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States





Udaypur

Udaipur is known as the Venice of the east. It is also called the city of lakes. The Lake Palace on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Pichola Lakes is the finest example of its architectural and cultural explosion. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake compliments the palace along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, craft and its famed miniature paintings. The Shilp Gram festival is a center of attraction during the season .

Maharana Udai Singh II founded Udaipur in 1568 after his citadel Chittorgarh was sacked by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The legends says that Udai Singh was guided by a holy man meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake to establish his capital on this very spot. Surrounded by Aravali Range s , forests and lakes this place was less vulnerable than Chittorgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap who valiantly defended Udaipur from subsequent Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon and gallantly fought the Mughal at the Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon independence Udaipur merged in the union of India .

Forts & Monuments

City Palace
City Palace towers over the Pichola Lake . Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added several palaces and structures to the complex retained a surprising uniformity to the design. The entry to the P a lace is from the H ati P ol , the Elephant gate. The B ari P ol or the Big gate brings you to the T ripolia , the Triple gate. It was once a custom that the Maharana would weigh under this gate in gold and silver, which was distributed to the populace. It is also now the main ticket office. Balconies, cupolas and towers surmount the palace to give a wonderful view of the lake. S uraj G okhada or the balcony of the sun is where the Maharana would grant public audiences mainly to boost the morale of the people in difficult times. The M or C hawk is the peacock square and gains its name from the vivid blue mosaic in glass of a peacock that decorates its walls.

Fateh Prakash Palace
It's like being cocooned in authentic royal luxury at the Fateh Prakash Palace, the grand heritage palace of the HRH group. The warmth of royal hospitality greets you as you walk along the corridors lined with large paintings of the Mewar school that flourished in the seventeenth through nineteenth century.

The lake facing suites in the turrets are suitably appointed with four poster beds and period furniture, festooned with maroon velvet curtains and delicate silk tassels.  It's a legacy kept alive since the early decades of the twentieth century when Maharana Fateh Singh (period of reign : 1884 - 1935) used to be the royal occupant of this palace. Till date the formality of royal occasions are maintained.

Jag mandir
This is the other island palace in Lake Pichola, which was constructed by Maharana Karan Singh as a hideout for Prince Khurram the estranged son of Emperor Jehangir the implacable foe of the Maharana. The reason for the aid was that the prince was the son of a Rajput mother. It is also said that Shah Jahan [prince Khurram] derived some of these ideas for the Taj Mahal from this palace when he stayed there in 1623-24. The island has some striking carving including a row of elephants that looks as though they are guarding the island. The exquisitely carved chhatri in grey and blue stone is another example. Maharana Jagat Singh who made a number of additions to it later renovated the place. Within the palace was the temple dedicated to the Lord Jagdish and hence the name is derived from that. There is a museum detailing the history of the island as well and the neat courtyards.

Crystal Gallery
I t is situated in the Fateh Prakash Palace is a breath taking collection of crystals. Maharana Sajjan Singh mainly ordered these crystals from F & C Osler England. But he could not see the crystals because of his untimely death. The crystal item includes tables, sofa sets, dinning table, dressers, fountains and even beds besides a whole array of washing bowls, decanters and perfume bottles. There is also an exquisite jewel studded carpet, which is beyond description.

Durbar Hall
In India the Durbar Hall is generally a place where state banquets are held and is also used for formal and informal meetings. The Durbar Hall at the Fateh Prakash Palace is undoubtedly the most lavish Durbar Hall in India. It is one of the grandest chambers in Udaipur and its sheer size makes one gasp in awe. The chandelier in the middle is the most impressive and is complimented with paintings of Maharanas and various weapons adore the walls. The hall has an exquisite ceiling and is surrounded by viewing galleries from where the ladies of the palace could get a view from the privacy of their veils. Lord Minto, The Viceroy of India laid the foundation stone for the Durbar hall in 1909.

