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Udaipur City Tour Guide

Udaipur 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.

History
Udaipur was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar, ruled by Ranawats of the Sisodia clan. 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 part 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.

Udaipur remained Untouched from Mughals Sisodias, or the Guhilots (Suriya Vans)have ruled the Mewar region since V.S 191, were against Mughal dominion and tried every trick possible to distance themselves from them. Being a mountainous region and unsuitable for heavily armoured Mughal horses, Udaipur remained unmolested from the Mughal influences in spite of all their pressures. 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. Udaipur retained its romantic quality and Rosita Forbes, who passed this land of bravery during the decline of the British Raj, described it as "like no other place on earth."

Sisodia Kings who ruled from Udaipur Rana Udai Singh II – reigned 1568-1572 Maharana Pratap Singh – reigned 1572-1597 Rana Amar Singh I – reigned 1597-1620 Rana Karan Singh – reigned 1620-28 Rana Jagat Singh I – reigned 1628-54 Rana Raj Singh I – reigned 1654- 1681 Maharana Jai Singh – reigned 1681-1700 Rana Amar Singh II – reigned 1700-16 Maharana Sangram Singh II – reigned 1716-34 Rana Jagat Singh II – reigned 1734-51 Rana Pratap Singh II – reigned 1752-55 Rana Raj Singh II – reigned 1755-62 Rana Ari Singh II – reigned 1762-72 Rana Hamir Singh II – reigned 1772-78 Rana Bhim Singh – reigned 1778-1828 Maharana Jawan Singh – reigned 1828-38 Maharana Swaroop Singh – reigned 1842-1861 Maharana Shambhu Singh – reigned 1861-74 Rana Sajjan Singh – reigned 1874-84 Maharana Fateh Singh – reigned 1884-1930 Maharana Bhopal Singh – reigned 1930-55 Maharana Bhagwat Singh – reigned 1955-84 Maharana Arvind Singh from 1984-

About the city
Udaipur is famous around the world as the City Of Lakes or Venice of The East. The Pichola Lake, Fateh Sagar, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar in this city are considered some of the most beautiful lakes in the state. Fateh Sagar contains two small islands, one of which contains USO, or Udaipur solar observatory, and the other one has a beautiful garden called Nehru Garden.

Udaipur is well connected to the world through land, rail and air. It is known for its Rajput-era palaces. Particularly famous is the Lake Palace, which entirely covers a small island in the Pichola Lake. Many of the palaces have been converted into luxury hotels. The City Palace, or the Palace of the then King of Mewar, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the city.

Interesting Monuments and Places
City Palace: Standing on the east bank of lake Pichola, is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559 A.D. The balconies of the palace provide panoramic views of "Jag Niwas" (the world wide famous 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 - a harmonic profusion hard to describe. 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 vivid 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 princess. Now the palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils and attracts thousands of visitors every day.

Lake Palace - 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. It is now a luxury hotel.

Jag Mandir - Another island in the Lake Pichola, which is known for its beautiful 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 world famous Taj Mahal has also been displayed here as a token of friendship of Maharana Khazan Singh. Next to Fateh Prakash Palace, houses beautiful glass and mirror works.

Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal - An excellent museum of folk arts. Also hosts great 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 fantastic colloction of facts and figures on Maharana Pratap and his life.

Sajjangarh Fort - The summer resort of the Maharajas is atop the hill overlooking all the lakes. This palace had an ingenious way to collect rain water for consumption all year around.

Jagdish Temple - 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 and should be seen carefully. Raised on a tall terrace and completed in 1651, it is a tribute alike to the tenacity of its builders and the resilence of the art tradition it represents. 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 and walking leisurely through them brings you face with the many layers of the cultural palimpsest that Udaipur is. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1651 A.D. It is a good example of Indo - Aryan architecture.

Fateh Sagar Lake- Lovers Paradise : Fateh Sager Lake is one of the most romantic vicinity for young lovers, it is situated in the north of Lake Picholas. It is the most peaceful and relaxing place to spend leisures for much of the travellers and Udaipur localities . This beautiful Fateh Sager Lake bestow with infinite beauty of the Aravali hills at the backdrop of serene lake body. It was originally build 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, due to the heavy rains. Whereas, today Fateh Sager Lake is the most preferable site for endless wanderers, the mornings and evenings are very much refreshing around the lake, and in the middle of lake, you can see a grand Nehru park, which is a popular garden island, showcase an image of boat shaped cafe. The lake is one of the major attractions of Udaipur, these are some real moments that you will going to witness, once please your eyes with the precious sapphire of Udaipur.

