Udaipur (उदयपुर) is a city and a municipal council in Udaipur district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is the historic capital of the former kingdom of Mewar, and the administrative headquarters of Udaipur District. It is also known as the City of Lakes. The Pichola lake, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar in this city are considered some of the most beautiful lakes in the state.
It is known for its Rajput-era palaces. Particularly famous is the Lake Palace, which covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. Many of the palaces have been converted into luxury hotels.
Udaipur is located at . It has an average elevation of 598 metres
As per the meteorologist Mrs. Sunita Bohora, "The western world recognizes the city of Udaipur as the only place on the earth, where Longitudes and Lattitudes cross at 24 and 73 degrees causing a special "Phalit Saundarya Rashichakra" making it astronomically the most beautiful karmik places in the world."
The climate of Udaipur is tropical with the mercury staying between a maximum of 42.3°C and a minimum of 28.8°C during summers. Winters are a little cold with the maximum temperature rising to 28.8°C and the minimum dipping to 2.5°C.
- For the history of the entire region, see Mewar
Udaipur was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar, ruled by Ranawats of the Sisodia clan. The founder of Udaipur was Rana Udai Singh. The ancient capital of Mewar was Chittor or Chittorgarh, located on the Banas River northeast of Udaipur. Legend has it that Maharana Udai Singh came upon a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. The hermit blessed the king and asked him to build a palace on the spot and it would be well protected. Udai Singh established a residence there. In 1568 the Mughal emperor Akbar captured Chittor, and Udai Singh moved the capital to the site of his residence, which became the city of Udaipur. As the Mughal empire weakened, the Sisodia ranas, and later maharanas, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar except the fort of Chittor. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818. After India's Independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Udaipur acceded to the Government of India, and Mewar was integrated into India's Rajasthan state.
"It was worth a night's discomfort, and revolverbeds to sleep upon this city of the Suryavansi, hidden among the hills that encompass the great Pichola lake. Truly, the King who governs to-day is wise in his determination to have no railroad to his capital. His predecessor was more or less enlightened, and, had he lived a few years longer, would have brought the iron horse [railway train] through the Dobarri the green gate which is the entrance of the Girwa or girdle of his hills around Udaipur; and, with the train, would have come the tourist who would have scratched his name upon the Temple of Garuda and laughed horse-laughs upon the lake. Let us, therefore, be thankful that the capital of Mewar is hard to reach."Rudyard Kipling, Letters of Marque, 1887-9.
The City of Beautiful Landscapes
The iron horse did interrupt the serenity of Mewar and the Pichola Lake, but Udaipur as such had remained cut off from the outside world for a very long time, even during Kipling's visit. Udaipur, now popularly known as the Venice of the East or the City of Sunrise, has enchanting landscaped gardens and beautiful lakes that beckon both a tourist and a traveler. Lord Northbrook, the 19th century British Viceroy, described the city thus: "Take a lake about the size of Orta, with lower hills and of a lighter colour; put the walls of Verona on the lower hills with a fort or two, add islands smaller than those on Lake Maggiore, covered with marble pleasure palaces and domes Pile up half a dozen French chateaux on the side and end with a piece of Venice."
Described As The Jewel In The Crown
The city faces no threat regarding beauty from any other Indian tourist spots. Well, perhaps it has some competition from Kashmir, the Paradise on Earth. Udaipur, or Udyapoora in ancient texts, can be best described as the jewel in the crown' of Rajasthan with its palaces and pavilions, its gardens and groves, its exquisite lakes and their island palaces, monsoon palaces a palace for any reason. It has More About Udaipur
been subjected to never-ending epithets, another one being the City of Enchantment. Louis Rousselet in his book India and Its Native Princes(1878) has said: "I stood in ecstasy gazing on the sublime panorama spread at my feet … It resembled one of the fairy cities in the Arabian Nights." and now, after Independence, Udaipur has been given the title of the City of Institutions as a number of important institutions have been set up here. The city was named after Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of the city, in the middle of the 16th century.
