Sights in Udaipur
City Palace, Udaipur
The City Palace in Udaipur is a blend of stern Rajput military architecture on the outside and lavish Mughal-inspired decorative art on the inside. Set on a hill overlooking Pichola Lake, the City Palace is a sprawling edifice made up of at least four separate, interconnecting palaces, built over a period of nearly three centuries. The entire palace is oriented to face the east. Go to the City Palace Page.
Lake Pichola, Udaipur
Perhaps the best way to see Udaipur is by boat on Pichola Lake, preferably at sunset, sailing past its picturesque ghats and palaces. Pichola Lake was originally created in the 15th century by a Banjara grain merchant, who built a small dam here in order to allow his grain carts to cross over during the monsoon. As you sail toward the north of the city, you pass slowly by its various sights: first, the old hillside hunting box of the maharajas and the remnants of the old fortified walls, the City Palace, with its high towers and turrets; the lakeside havelis of the old city, with their cupola balconies reflected in the waters of the lake, and the high, triple-arched Gangaur Ghat where women bathe and was their clothes and where the colorful Ganguar festival is celebrated each year in spring. Finally, past the lakeside temples, you come to the island palaces of jag Niwas and Jag Mandir.
Chittorgarh Fort, Udaipur
Chittorgarh, the awe-inspiring hill fort built on a massive rock, lies 72 miles northeast of Udaipur. It was said that this fort was the key to all of Rajputana, and any conqueror would have to gain control of it first. It is considered by many to be the finest medieval Hindu fort in existence. But more than that, it is cloaked in legends of valor, chivalry and glorious death and occupies a preeminent position in the Rajput psyche. Chittorgarh was built in the 8th century by Bappa Rawal, the first of the great Sisodia rulers. Between then and 1567 it fell victim to three sieges. Go to Chittorgarh Fort Page
Jag Mandir, Udaipur
This older water palace, built in 1620 by Karan Singh, played an important role in Udaipur’s history. The Mughal prince, Khurram, exiled by his father, Emperor Jahangir, chose to seek refuge here. Jag Mandir owes its name to Jagat Singh, Khurram’s some, who was announced as the new Emperor Shah Jahan upon his father’s death in 1627, and transformed the palace quite considerably. His close relationship with the Mewar led to an important new era of peace, prosperity and architectural renaissance in Udaipur. The island has some striking carvings including a row of elephants that look like guarding the island. The exquisitely carved chatri in grey and blue stone also attracts the visitors.
These beautiful gardens, Saheliyon Ki Bari (Gardens of the Maids of Honor), were laid out in the mid-18th century for a retinue of 48 young ladies-in-waiting who were sent to Udaipur as part of a princess’s dowry. The gardens have beautiful lawns, lotus pools, marble pavilions and marble elephant-shaped fountains. Once the site for royal picnics, the gardens are now a public park.
Monsoon Palace, Udaipur
High on a hilltop just outside of Udaipur lies the dramatic 18th century palace, Sajjangargh, also called the Monsoon Palace, with a breathtaking view of the Mewar countryside. On a clear day you can see the fortress of Chittorgarh Fort. Originally intended to be a towering five-story astronomical center, it was later abandoned and used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge. Today the Monsoon Palace is famous for its fantastic views of Udaipur. The drive up to the palace is through a small wildlife sanctuary, although sightings are uncommon. At night the palace is lit pink and green. Interestingly, the palace was used in the James Bond film Octopussy as the residence of Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince.
Jain Temple, Ranakpur
You may want to tour the famous 15th Century marble temple that is still an active place of worship. Although it is a 2.5 hour to 3 hour drive (each way) from Udaipur, most tourists visiting Udaipur devote a day to this excursion. Part of the attraction is the great drive through the hills and rural communities.
Go to the Jain Temple, Ranakpur Page.
Crystal Gallery, Udaipur
Just south of the City Palace is Shiv Niwas and Fateh Prakash. Both were originally intended to be guest houses for the personal guests of the maharajas, but have now been turned into hotels. The smaller Fateh Prakash has some of the most exquisite Mewar miniature paintings from the Maharaja’s private collections. Fateh Prakash Palace is also home to a breathtaking collection of crystals. The crystal items include tables, sofa sets, dining tables, dressers, fountains and even beds besides a whole array of washing bowls, decanters and perfume bottles. There is also an exquisite jewel studded carpet.