Lake Pichola - The Sapphire Udaipur : Lake Pichola is one of the most fascinating lakes, which has two islands, Jag Niwas and the Jag Mandir. This beautiful shimmering lake is 4km long and 3 km wide, originally built by Maharana Udai Singh II after he discovered the jewel of 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, most delicate world marvel is built the Lake Palace which is now converted into a heritage palace hotel. This captivating 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. Once the island dries, it makes the best time to take the leisure walk inside the most remote parts of Lake Pichola, where one can sight row of crocodiles, which is none other a thrilling experience for most of the enthusiastic travellers. Factoid - 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.

Udaipur Solar Observatory- Asia's only one 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 activity is to understand the various dynamic phenomena occurring on the surface of the Sun. USO (UDAIPUR SOLAR OBSERVATORY) is one of The six sites comprising the Global Oscillations Network Group Network in World.

Gulab Bagh & Zoo - A spectacular rose Garden laid out by Maharana Sajjan Singh, is situated near the palace on east side of LakeGulab Bagh & Zoo Pichhola. A library in the garden has a rare collection of ancient handwritten manuscripts and books. Within the garden, there is a zoo with tigers, leopards, chinkara and many wild animals and birds are being kept.

Nehru Garden - Its a beautiful park, situated in the middle of Fateh Sager Lake. This attractive park is blessed with great fauna of beauty, hence covers the huge area of about 41 acres with its flower gardens and a lily pond. As the name suggest, 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 delightful view of Aravalli hills surrounded from the three sides. You can also access here by an enjoyable boat ride.

Bagore-ki-Haveli- This is a very congenial 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 very interesting display of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine 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 delightful evening's entertainment; the pleasurable performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli. It is an ideal place for an evening entertainment while enjoying the view of Lake Pichola.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari- Maharana Sangram singh builds this in the mid 18th century. The 'garden of the maidens' brings to mind the lifestyle of the ladies of the court. The delightful gardens appear discreet and in impeccable taste. There are four pools with dainty kiosks, and all around are flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains protected by a series of walls and shady trees. The Foundation of the Sahelion ki bari functions solely by water pressure and no pumps are used. The garden has a lotus pool, a sitting room decorated with paintings and glass mosaics. The whole ambiences is flavored by the nostalgia of those beautiful bells enjoying themselves in a lavish aura.

Ahar Museum- Located about 2 km east of Udaipur is an impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. There are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there. The most striking 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. 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.

Shilpgram - The crafts village, located north west of Udaipur, is a must see place
for those who want to see the cultural heritage of India, its handicrafts etc. 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. More information can be found at http://www.shilpgram.org
Neemach Mata Temple - Located on a beautiful green hill in Dewali (Pronounced Dey-vaa-lee) area of Udaipur, this temple is beautifully made and a great experience to visit. It has both stairs and uphill slope way to climb, which is around 800 Meters of walk. The experience you get when you are at the top of hill is unmatched, and the whole Panorama of Udaipur is visible clearly from there. A must visit place.

Wlid Life Sanctuary
Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary is located in the most rugged of the Aravali in Pali, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan. It takes name after the impressive historic fort of Kumbhalgarh, which come into view over the Park. It is 578 km² in area and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300m. 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. The bird life at Kumbhalgarh is also gratifying. The normally shy and untrusting grey jungle fowl can be spotted here. Peacocks and Doves can be sighted regularly feeding on grains scattered by the jungle guards. Bird like the red spur owls, Parakeets, golden Oriole, grey Pigeons, Bulbul, Dove and white breasted kingfisher can also be seen near the water holes. Kumbhalgarh’s natural beauty is attracting many tourists and especially for its accessibility from Udaipur, which is 100 km from here. Foot tracking and horse safari organised by local tour operators are proving to be very popular. A typical safari route enters the sanctuary from the Kumbhalgarh Fort and cutting across the sanctuary it reaches Ghanerao, and then borders an old abandoned road. On this road, one can sight Chinkaras, Neelgais, four horned Antelope and many birds.

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