Location of The City
The city of Udaipur, the fourth and the last capital of the state of Mewar, stands on a low ridge, the icing of which is the palace of the Maharana. The city lies in a fertile valley between the hill fortresses of Kumbhalgarh and Chittor, and is designed around the three lakes of Pichola, Fateh Sagarand Umaid Sagar. The wall that surrounds the old city has five gates, each reinforced with iron spikes to dissuade elephant attacks. They include Suraj Pol or Sun Gate to the east, Chand Pol or Moon Gate towards northwest, Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate to the north, Delhi Gate or Delhi Darwaza to the northeast and Kishan Pol to the south. The Suraj Pol was recently altered and a circular park has been laid out with a statue of Rana Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur. The streets and lanes of the old city are a picturesque lot and are filled with shrines of Kali, Hanuman and several other Hindu deities. Udaipur's main street leads from the Hathi Pol to the Maharana's Palace.
Udaipur - A Shopper's Delight
Bazaars, bazaars and more bazaars, that is what you find in the whole of Rajasthan. Udaipur is also not far behind with some fantastic ones. The Bara Bazaar near the Jagdish temple, the Bapu Bazaar close to the Suraj Pol are full of little shops selling the bandhani (tie and dye) fabric particularly the leharias (wave patterns). You can fill your shopping bags for back home with the Nathdwara pichhwais, terracottas of Molela, silver jewellery, lacquer ware, enamelled jewellery, curios, antiques whatever it is be sure to be loaded so that you don't miss any one of the fabulous items sold here. ===Udaipur remained untouched by Mughals===
Sisodias, or the Guhilots (Suryavansh)have ruled the Mewar region since V.S 191, were against Mughal dominion, and tried to distance themselves from them. Being a mountainous region and unsuitable for heavily armoured Mughal horses, Udaipur remained unmolested from Mughal influence in spite of much pressure. Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur was the only royalty who did not attend the Delhi Durbar for King George V in 1911. This fierce sense of independence earned them the highest gun salute in Rajasthan, 19 against the 17 each of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bundi, Bikaner, Kota and Karauli. Rosita Forbes, who passed this land during the decline of the British Raj, described it as "like no other place on earth."
The land area of the state was 33,543 mi² its population in 1901 was 14,73,759. It enjoyed an estimated revenue of £20,29,000.
As of 2001
, Udaipur had a population of 550,000. Males constitute 53 percent of the population and females 47 percent. Udaipur has an average literacy rate of 77 percent, the national average is 79 percent: male literacy is 83 percent and female literacy is 72 percent. In Udaipur, 12 percent of the population is under 6 years of age.
The new census states the population as 7.59 lac(Year 2008).
Udaipur is well connected to the world through land, rail and air.
The city falls on the Golden Quadrilateral
, lying midway between Delhi and Mumbai
on National Highway (NH) 8; it is around 650 kilometres from either metro. The roads in this part of the country are paved and fit for proivate vehicles. One can either drive from Jaipur (around 6 hours) or Ahmedabad (3.5 hours), or take a Rajasthan Tourism bus from India Gate
It also falls on East West Corridor
which starts from Porbandar
and ends at Silchar
and is intersecting the Golden Quadrilateral
and shares the common space from Udaipur to Chittor
, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport, is 24 kilometres from the city centre. Daily Indian Airlines
flights connect Udaipur with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai & Delhi. There are daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur on Jet Airways
, Indian Airlines
and Kingfisher Airlines
. The airport is going through modernisation project and will soon have a new terminal building with an additional 4 stands. The airport has been confirmed as an International airport
by the Government of India.
Train connectivity is established between Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad through trains run by Indian Railway
. Recently Udaipur got connected with Delhi
with the "Mewar Express" on broadgauge
tracks. In August 2007 Udaipur was connected with Kolkatta, by the "Ananya Express". A train has also been introduced between Mumbai and Udaipur via Vadodara
, Ratlam and Chittorgarh
. Udaipur lacks direct connectivity to South India, and one has to reach it either via Kota or Ahmedabad.