The Lake Palace
The Lake Palace is located on the Jag Niwas Island and covers the whole of 1.5 hectare of the island in the middle of the Pichola Lake. Built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743 it was meant as a royal summer palace and now converted in to a five star palace hotel . It is a magical p a lace and its image in the middle of the lake is like a leaf straight out of a fairy tale book with an excellent taste of intricate craftsmanship and the ethnic themes using the textiles and handicrafts all over highlight the beauty that is simply beyond compare the lake around makes a pleasant murmur with its rippling waves and lapping that adds to the mesmerising moments.

Bagore-Ki Haveli
This is a very congenial old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori 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. After the death Badwa the building became the property of Mewar State. It came to be occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore who built the palace of the three arches also in 1878 and it acquired its name of Bagore-ki-haveli, the house of Bagore. After independence the structure lay in neglect until 1986 when it housed the West Zone Cultural centre.

The haveli now stages delightful evening's entertainment; the pleasurable performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli. It is an ideal place for an evening entertainment while enjoying the view of Lake Pichola.

Maharana Pratap Memorial (MOTI MAGARI)
An impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap  and his favorite and loyal   horse , who was fiercely protective about his master and stood by him till his last breath, stands at the top of Moti Magri (Pearl Mount) overlooking Fateh Sagar. Local people climb the hill to pay homage to Rana Pratap and his faithful charger ' Chetak ' , who was killed in the battle of Haldighati. There are the ruins of one of the first Udaipur's forts and there is also a charming Japanese rock garden not faraway .

Museums
City Museums
The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance is the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal t wo-pronged sword. The City Palace museum is then entered throug h the Ganesh Deori meaning the door of Lord Ganesh. This leads to the Rajya Angan , the royal courtyard that is the very spot where Maharana Udai Singh met the sage who told him to find a city here. The rooms of the palace are superbly decorated with mirror tiles and paintings. M anak M ahal or the R uby P alace ha s a lovely collection of glass and mirror work while K rishna V ilas display a rich collection of miniature paintings.  M oti M ahal or the pearl palace has beautiful mirror work and the C hini M ahal has ornamental tiles all over. The S urya C hopar or the sun square depicts a huge ornamental sun symbolising the sun dynasty to which the Mewar dynasty belongs. The B ari M ahal is a central garden with view of the city. Some more beautiful paintings can be seen in the Z enana M ahal or the ladies chamber, which leads to L akshmi C howk a beautiful white pavilion.  

Shilpgram
Literally meaning  a "Craftsmen's Village" is a living ethnographic museum depicting the enormous diversities in craft, art & culture between various Indian states, but the exquisite terracotta work mainly in dark red and dark brown  sand material along with the wooden carvings are the forte of this ethnic village . Shilpgram comprises 26 huts set in 70 acres of natural surroundings at the foot of the Aravali Hills.A colourful craft festival  during winter seasons to the whole set up induces viatanity and zeal.

Ahar
Located about 2 kms east of Udaipur is an impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there. The most striking cenotaph is that Maharana Amar Singh, who reigned from 1597 to 1620. Nearby is also Ahar Museum, where on display is limited but very rare earthen pottery. Some sculptures and other archaeological finds. Some pieces date back to 1700 BC and a tenth century metal figure of Buddha is a special attraction.

Vintage Collection of Classic Car

The collection within the grounds of the Garden Hotel comprises a variety of classic and  interestingly rare transportation  vehicles; some stately and vintage like Cadalec, Chevalate, Morais etc., while the others are sleek and fast .The Maharanas of Udaipur once  possessed and used  these regal  splendours of automobiles as their luxuries but most of the other models are gradually being added to the collection ,since it provides a unique aristocratic safari for the exclusive guests.
Entry: Rs. 80
Lakes
Lake Pichola
Pichola Lake derives its name from Pichola Village was submerged and Maharana Udai Singh enlarged the lake after he founded the city. He buil t a masonry dam known as Badipol and lake is now 4 km long and 3 km wide. This picturesque lake encloses the Jag Niwas Island and the Jag Mandir. And, the City Palace extends along its eastern banks.

