Udaipur is the capital of the district of Mewar in Rajasthan, India. Udaipur is famous for its lakes, palaces, forts, temples, gardens, and romantic backdrops. It was the setting of many movies, including the 13th James Bond film, Octopussy. In this post we listed some of the best places to visit in Udaipur.
Zenana Mahal (Women’s Palace).
The palace of mirrors and glasses was built in 1716. A shrine of Dhuni Mata is also located in the complex. This location is considered as the oldest part of the Palace, where a sage spent his entire life meditating.
A pillared hall with glass and mirror mosaic decorations is integral to the inner courts of the palace. The elaborate design of this chamber consists of three peacocks (representing the three seasons of summer, winter and monsoon) modeled in high relief and faced with coloured glass mosaic, built into successive niches in the wall area or jharoka. These were built during Maharana Sajjan Singh’s reign, 200 years after the palace was established. The peacocks have been crafted with 5000 pieces of glass, which shine in green, gold and blue colours. In an adjoining chamber, called the Kanch-ki-Burj, mosaic of mirrors adorn the walls. The Badi Charur Chowk within this chowk is a smaller court for private use. Its screen wall has painted and inlaid compositions depicting European men and Indian women.
Another chamber in Fatehprakash Palance with rich collection of miniature paintings that portray royal processions, festivals and games of the Maharanas. However, there is tragic story linked to this wing of the City Palace. In the nineteenth century, a royal princess was unable to choose from two suitors seeking her hand in marriage, one from the royal family of Jaipur and another from Jodhpur, and hence in a state of dilemma, she poisoned herself to death.
Now run as luxury hotel and inaccessible to public viewing has a crystal gallery that consists of crystal chairs, dressing tables, sofas, tables, chairs and beds, crockery, table fountains which were never used. There is also a unique jewel studded carpet here.
Badi Mahal is the exotic central garden palace that is situated on a 27 metres (89 ft) high natural rock formation vis-a-vis the rest of the palace. The rooms on the ground floor appear to be at the level of the fourth floor in view of the height difference to its surrounding buildings.
Badi Mahal (Garden Palace).
Udaipur City Palace: A complex of small and big palaces, museums and gardens encompassing a rich blend of Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese architecture. One of the most beautiful palatial structures in Rajasthan. Originally built by Maharana Uday Singh II, it rises 30 meters above Lake Pichola and extends up to 244 meters. The palace complex has been built entirely in granite and marble. The interior with its balconies, towers and cupolas exhibits delicate mirror work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, inlay work and colored glass mosaics. The complex provides a fine view of the lake and the city from its upper terraces. Entrance: ₹250; Phone/Camera Fee: ₹250.
The uppermost court inside the complex, which is a raised garden. It provides entry to the Badi Mahal. It is a pleasure pavilion built in Mughal style. It has cusped arcades enclosing a square marble tub. ‘Amar Vilas’ is the highest point of the City palace and has wonderful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces.
Built in 1909 within the Fatepraksh Palace (now a heritage hotel), the hall was used by the royal ladies to observe the court proceedings. This hall has luxuriant interion with some unusually large chandeliers. Weapons of the maharanas and also some of their unique portraits are also depicted here.
Located 150m north of the palace in Indo-Aryan architectural style, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple walls and the shikara or tower are decorated with carvings of Vishnu, scenes from Lord Krishna’s life and figurines of nymphs or apsaras. The street square, where the temple is located, is also known as Jagdish Chowk from where several roads radiate in different directions.
Approach from the Manak Chowk, the palace has a raised alcove inlaid completely in mirror glass. One of the prominent emblems of Sun is depicted on the façade of the Manak Chowk, which can also be seen from the outermost court.
Mor Chowk (Peacock Square)
The palace that used to contain royal treasure. There are temples of Lord Krishna, Meerabai and Shiva, located here.
Proceeding further from the Mor Chowk, in the Zenana Mahal or women’s quarters (now converted into museum) is exquisitely designed alcoves, balconies, coloured windows, tiled walls and floors are seen.
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Fateh Sagar Lake
An artificial lake constructed by Maharana in north of Lake Pichola in 1678 and to the north-west of Udaipur. Within the confines of the Fateh Sagar Lake, there are three small islands.; the largest of these is called the Nehru Park, 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. Every year a festival called the Hariyali Amavasya Mela (Green New Moon Fair) is organized at the lake precincts, in the month of August/September.
An artificial fresh water lake, created in the year 1362 AD, named after the nearby Picholi village. The lake’s surroundings and the several islands within the lake have been developed over the centuries, with palaces, marble temples, family mansions, and bathing ghats. The famous Lake Palace (now converted into a heritage hotel) is located in the middle of the lake. Two islands, Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are located within Pichola Lake. Local buses, Tongas, auto-rickshaws and taxis provide the needed transport.
Saheliyon ki Badi
This is a park situated in the middle of Fateh Sager Lake. This park covers about 41 acres (170,000 m2), with flower gardens and a lily pond. It was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The garden overlooks the ancient Moti Mahal of Maharana Pratap and gives a view of the Aravalli hills on three sides.
A rock and fountain garden and the sunset point from which one can enjoy the sunset view in Lake Pichhola and a panoramic view of the old city. Also one can enjoy the Aerial tramway (rope way) which connects one of the dudh talai gardens to Karni Mata temple.
A rose garden laid out by Maharaja Sajjan Singh is situated near the palace on the east side of Lake Pichhola. A library in the garden has a collection of ancient handwritten manuscripts and books. Within the garden, there is a zoo with tigers, leopards, chinkara gazelle, birds, and many wild animals. Children can enjoy mini train, track of which covers the main part of the garden and the zoo. All major wild animals are shifted to Sajjangarh Biological Park.
Sahelion ki Bari
Built by Maharana Bhopal Singh. Saheliyon ki Bari means Garden of the Maids. This garden area lies in northern part of the city and has fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. Each water channel has its distinct sound and the mingling of these sounds complement the ambience of the place. There is also a small museum here. 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.
An 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 and it is now a museum. The palace has over a hundred rooms, with displays of costumes and modern art. The building has a large and exquisite collection of Mewar painting and glassworks.
Other Attractions in Udaipur
A very good place to spend your evening. This place has a small zoo, magic show, puppet show, nat ka tamasha, dance shows and to top it all a nice Rajasthani dinner – unlimited of course. The ticket is about ₹250 per person. The shows start in the evening around 5-6PM.
The Ahar Cenotaphs are a group of royal cenotaphs located in Ahar, about 2km east of Udaipur. The site contains more than 250 cenotaphs of the maharajas of Mewar that were built over approximately 350 years. There are 19 chhatris that commemorate the 19 maharajas who were cremated here.
A large roundabout in the city’s northern suburb of Panchwati, on the road to Ranakpur and Mt. Abu. centrepiece of the Circle is a large, three-tiered fountain just over 21 m. high, with scalloped dishes surmounted by a wheat-ear motif, representing prosperity. Illuminated at night, it is now a well-known landmark.
Located on an island in the Fateh Sagar Lake, the observatory is claimed to be one of the Asia’s largest. The observatory was built in the year 1976 by Dr. Arvind Bhatanagar following the model of the Solar Observatory at Big Bear lake in Southern California. Please note it is not open to general public. You have to take permission to enter the observatory.
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