Unmetered taxis, auto rickshaws, tongas, city bus, and regular city bus service is available for Udaipur City main roads to Dabok Airport, Badi Lake, and Bedala.
Places of interest
Standing on the east bank of Lake Pichola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559. The balconies of the palace provide panoramic views of "Jag Niwas" (the Lake Palace Hotel), Jag Mandir on one side and on the other the city of Udaipur. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate - the Tripolia, built in 1725. The way now leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping parations, terraces, corridors and gardens. There is a Suraj Gokhda, where the maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in the times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. The Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the mosaics in glass decorating its walls. The chini chitrashala is noteworthy while a series of wall paintings of Krishna
are on display in Bhim Vilas. There are numerous other palaces such as Dilkhush mahal, Sheesh mahal, Moti mahal and Krishna vilas - in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival princes. Now the palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils and attracts thousands of visitors every day.
The former guesthouse of the city palace, Shiv Niwas
and the Fateh Prakash Palace have been converted into heritage hotels.
Originally known as the Jag Niwas, took three years to build and was inaugurated in 1746. Nothing but marble
is used in the composition of this palace. Lake Palace
is now a luxury hotel owned by Taj Group of Hotels.
Another island in the Lake Pichola, which is known for its garden courtyard. Shah Jahan
took refuge here while revolting against his father.
City Palace and Museum
Pratap Museum, While entering the City palace the straight way go to the Government Pratap Museum housed with old sculptures and inscriptions. The antique paintings of Mewar
, the turban of prince Khurram later on called Shah Jahan, who built the world famous Taj Mahal
has also been displayed here as a token of friendship of Maharana Khazan Singh. Next to Fateh Prakash Palace, houses glass and mirror works.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal
A museum of folk arts. Also hosts puppet shows in its auditorium.
Maharana Pratap Memorial or Moti Magri
Atop the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake is the memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap
with a bronze statue of the Maharana astride his favourite horse "Chetak". More details are available at Maharanapratap.net
, a collection of facts and figures on Maharana Pratap and his life.
The summer resort of the Maharajas is atop the hill overlooking all the lakes. This palace had a way to collect rain water for consumption all year around.
Sukhadia Circle (Square), Udaipur, a large roundabout in the city's northern suburb of Panchwati, on the road to Ranakpur and Mt. Abu. The 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. Its foundation was laid in 1968 and was opened in 1970. The Circle is a popular recreational centre and meeting place. A circular pond surrounds the fountain; nearby are pleasant gardens. Families and friends come together, especially at night, when music plays, and dozens of food, cold drinks and tea stalls do a flourishing trade. Children particularly enjoy the experience: they float toy boats in the central pond, where odd duck-shaped pedallos (paddle boats) vie for space; there is even a mini train nearby. Sukhadia Circle commemorates the memory of Udaipur's MOHAN LAL SUKHADIA, one-time Chief Minister of Rajasthan and a native of Udaipur.
A temple situated in the middle of the city - a big tourist attraction, the temple of Jagannath Rai, now called Jagdish-ji, is a major monument
. It is raised on a tall terrace and was completed in 1651. It attaches a double storeyed Mandapa (hall) to a double - storied, saandhara (that having a covered ambulatory) sanctum. The mandapa has another storey tucked within its pyramidal samavarna (bell - roof) while the hollow clustered spire over the sanctum contains two more, non - functional stories. Lanes taking off from many of the sheharpanah (city wall) converge on the Jagdish Temple. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1651 A.D. It is an example of Indo - Aryan architecture
Fateh Sager Lake is a vicinity for young lovers, it is situated in the north of Lake Picholas. It was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh in the year 1678 AD, but later on reconstructed and extended by Maharana Fateh Singh, As lot of destruction was caused by heavy rains.In the year 1993-1994,the water vanished from the lake and again in the year 2005-2006, the lake regaind its water.The lake is tried directly to connect with mansivacal dam so that it doesnot suffer any type of water problem again in future.
