Udaipur lies in the Girwa valley in the middle of the Aravali hill and is described as a romantic city with its lakes, gardens, temple and palaces. It was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia dynasty of Rajput, when he shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur. It remained as the capital city till 1818 when it became a British princely state, and thereafter the Mewar province became a part of Rajasthan when India gained independence in 1947.
1. UDAIPUR CITY PALACE
The City Palace stands over Lake Pichola. It has beautiful balconies, cupolas, and towers of the palace give a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding city. This complex consists of four major and several minor palaces that collectively form the magnificent City Palace. The main part of the palace is preserved as a museum displaying artifacts.
2. LAKE PALACE
Currently a hotel, but was originally called Jagniwas and served as a summer palace. Built between 1743 and 1746 on the island near Jagmandir in Lake Pichola, the palace, which faces east, is a wondrous sight to behold. The walls are made of black and white marbles and adorned with semi-precious stones and ornamented niches. Gardens, fountains, pillared terraces, and columns line its courtyards.
3. JAG MANDIR
Jagmandir is a palace constructed on an island on the Lake Pichola. Also called the ‘Lake Garden Palace’, the construction for this began in 1620 and was completed around 1652. The royal family used the palace as its summer resort and for hosting parties. Interestingly, Prince Khurram – later Emperor Shah Jahan – was given shelter here when he rebelled against his father Emperor Jahangir. The Palace had such an impact on Emperor Shah Jahan that it went on to become the inspiration for one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World, The Taj Mahal.
4. MONSOON PALACE – SAJJANGARH
It is situated outside Udaipur; this 19th-century palace is built on top of Bansdara hills. It was used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge, its builder, Maharana Sajjan Singh, originally planned to make it an astronomical center. The plan was cancelled with Maharana Sajjan Singh’s premature death. It is still an amazing sight on the Udaipur skyline and offers spectacular views of the city and the areas around.
5. JAGDISH TEMPLE
It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the structure is an architectural marvel with carved pillars, graceful ceilings and painted walls. This three-storied temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh I. An example of the Indo-Aryan style of architecture, Jagdish Temple was built in 1651 and continues to be one of the most famous temples in and around Udaipur.
6. FATEH SAGAR LAKE
It is delightful lake, bordered by hills and woodlands, lies to the north of Lake Pichola. This artificial lake is connected to Lake Pichola by a canal. The lake houses the beautiful Nehru Island as well as an islet on which stands the Udaipur Solar Observatory. It was inaugurated by the Duke of Connaught and was initially called Connaught Bundh.
7. LAKE PICHOLA
Picholi was the name of a village that lent its name to the lake. The islands of Jagniwas and Jagmandir are housed in this lake. Along the eastern banks of the lake lies the City Palace. A boat ride in the lake around sunset offers a breathtaking view of the Lake and City Palace.
8. SAHELIYON KI BARI
Built by Maharana Sangram Singh II as a garden for women, Saheliyon-ki-Bari or the Garden of the Maidens is a popular tourist destination. Along with a small museum, it has several attractions such as marble elephants, fountains, kiosks and a lotus pool.
9. BAGORE KI HAVELI
Bagore-ki-Haveli is located by Lake Pichola, at Gangaur Ghat. Amar Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar, built it in the 18th century. The massive palace has over a hundred rooms that display costumes and modern art. The glass and mirrors in the interiors are structured in classical haveli style.
10. BHARATIYA LOK KALA MANDAL
It is dedicated to the study of folk art, culture, songs and festivals of Rajasthan, Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh, Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal is a cultural institution in Udaipur. Besides propagating folk culture, it also has a museum that exhibits various artifacts of Rajasthani culture.
11. UDAIPUR SOLAR OBSERVATORY
The Udaipur Solar Observatory is built on an island in the Fateh Sagar Lake. Being surrounded by water reduces air turbulence caused by ground heat and makes the location perfect for an observatory. It is modeled after the Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake in Southern California.
12. JAISAMAND LAKE
Jaisamand Lake is known for being the second largest man-made sweet water lake in Asia. It is popular among the locals as a weekend picnic destination. Locals say that the lake was constructed to halt the waters of Ruparel River. This lake boasts of a large island, which is home to various species of birds, at its center.