Fateh Sagar Lake
This delightful lake, bordered by hills and woodland was constructed by Maharana jai Singh to the north of Lake Pichola. It is an artificial lake dug up in 1678, reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh A canal links the two, via Swaroop Sagar and Rang Sagar Lakes. The beautiful Nehru Island as well as an islet bearing a solar observatory rises from the lake.
Parks
Sahelion Ki Bari
Maharana Sangram singh builds this in the mid 18th century. T he 'garden of the maidens' brings to mind the lifestyle of the ladies of the court. T he delightful garden s appear discreet and in impeccable taste. T here are four pools with dainty kiosks, and all around are flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains protected by a series of walls and shady trees. The foundation of the Sahelion ki bari function s solely by water pressure and no pumps are used. The garden has a lotus pool, a sitting room decorated with paintings and glass mosaics . The whole ambiences is flavored by the nostalgia of those beautiful bells enjoying themselves in a lavish  aura.

Maharana Pratap Memorial (MOTI MAGARI)
An impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap  and his favorite and loyal   horse , who was fiercely protective about his master and stood by him till his last breath, stands at the top of Moti Magri (Pearl Mount) overlooking Fateh Sagar. Local people climb the hill to pay homage to Rana Pratap and his faithful charger ' Chetak ' , who was killed in the battle of Haldighati. There are the ruins of one of the first Udaipur's forts and there is also a charming Japanese rock garden not faraway .

Temples
Jag mandir
This is the other island palace in Lake Pichola, which was constructed by Maharana Karan Singh as a hideout for Prince Khurram the estranged son of Emperor Jehangir the implacable foe of the Maharana. The reason for the aid was that the prince was the son of a Rajput mother. It is also said that Shah Jahan [prince Khurram] derived some of these ideas for the Taj Mahal from this palace when he stayed there in 1623-24. The island has some striking carving including a row of elephants that looks as though they are guarding the island. The exquisitely carved chhatri in grey and blue stone is another example. Maharana Jagat Singh who made a number of additions to it later renovated the place. Within the palace was the temple dedicated to the Lord Jagdish and hence the name is derived from that. There is a museum detailing the history of the island as well and the neat courtyards.

Jagdish Mandir

Built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1651 the temple enshrines a black stone image of Lard Vishnu. There is a brass image of Garuda the Lord bird carrier. The exterior and the plinth are covered with base relief of alligators; elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians rise in tiers. Chanting, bells and music can be heard throughout the day. It is the largest and most splendid temple of Udaipur.

Eklingji
A RELIGIOUS COMPLEX Northern region of Mewar (22 Kms)
It houses 108 temples chiselled out of sandstone and marble,
this temple of Eklingji was built in 734 AD. Enclosed by high walls, it is devoted to Eklingji  (A form of Shiv Deity adored under the epithet of EKLINGA ).

One of the prominent deity of the Maharanas of Mewar, worshiped as Mahadeva Chaumukhi,the quadriform divinity, represented by a bust with four faces., it has an ornate Man dap [ A pillared hall ] and the huge pyramidal roof composed of hundreds of knots very vividly carved and finely decorated with the coloured stones. Before the entrance in the main temple there is a beautifully sculpted huge Nandi [ the sacred brazen bull who is the loyal steed of Lord Shiva and has his altar attached to all his shrines .

The temple of EKLINGJI was constructed roughly in between the Uda- Nath  route, with the hills towering around it and abundant small springs of water where more or less every tourist takes a break. And locals pay homage through out the whole year.The Belief is such.