The Sapphire Udaipur : Lake Pichola is a lake that has two islands, Jag Niwas and the Jag Mandir
. This lake is 4km long and 3 km wide, originally built by Maharana Udai Singh II after he discovered Rajasthan "Udaipur". There are many ghats, like the bathing and washing ghats, which can be approached through boats from the City Palace of Udaipur (Bansi Ghat). In the heart of lake, the Lake Palace stands, which is now converted into a heritage palace hotel. This palace hotel is considered to be 3 decades old in the history of Udaipur. The Lake remains fairly shallow, at the time of heavy rains, and gets dry easily at the time of severe drought. A hermit is said to have advised the Maharana to establish his kingdom over Lake Pichola, after the fall of Chittaurgarh by Mughal emperor Akbar
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 gardens set below the embankment of the Fateh Sagar Lake have 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.
Udaipur Solar Observatory
Asia's only solar observatory, the Udaipur Solar Observatory
is situated on an island in the middle of the Lake Fatehsagar (Location: 240 35.1' : 730 42.8' ) and the main office building is located at its NW-shore near Bari Road - Rani Road Junction. The site is run under PRL (Physical Reaserch Lab) in Ahemdabad. The sky conditions at Udaipur are quite favourable for solar observations. The large water body surrounding the telescopes decreases the amount of heating of the surface layers. This decreases the turbulence in the air mass and thereby improves the image quality and seeing. The main objective of obtaining the high spatial and temporal resolution observations of solar photospheric and chromospheric
Gulab Bagh & Zoo
A rose Garden laid out by Maharaja Sajjan Singh is situated near the palace on east side of Lake Gulab Bagh & Zoo 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.
A "Rock Garden" from where one can enjoy sunset view in Lake Pichhola and panoramic view of old city. Rajasthan's first "Musical Fountain" manufactured by "Yagnik Mechenical Engineering Works", is an another attraction for the visitors.
This is a park situated in the middle of Fateh Sager Lake. This park covers the huge area of about 41 acres with its flower gardens and a lily pond. As the name suggests, it was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of First Prime Minster of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The garden overlooks the ancient Moti Mahal of MahaRana Pratap and gives a view of Aravalli hills surrounded from the three sides.
This is 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. The palace has over hundred rooms and some displays of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli work. It also preserves an example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are 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 evening's entertainment; the performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli.
Located about 2 km east of Udaipur is a cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs
of Maharanas cremated there. One 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, as well as 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.
The crafts village, located north west of Udaipur, Shilpgram hosts crafts fair every year which is one of the biggest in India, people from different states in the country hold their stalls showcasing their art and crafts work.
Neemach Mata Temple
This temple is located on a green hill in the Dewali (Pronounced Dey-vaa-lee) area of Udaipur. It has both stairs and uphill slope way to climb, which is around 800 Meters of walk.
Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral
The Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Udaipur
, in front of St. Paul's School.
- Udaipur was named Asia's 2nd Best City of 2007
- Ranked 7th among Best cities in the World, year 2007
- Oberoi Udaivilas was named the "World's best hotel" by Travel & Leisure magazine for 2007. Travel & Leisure
- Zonal Railway Training Institute - Asia's best Railway Training Institute
Udaipur in literature and popular culture
- Udaipur is mentioned under the spelling Oodeypore in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as the birthplace of Bagheera the fictional panther in the king's Menagerie.
- Indian sections of the James Bond film Octopussy were filmed in the city and the Lake Palace.
- Some scenes from the British television series The Jewel in the Crown were filmed in Udaipur.
