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Udaipur is one of the most famous historical places of Rajasthan in Western India. This city is also known as The City of Lakes. Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II as the final capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom. Legend has it that Maharana Udai Singh II came upon a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravali Range. The hermit blessed the king and asked him to build a palace on the spot, assuring him it would be well protected. Maharana Udai Singh II consequently established a residence on this site. In 1568, the Mughal emperor Akbar captured the fort of Chittor, and Udai Singh moved the Mewar capital to this very site of his residence which became the city of Udaipur.
Udaipur became a princely state of British India in the year of 1818. As the Mughal empire weakened, th Sisodia Ranas, and later Maharanas also called Suryavanshi (descendants of Sun God), who had always tried to oppose Mughal dominance, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar except for Chittor. Udaipur remained the capital of the state. Udaipur is also recognized for its palaces and vistas. These palaces are the symbols of romance, war, architecture, and the history of mankind.
Most Romantic City of India
Udaipur, also known as the Venice of The East, is the most awe-inspiring destination in India, its rich history and heritage is befitting its picturesque setting. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559, it has many manmade lakes and palaces, and fondly referred to as Rajasthan’s most romantic city. Udaipur combines traditional beauty with scenic surroundings and association with a glorious past. It stands in a valley, amidst green hills, on the banks of the wide, steel-blue Lake Pichola. Marble palaces rise from little islands in the lake, merging in the blue skies. The Maharana’s palace crowns the ridge on which the city clusters. Udaipur is replete with fantastic hill top fortresses, exotic fairy tale palaces and gripping legends of medieval chivalry and heroism. Udaipur rivals any of the world’s famous creations of the Mughals with the Rajput love of the whimsical!!
Sightseeing, shopping and eating in Udaipur- Suggestions and Options:
Go sightseeing in Udaipur. Start your exciting journey at Lake Pichola. This is the famous lake in Udaipur, where Taj Lake Palace is situated. The Lake palace covers an entire island in Lake Pichola. Many of the old palaces have been converted into plush arenas, providing ideal setting for travelers to luxuriate and enjoy hotel’s hospitality. You can witness the magnificent beauty of the lake, enjoy a boat ride and let the exotic warmth of the place seep into your senses.
Visit City Palace, which is a conglomeration of buildings added to by various Maharanas; despite this, the palace manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design. The entrance is through Hathi Pol along the main street of the old city, past the Jagdish Temple. The Mor-Chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the mosaics in glass decorating its walls. The China chitrashala is noteworthy while a series of wall paintings of lord Krishna are on display in Bhim Vilas. There are numerous other places such as Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Moti Mahal. The Krishna Vilas reminds of the Princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival Prince. The paintings, mosaics, intricately carved chhatris and the architecturally brilliant façade, all contribute to make a visit to the City Palace a truly memorable experience.
Visit the Crystal Gallery, located in the Fateh Prakash Palace—it contains a rare collection of Osler’s crystal ordered from England by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877. Take a stroll through Sahelion Ki Bari (Garden of the Maids). You can also visit Swaroop Sagar, Udai Sagar and Fateh Sagar lakes in this ‘City of Lakes’.
Other Sights in Udaipur include:
- Bagor ki haveli
- Nehru park
- Jain temple
- Dudh Talai
- Sajjangarh fort & wildlife sanctuary
- Ahar Museum
- Bhartiya Lok kala Mandir
Shopping experience in Udaipur
Being an important city of Rajasthan and India as well, Udaipur has the tints of bright colors and you can certainly discover these gorgeous hues in every corner of its lively markets. Udaipur has myriad number of small shops, big showrooms and roadside stalls that would offer you an extensive variety to choose from.
Udaipur offers an exquisite range of handicrafts and souvenirs to the travelers. These items range from hand-made toys, colorful puppets, intricate wall hangings, wooden pen stands and quills, beautiful cloth lanterns, handmade papers, etc. There is also an assortment of pottery that can be availed in both metal and mud. Pottery covers all kinds of pots, plates, vessels and different kinds of containers. Apart from this, brassware and terracotta sculptures are also popular. Regarding clothes, you can grab traditional clothes in batik and hand prints. Dyed saris and textile are also famous among the tourists. Silver jewelry is the main attraction and there is much to choose from to complete your ensembles. Around the streets of City Palace, you will find ethnic miniature paintings that are made in the creative style of the Mewar School of Art.
Coming to the Bazaars, Hathi Pol, Bada Bazaar, Chetak Circle, Bada Bazaar and Palace Road are some of the popular shopping arcades of Udaipur. Also, emporiums like Rajasthali and Sadhna offer a variety of products under a single roof; you will get the quality products at a fixed price here. However, the real charm of shopping comes in exploring the streets of Udaipur bargaining with the local vendors. So, while touring Udaipur take out some time to shop in the vibrant markets of Udaipur.
Eating Out in Udaipur
Udaipur offers exotic and mouth watering array of cuisines, for both vegetarian and non vegetarian gastronomes. Influenced by Vaishnavism, Udaipur cuisine is primarily debarred of non-vegetarian dishes. Udaipur is famous for its Dal-Baati-Churma, Gatte-Ki-Sabzi, Kachori and Mirchi Bada. Meals are usually comprised of lentils, vegetables and a fantastic variety of spices to pamper your taste buds. Lentil curries, yoghurt soups with deep fried breads and chilli fritters complete the feast. Okra, dried mango and Sangri (thin beans) go together with most of the dishes.
However, for people who love non-vegetarian food, there are many restaurants that can surprise the visitors with their offerings. There is a strong presence of multi-cuisine restaurants that provide cuisine to suit every palette – ranging from Chinese and Thai to Continental and Italian food.
Submerge in the essence of India with the magnificent Udaivilas. Winner of several awards, Udaivilas, offers fine international cuisine, authentic flavors of Rajasthan or an option to enjoy a quiet drink, all presented with views of the City Palace and Lake Pichola. The atmosphere helps you unwind appropriately in the lap of luxury as you savor mouth watering delicacies.
Taj Lake Palace’s fantastic location complements sublime cuisine in exquisite restaurants. Asian, Indian, Contemporary Western, Italian dishes and cocktails are all taken to the highest level in the hands of their master chefs. Resident Guests can choose a restaurant by the lily pond, poolside or on the rooftop. Royal butlers are on hand to arrange a private table anywhere that suits guest preference.
The open air Sheesh Mahal Restaurant at The Leela Palace, Udaipur, provides a perfect setting for a romantic meal under the stars. Feast on the exquisite local flavors served with legendary hospitality reminiscent of the great and vibrant past of the Indian Royalty.
Among the various restaurants, Savage Garden is very atmospheric, with indigo walls and tables in alcoves or in a pleasant courtyard. The food served here consists of Mediterranean cuisine with Italian and Middle Eastern influences. There are many Rooftop Restaurants, housed in small heritage hotels around Lake Pichola that offer a panoramic view of the city and serve a range of cuisines, matched with pleasant service and great hospitality.
The restaurant at the Jagmandir Island Palace is beautifully decorated and the setting is exquisite. An enthralling boat trip is just the beginning to reach here. Once on the island, enjoy delicious array of cuisine in the indoor air-conditioned restaurant on the water edge, glimpsing the palaces shimmering in Lake Pichola. Superb curries accompanied by a collection of wines, lend a Royal Touch to this gourmet experience.
It is advisable to book beforehand to ensure that the amazing dining experiences in Udaipur don’t elude you.