Shree Nath Ji- Nathdwara
Nathdwara lies 48 kms from Udaipur and literally means the gateway to the Lord. This great Vaishnavite shrine was built in the 17th century on spot exactly defined by the Lord himself. The legends have it that the image of the Lord Krishna was being transferred to safer place from Vrindaban to protect it from the destructive wrath of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The image when it reached the spot it vehicle the bullock carts wheel sank axel deep in mud and refused to move further. The accompanying priest realised that this was lord's chose spot and the image did not want to travel any further. Accordingly a Temple was built here.

This is revered temple and place of pilgrim amongst believers. Devotees throng the shrine in large number during occasions of "Janamashtmi" the day of Lord's birth and other festivals like Holi. The priests treat if like a living deity and tend to the lord with daily normal function like bathing- dressing meals called "prasad" and the resting times in regular intervals. The main attractions are the Arties and the Shringar. The formal prayer offered with diya, insentsticks, flowers, fruit and other offerings with local instruments and devotional songs of the Lord according to the demand of the time and occasion. The fine intricately woven shaneels & silk cloth with rea l original zari and shredded work done upon them along with tones of real jewellers, which are of antique value, looks dazzling. The view of the idol after the pardha (curtain) is removed is a spectacular sight that is simply mesmerizing leading to a melee (gully) of visitors, crowding divine lord. The mystic, spirited aura of India comes alive.
Nathdwara has a small but throbbing township around the temple. It's shopping in the bye lanes is a great revelation. It's famous for its 'pichwani' paintings, which Shri Krishna in the centre and is recognized for profuse use of gold colour.

Around Udaypur
Kumbhalgarh Fort
Located 64 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Ku m bhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Cradled in the Aravali Ranges the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Because of its inaccessibility and hostile topography the fort had remained un-conquered. It also served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife. The fort also served as refuge to the baby king Udai of Mewar. It is also of sentimental significance as it is the birthplace of Mewar ' s legendary King Maharana Partap.

The fort is self-contained and has within its amalgam almost everything to withstand a long siege. The fort fell only once that too to the combined armies of Mughal and of Amber for scarcity of drinking water. Many magnificent palaces an array of temples built by the Mauryas of which the most picturesque place is the Badal Mahal or the p a lace of the clouds. The fort also offer s a superb birds view of the surroundings. The fort ' s thick wall stretches some 36 kms and is wide enough to take eight horses abreast. Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort in the 19th century. The fort ' s large compound has very interesting ruins and the walk around it can be very rewarding.

Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh is the epitome of Rajput pride, romance and spirit. It reverberates with history of heroism and sacrifice, which is evident as it echoes with the tales sung by the Bards of Rajasthan. The main reason for visiting Chittorgarh is its massive hilltop fort, which is a depiction of Rajput culture and values. The fort stands on a 240-hectares site on an 180m high hill that rises rapidly from the plains below.

Thrice a stronger enemy sacked Chittorgarh. The first sack occurred in 1303 when a Pathan King Ala-ud-din Khilji overwhelmed by the beauty of Queen Padmini besieged the fort in order to capture the regal beauty. In 1535 Bahadur Shah the Sultan of Gujarat besieged the fort causing immense carnage and it is said that 32000 men donned the saffron robes of martyrdom and rode out to face a certain death, and the women folkes committed Jauhar (an act of self immolations by plunging in a large fire) led by Rani Karnawati.

In 1568 Mughal Emperor Akbar razed the fort to the rubble and once again the history repeated itself. In 1616 Mughal emperor Jehangir restored the fort to the Rajput but it was not resettled. Today a new township sprawls below the hill on the west side. Chittorgarh is connected by both bus and rail. The bus stand and the railway are located in the new township.

Haldighati
The extensive terra firma, towards the south west of Nathdwara, this historical site witnessed the great legendry battle fought between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal Emperor -Akbar in 1576 AD.

