offers an opportunity to take glance at the opulent art and craft; cuisine and dance and music forms of Rajasthan.
City Palace: Placed in the middle of Aravalli ranges, City Palace exhibits the rich display of artifacts of medieval period and European era. The City palace provides a spectacular view of Lake Pichola which is one of the largest and the oldest lakes in Udaipur. The complex designs made on tough grounds symbolizes the roughness and compassion of ancient rulers. The Palace was built around 400 years back and was put up during the time when the city of Udaipur was established, by Maharana Uday Singh and his successors in 1559.The palace complex has many gateways, palaces, halls and a museum inside. The palace is a mélange of rich Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese styles. The exquisitely designed interiors include balconies, towers and cupolas which are a blend of impressive mirror and marble work, intricate wall-paintings, silver works, decorative work and leftovers of colored glass.
Getting inside the City Palace there are several gateways- Amar Vilas, Badi Mahal, Amar Vilas, Chini Chitrashala, Choti Chitrashali, Dilkhusha Mahal, Durbar Hall, Fateprakash Palace, Jagdish Mandir, Krishna Vilas, Laxmi Vilas Chowk, Manak Mahal, Mor Chowk , Rang Bhawan, Sheesh Mahal and a museum.
Jagdish Mandir: Jagdish Mandir is a holy shrine that is associated with Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu. The presiding deity inside the temple is of Lord Jagannath in black stone. In front of the temple is the statue of Garuda (the bird), carrier of Lord Vishnu.Designed in Indo-Aryan styles, the walls and tower of the temple are decorated with scenes from Lord Vishnu’s life and statues of nymphs and apsaras.
City Palace Museum: The city palace museum is a part of palace complex that exhibits a monkey holding a lamp, Maharaja flaunting his moustaches and many other objects and artifacts including photographs, paintings, and sculptures in silver.
Lake Pichola: Edged with hills, gardens, temples, bathing ghats (chabutaras), havelis - Lake Pichola means ‘the backyard’ is an artificial fresh water lake in Udaipur. The beauty of the lake, the picturesque images of the monuments on the water and the lush green surroundings make this place perfect to visit. Surrounded by the Aravali hills, Pichola Lake gets maximum deep at the time of heavy rains, but dry up at the time of severe drought. Rainwater is the main source to fill this lake and when there is more water in the lake, it attracts a lot of Indian and Foreign tourists. Named after the nearby Picholi Village, two islands locally known as Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are located within Pichola Lake.
Bagore ki Haveli: The 18th century Rajput masterpiece situated at the heart of City of Palaces, Udaipur – Bagore Ki Haveli beside Lake Pichola is a gem. The palace is accessed from the Gangori Ghat in Lake Pichola. A must visit location for every cultural explorer and history buff. This palace of mirrors was constructed by the former prime minister of the Mewar province Amarchand Badwa. The palace is majestically designed by craftsmen of that era and hence it depicts the art of that time. The walls tell a colourful tale from a vibrant past. Beautiful glasswork and mural paintings from Mewar adorns the walls of the palace. It is an illustrious palace decorated by mirrors especially the Queen’s chamber is the one to look out for. It has glassworks of peacocks adorning the walls. This opulent structure consisting of hundreds of rooms was built during the reins of 4 successive Maharajas of Mewar from 1751-1778 and was the private property of the Mewar Royal Family till independence. Presently the government uses it as a cultural centre for western India with a fully functional museum and various musical activities occurring throughout the year. The Dharohar dance festival showcasing Rajasthan’s rich cultural festival is a regular affair occurring every evening here.
Lake Fatehsagar: Named after Maharana Fateh Singh, Fateh Sagar Lake was initially constructed by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678 AD. However, after a span of 200 years, the earthen bund, which formed the lake, was washed away during floods. Thereafter, Maharana Fateh Singh built the Connaught Dam on the Lake to mark the visit of Duke of Connaught, son of Queen Victoria in 1888 AD. The dam enlarged the lake and was later renamed as Fateh Sagar Lake. Fateh Sagar is 2.4 km length, 1.6 km width and 11.5 meter in depth. During the monsoons, the lake covers the total area of around 1 sq. km. The source of water of the lake is the run-off emerging from surrounding hills. The lake comprises three small islands and is surrounded by scenic views of the mighty Aravalli Mountains. The largest of these is the Nehru Park, which is a popular tourist attraction, the second island houses a public park with an impressive water-jet fountain, and the third island is the address for the Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO).
Saheliyon-ki-Bari: Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Courtyard of the Maidens) is a major garden, lies in northern part of the city. It was built by Maharana Bhopal Singh. Saheliyon ki Bari means Garden of the Maidens. Sahelion Ki Bari' was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry. The garden set below the embankment of the Fateh Sagar Lake has beautiful 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. Each water channel has its distinct sound and the mingling of these sounds complement the ambience of the place.