- Hollywood movies/ TV serials filmed in Udaipur: Darjeeling Limited, Opening Night, Heat and Dust, Indische Ring, Inside 'Octopussy', James Bond in India, Octopussy, Gandhi
- Hindi movies have included Guide, Mera Saaya, Phool Bane Angaray, Kachche Dhagey, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Jalmahal ,Yaadein, Return of the thief of the bagdad, Eklavya: The Royal Guard, Dhamaal, Jis Des Mai Ganga Rahta Hai, Chalo Ishq Ladaaye, Fiza, Gaddaar, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Khuda Gawah, Kundan, Nandini, Saajan ka Ghar,... etc. were filmed in Udaipur.
- Many Bollywood films' songs were filmed in Udaipur.
- Udaipur is a favourite marriage destination. Many celebrities were married in Udaipur. Actress Raveena Tandon got married in Udaipur at Jagmandir of HRH Group of Hotels in 2004.
- It is claimed that Jag Mandir of Udaipur was the inspiration behind Shahjahan's creation of the Taj Mahal.
- The film, The Cheetah Girls One World, was shot in Udaipur in January 2008.
- Nathdwara - Shri Nathdwara (a pathway to Lord Shri Krishna) lies 48 km from Udaipur and literally means the gateway to the Lord. Devotees throng the shrine in large numbers during occasions of "Janmashtmi", the day of the Lord's birth and other festivals like Holi. Nathdwara has a small but throbbing township around the temple. Its shopping in the bye lanes is a great revelation. It is famous for its 'pichwai' paintings, with Shri Krishna in the centre and is recognized for profuse use of gold colour.
- Ranakpur - A village that is home to one of the most important Jain temples. 1400+ marble pillars support the temple. Opposite the Jain temple is the much older Sun Temple. Located in Rajsamand District, 110 km north of Udaipur.
- Chittorgarh- About 140 km from Udaipur, Chittorgarh was the capital of Mewar from 734 AD to 1559. Chittorgarh Fort is a massive fort situated on a hilltop near Chittorgarh town in Rajasthan state in India. It is one of the most historically significant forts not only in Rajasthan but whole of North India.
- Haldighati - A mountain pass in Rajsamand District that hosted the battle between Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar and the Mughal emperor Akbar. Now a memorial site.
- Kumbhalgarh - A 15th century fortress, built by Rana Kumbha of Mewar, with 36 kilometres of walls. Over 360 temples are within the fort. It also has a wildlife sanctuary. Located in Rajsamand District, 64 km from Udaipur. The vista from the top of the palace typically extends tens of kilometers into the Aravalli hills.
- Mount Abu - A popular tourist hill station.
- Eklingji - Eklingji is a temple complexes situated nearly 22 km in the north of Udaipur. The Eklingji temple is escorted by the long walls of hard rock. This fascinating temple was built in 734 A.D, which consist of 108 temples chiseled out of sandstone and marbles. The temple complex is devoted to the royal family of Mewar.
- Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the most rugged of the Aravali in Pali, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan. It takes name after the historic fort of Kumbhalgarh, which come into view over the Park. It is 578 km² in area and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300 metres. It is home to a very large variety of wild life, some of which are highly endangered species. The wild life includes wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, smabhar, nilgai, chaisingh (the four horned antelope), chinkara and hare.
- Kankroli and Rajsamand Lake
- Rishabhdeo: Famous Jain pilgrimage center sacred to Jains and local tribals.
- Jaisamand Lake:
- Udaisagar Lake
- Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary
- Galiakot (Mazar-e-Seyadi Fakhruddun Shaheed)
- Chawand -The Third Capital of Mewar and also the place where Great Maharana Pratap spent his last years.
- Molela - A village near Haldi Ghati famous for its artful red pottery
The city has four universities,a large number of colleges and schools along with coaching centres providing education to students from all the streams.
Detailed information about education sector of udaipur is available on * Education Udaipur - Complete Education Site of Udaipur
The town has a University and a medical college and many schools.Schools in Udaipur, Rajasthan
- References: info also available at http://www.geologydata.info