Maharana Udai Singh laid the foundation of Udaipur in 1557 AD, on the word of a sage, who advised him to build a city in the fertile land, protected by the Aravalli mountain ranges. Maharana Udai Singh was a successor of the 'Sisodias', who claimed to have been the descendants of the 'Sun God' (Suryavanshi). The Sisodias are believed to be the oldest ruling family in the world and also the most powerful. For the same reason, they have had many enemies and were under constant attack even from the Mughals. Hence, Maharana Udai Singh decided to shift the capital from 'Chittorgarh' to a more protected city of 'Udaipur' and it continued to be the capital of 'Mewar', till it became the princely state of British India in 1818 AD.
When India got independent in 1947 AD, the Maharaja of Udaipur granted this place to the Government of India. At that time, 'Mewar' merged into the state of Rajasthan and it came to be known as the 'City of Lakes' or 'Venice of the East' due to its luxurious lake palaces like the one which covers an entire island in the 'Pichola' lake.
Udaipur is located 403 kilometers southwest of the state capital, Jaipur, 248 km west of Kota, and 250 km northeast from Ahmedabad. The city lies at an average elevation of 590 meters.
By Air : Dabock Airport is 24 km from the city center. Daily flights connect Udaipur with Jodhpur Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Delhi.
By Rail : Udaipur is directly linked by rail with major cities like Jaipur, Ajmer, Delhi, Chittorgarh, etc.
By Road : A wide network of bus service link Udaipur with several destinations. Some of the important destinations are Agra (630km), Ahmadabad (262 km), Jaipur (406 km), Jodhpur (275km) and Mount Abu (185km).
Local Transport : Un-metered taxis, auto-rickshaws, Tongas, regular city bus service is available for 'Dabok airport', 'Badi Lake', 'Bedala' and 'Saheliyon ki Bari'.
Udaipur has pleasant winter temperatures, with a maximum temperature of 32 degrees Celsius in the day during the months of December to February. The summers are hot, with temperatures reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius from March to June. Udaipur gets scanty rainfall in the months of July through to September, which makes the place very humid. The city blooms to a green color and the lakes are full during this season, making the city very beautiful.
Udaipur is a thriving and well-connected city with strong infrastructure, water supply, electricity supply and tourism. It is equipped with many hospitals, blood banks and educational institutions.
Udaipur still retains a quaint old world charm, with beautiful Rajput palaces and forts sitting comfortably amidst the modern constructions of brick, cement and concrete.
Narrow streets, yellow and blue colors on the walls decorated by paintings give a feeling of old Rajput time.
City Palace: Udaipur City Palace is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan, located peacefully on the banks of Lake Pichola. This majestic City Palace is the most visited tourist attraction of Udaipur and often distinguished as the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. City Palace boasts of the wonderful blend of Medieval, European and Chinese Architecture. The Palace has various towers, domes and arches, which add to the flavor of heritage site. City Palace has several gates that are known as 'Pols'. 'Bara Pol' (Great Gate) is the main gate to the City Palace complex that will take you to the first courtyard. On passing 'Bara Pol', you will come across a triple arched gate, which is known as 'Tripolia'.
Lake Palace: This is one of the most elegant palaces situated in the heart of the 'Pichola' Lake. The courtyards of the palace are lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens which enhance its beauty.
Few temples in Udaipur like the 'Jagdish' temple follow the 'Nagara' style of architecture. In this style the temple is a square, with a number of graduated projections in the middle of each side, giving rise to a cruciform shape. In elevation, it resembles a tower gradually inclining inwards in a convex curve. 'Rishabhdeo' Temple is a chief pilgrimage site for followers of Jain religion. The 'Ambika Mata' Temple, also known as the 'Jagat' temple is a small shrine made in the fissure of a rock.
The primary language of Udaipur is 'Mewari' but Rajasthani, Hindi and English are also commonly spoken. Jainism is the main religion that is observed in Udaipur. Other religions include Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity. 'Bhavai', 'Ghoomar', 'KachhiGhodi', 'Kalbeliya' and 'Terahtaali' are the well known dances of Rajasthan. 'Morchang', 'Naad', 'Tanpura', 'Sarangi' and many other instruments were traditionally played in the courts of the Mewari rulers and still finds its patrons and audiences in present times. Udaipur cuisine comprises mostly of vegetarian dishes, as Jainism and 'Vaishnavism' is widely followed. Food is usually made from lots of vegetables and lentils and is seasoned with a great variety of spices.
The 'Mewar' festival is celebrated here with much pomp and show to mark the arrival of spring in the months of March and April. At the time of the 'Mewar' Festival the idols of Lord Shiva (Isar) and Goddess Parvati (Gangaur) are dressed and carried in a traditional procession through different parts of the city.
The final destination of this procession is the 'Gangaur Ghat' at 'Pichola' Lake, where the images are immersed into the lake waters.
'Shilpgram Mela' or 'Shilpgram' Crafts Fair is celebrated in the months of November or December. It is a popular festival organized annually in the western region of Udaipur.
The 'Bhil' tribes are chief amongst the tribal population of Udaipur. A varied mix of urban population is found in the city. Udaipur is also a center for many talented artisans and craftsmen. The traditional attire of women is the 'Ghaghra-Choli' (Skirt & blouse) and for men it is the 'Angrakha' (Kurta) and 'Dhoti'. But in modern times, people wear contemporary clothes like Salwars, Trousers, t-shirts and shirts.
City palace: One of the largest palace complexes in the world, it is a beautiful mixture of Mughal and Rajput traditions. The city palace is built atop a hill beside the 'Pichola Lake' providing a panoramic view of the city.
Gulab Bagh: A vast garden of almost a hundred acres. The garden also has a museum and zoo within it. There is also a public library attached to the garden, which has large volumes and illustrated manuscripts on Indology, Archaeology, and History.
Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake: Famous man-made lakes of Udaipur. They add tranquility to the beautiful palaces and lend Udaipur the title -'City of lakes'.
Monsoon palace: Also called 'Sajjan Garh Palace' after Maharana Sajjan Singh, who commissioned its construction. It is built high atop the Aravalli ranges at an elevation of 944 meters. As the name suggests, the palace was a monsoon retreat of the Royal family.
Shilpgram Art and Craft fair: It is held annually during the month of December. Over 400 artisans and craftsmen from all over India participate in this fair. The fair takes place in a sprawling artisans' village set up by the West Zone Cultural Center. Folk dances and cultural programs are held as part of the festival. It is a vibrant showcase of the rich 'Rajasthani' culture and heritage.