The vast terrain that was supposedly covered with blood (the sand turned Red in colour) evokes a chill in the spine till date and envelopes a feel of nostalgia, this was the place where the heroic  Chetak  the gallant charger with his dedicated loyalty towards his chivalrous master (the Maharana Pratap) proved his worth by co-operating till his last breath. A 'Chhatri' with delicate white marble is dedicated both to the indomitable hero and his loyal charger, is note worthy. A jeep drive to this place is rather interesting.

Ranakpur
Beautiful sculptured Jain temples mark the glory of this renowned place. Marked as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15 the century. During the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha [four faced temple] is dedicated to Adinathji the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars all distinctly carved and no two being alike is a amazing evidence of the genius sense of architecture that enhances the charm of the place. Every temple has this conceivable surface carved with equal delicacy. The ambience of Ranakpur is mainly highlighted by the location and the almost divine architecture, giving the same hue as its counter part - the great Dilwara Temple's. in Mt-Abu. Facing the main temple are the unique temples -Parasvanath - Neminath with exquisite figures carving similar to that Khujaraho  sculptures. Another temple worth visiting is the nearby 'Sun Temple' dedicated to the 'Sun God' (Surya-the master of all the planets and the provider of light to the whole universe) adorned with polygonal wall, richly embellished with the carvings of warriors, horses and solar (Nakshatras, grahs') deities riding splendid 'chariots' the vehicle of the 'Sun God'- which accordingly to the Hindu Mythology is the God of prosperity and a shining destiny in this world. Many throng this shrine for these blessings. Overall Ranakpur is known as ' The tranquil pilgrimage town'. For the buffs a ride to the outskirts like ' Sadari' - 'Desuri'- 'Ghanerao'- 'Narhai', serves the purpose of their satisfaction.

Sajjangarh
High on a hilltop just outside Udaipur lies this dramatic 18th century palace, with a breathtaking view of the Mewar countryside Originally intended to be a towering five-story astronomical centre, it was later abandoned and used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh to house and observatory and was planned as a nineteen-storied structure. However the Maharana died prematurely & the plans were curtailed. The now derelict palace dominates the skyline 2468 feet high on top of Bansdara Mountain. It is visible from a great distance & affords splendid scenic views.

Ghanerao
Is a small town famous for its castle now converted into a hotel. The castle's highlight in the pavilion in the central court, where the musicians would perform. Also near the castle are the cenotaphs of former rulers. Mahavir Temple, a Jain Temple is also one of the highlights of the town.

Lakes Near Udaipur
Jaisamand (51kms)
Maharana Jai Sigh had built this picturesque artificial lake. It the second largest lake in Asia. The lake has elegant step leading to the water and marble Chhatri (cenotaphs) on its bank and a small Shiv temple marks the grace of the lake. On either side are the palaces built for the king favourite queens. The local tribe for Bhils  still inhabit the island. The lake attracts several species of migratory birds while the wild life sanctuary, is a home for different species of animals like 'Panther', 'Wild Boar', 'Deer  from horned 'Antelopes' (a rare species to be seen) 'mongoose' etc. The island resort is worth visiting after an adventurous trek in the wild for a close encounter with the fauna. Jeep rides are the best.

Rajsamand Lake
On the way to Kumbhalgarh lies their royal lake with a magnificent dam created in the 17th century offers a spectacular views of the sunset adorned by beautiful Torans [arches] and Chhatris And number of attractive pavilions. Stunning sculpture and Sanskrit verses are vividly inscribed in store a small counterpart of Nathdwara.
Wild Life
Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary
Fair & Festival
Shilpgram
Literally meaning  a "Craftsmen's Village" is a living ethnographic museum depicting the enormous diversities in craft, art & culture between various Indian states, but the exquisite terracotta work mainly in dark red and dark brown  sand material along with the wooden carvings are the forte of this ethnic village . Shilpgram comprises 26 huts set in 70 acres of natural surroundings at the foot of the Aravali Hills.A colourful craft festival  during winter seasons to the whole set up induces viatanity and zeal.

Mewar Festival

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