Udaipur was founded in the middle of the 16th Century by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia dynasty that ruled the area (called Mewar) for twelve centuries. Known as the "City of Lakes" and also as "The Venice Of The East", Udaipur lies amidst picturesque surroundings with beautiful lakes and the Aravali mountain range surrounding it. It is home to more grand palaces and other architecture than any other city in Rajasthan, a land full of magnificent palaces and forts.
City Palace is made up of a number of palaces that were built by a succession of kings, and it's massive presence dominates the area, with beautiful Lake Pichola and the exquisite lake palaces - Jag Niwas (now the famous Lake Palace Hotel) and Jag Mandir on one side, and the city of Udaipur on the other. You enter the Palace through a succession of huge gates, starting with the Hathi Pol (elephant gate). The palace now houses a vast museum, as well as an armory with a large selection of weaponry from a few centuries ago. There are beautiful gardens set amidst palaces that have architecture, design themes, and art that is both striking and completely distinct from each other.
Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, the hilltop monsoon palace (Sajjangarh) are all palaces that would be considered more than sufficient as a royal residence in most states. Each has it's own beauty, and were built by the Mewar kings at different times for different reasons. The Monsoon Palace's view encompasses the whole of Udaipur and it's surroundings, but the views from the islands in the lake and the City Palace is also pretty impressive.
There are a number of amazing temples, lakes, museums, and palace hotels (including the exquisite Lake Palace) in the city. There is even a surprisingly impressive collection of classic (American and European) cars that belonged to the rulers.
Udaipur is home to many local troupes involved in the performing arts, and the miniature paintings of this area are famous throughout India. It is a city that should be on every tourists itinerary, and can easily be added to any tour.