Udaipur, the city of lakes, is drenched in romance and old world whimsy. Adorned with exquisite gardens, marble palaces and twinkling lakes, the city is seductive and secretive, revealing its many gems to those willing to take the time to explore it. At its heart, the splendid Lake Pichola laps against shimmering white buildings and, in the distance; the Aravalli hills complete the picture.
Udaipur was founded in 1559 and was originally known as Mewar. Built by Maharajah Udai Singh II when he fled the Mughal emperor Akbar’s final sacking of Chittor, the city has never lost its fervour for life and love of independence.
A record rainfall in 2006 returned the lake to its former grandeur and replenished the lifeblood of the most romantic city in all of Rajasthan, and the lake still fluctuates with the monsoons. The floating Lake Palace glistens grandly on its surface and keeps fine company with splendid temples, lavish havelis and fantastical palaces, while bathing ghats and embankments encircle the lakeshore.
But Udaipur offers much more than the lake and palaces. The beautiful city gardens are decorated with lotus pools, fountains, flowerbeds, and marble pavilions; and the surrounding countryside offers some of the most wonderous sights of Rajasthan.
The featured palaces on Lake Pichola: Jag Niwas Lake Palace – former royal residence, currently a luxury hotel; Jag Mandir; and The City Palace | Wandering the ruins at Eklingji and Nagda temple complex (20km northeast of Udaipur) | Day trips to Nathdwara Gateway to God – a Hindu holy site (48km away) or Ranakpur temples (90km north)
Udaipur is also known as the Jewel of Mewar or the Venice of the East