Eklingji Temple: Eklingji (Shiva) is said to be the guardian deity of Mewar. This deity was regarded as the virtual ruler, by the Maharajas of Mewar. This temple is said to have been founded by Acharya Viswaroopa, a contemporary of Adi Sankaracharya. The temple occupies an area of about 2500 sq. feet and is about 65 feet in height. The temple area is fortified and a strong wall runs around it. The main entrance to the temple on the Western side welcomes visitors into a big hall resting on profusely carved pillars.Other deities housed in the temple complex include Parvati, Ganesh, Ganga, Kartikeya , Yamuna and Saraswathi. There are also small temples dedicated to Ambamata, Kalka Mata and Ganesh in the temple complex.There are two tanks situated on the Northern side of the temple - Karz Kund and Tulsi Kund. Water from these tanks is utilized for temple services.
Vintage Car Museum: Vintage Car Museum offers auto enthusiasts an opportunity to admire some of the finest and well maintained automobiles from the 20th century. Owned and maintained by the Royal Family, the museum was opened to the public in 2000 and houses some of the rarest vintage automobiles in the world, which include several Rolls Royce and Mercedes models. This vintage environment surrounds visitors, enticing them to relish every piece of British, German and American engineering excellence. Particularly helpful are the amiable staff who are more than happy to talk to enthusiasts and take them through the history of the cars which the museum houses. The royal garage routinely services each vehicle and ensures that they are in top running order.
Srinathji Temple Nathdwara: The Shrinathji temple of Nathdwara, dedicated to Lord Krishna belongs to the Vaishnav religion. It is located in Nathdwara, approximately 48km to the north of Udaipur on the banks of river Banas. As thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all parts of the world pass the lofty mountains and serene lakes of Udaipur, it is impossible for them to resist visiting this important pilgrim centre. Nathdwara is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site which enshrines Shrinathji - an image of Krishna, originally enshrined at the Vraja Bhoomi at Mount Govardhana near Mathura. The name Nathdwara means 'Gate of the Lord'.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS:
Shilpgram Mahotsav: The art and craft village of Udaipur, Shilpgram conducts an annual fair for 10 days, usually conducted in the month of November/ December, to promote the crafts of Rajasthan. Shilpgram crafts mela is the perfect place that encourages urban potters, designers and visual artists by giving them an opportunity to interact and learn from each other to improve their skills. The artists and craftsmen from all over the country come down to this village to display and sell their products. Visitors can get hand woven cloths, camel leather items, embroideries, handicrafts and mirror works from the Shilpgram crafts mela. The stalls are displayed with pictures portraying the life style of weavers and local artists to make people aware about the condition of artists.
In Shilpgram crafts mela, a program is organized by the name of Shilpdarshan to expose the skills of performing artists and to sell their commodities. Demonstration workshops are also conducted here for those who are interested in arts and crafts. Dance and music concerts are also conducted as a part of Shilpgram crafts mela to entertain the visitors.
Mewar Festival: Mewar is celebrated in the beautiful city of Udaipur, Rajasthan to welcome spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur celebrated all over Rajasthan and has a unique charm about it. The festival is very significant for women. It is a time for them to dress up in their best clothes and participate in the festival. The main highlight of the festival is the procession of colorfully attired women carrying images of the Goddess Gauri to the gangaur ghat of Lake Pichola. Festivities include joyous singing, dancing, devotional music concerts and firework displays. Once the religious part of the festival is over, it is time for cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dances and other programs.
SHOPPING: WHAT TO BUY?
Udaipur shopping gives tourists an opportunity to get the best of paintings, artifacts, metal furniture, contemporary art, miniature, jewelry, handicrafts, rugs, carpets and many more. Udaipur is often dubbed as shoppers' paradise. The different shopping areas bring out the variety of Udaipur which is thoroughly enjoyed by the tourists. Some other major attractions of the shops of this city include Pichwai paintings, Phad paintings, bright turbans, kundan jewelry, precious stones, silver jewelry and many more.
A popular shopping area in Udaipur, Chetak Circle is flocked by tourists throughout the year. This shopping area is known for selling a variety of Rajasthani items. Some of the most popular products include turbans, folk toys, dye saris, silver jewelry, fabrics painted by hand, painted box made of wood, valuable stones, handmade papers, brassware and many more.
Some other popular shopping areas of Udaipur are Bada Bazaar, Jadish Temple for its stalls, Hathi Pol, Bapu Bazaar and Palace Road.