Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes, is a city, a Municipal Council and the administrative headquarters of, the Udaipur district in the state of Rajasthan in western India. It is the historic capital of the former kingdom of Mewar in Rajputana Agency. Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Jaisamand, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar in this city are considered some of the most beautiful lakes in the state.
Apart from its glorious history, culture and scenic location, it is also known for its Rajput-era palaces. The Lake Palace, for instance, covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. Many of the palaces have been converted into luxury hotels.
Udaipur is located at 24°35′N 73°41′E / 24.58°N 73.68°E / 24.58; 73.68, It has an average elevation of 598.00 metres.
Old flagUdaipur was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar, ruled by the Sisodia clan. The founder of Udaipur was Rana Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap. The ancient capital of Mewar was Nagda, 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 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.
Sisodias, or the Guhilots (Suryavansh), have ruled the Mewar region since V.S 191,[clarification needed] were against Mughal dominion, and tried to distance themselves from them. Being a mountainous region and unsuitable for heavily armoured Mughal horses, Udaipur remained unmolested from Mughal influence in spite of much pressure. 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. Rosita Forbes, who passed this land during the decline of the British Raj, described it as "like no other place on earth".
The land area of the state was 33,543 mi². Its population in 1901 was 14,73,759. It enjoyed an estimated revenue of £20,29,000.
Udaipur is well connected to the all major cities in India through land, rail and air.
Dabok airport, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport, is 24 kilometres from the city centre. Daily Indian Airlines flights connect Udaipur with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi. There are daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur on Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines. The airport is undergoing modernisation project and will soon have a new terminal building with an additional 4 stands. The airport is under consideration as an International airport by the Government of Rajasthan and will be upgraded to International airport by 2011.
Udaipur City Railway Station provides connectivity with Delhi, Mumbai Jaipur and Ahmedabad through trains run by Indian Railways. Udaipur is connected with Delhi, Kota and Mathura with the "Mewar Express" on broad gauge tracks. Udaipur is connected with Kolkatta, by the "Ananya Express". A train has also been introduced between Mumbai and Udaipur via Vadodara, Ratlam and Chittorgarh. There are daily 2 Intercity Express between Udaipur to Indore and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, but Udaipur still lacks direct connectivity to Bhopal, Jabalpur and many major cities of South India, and one has to reach it either via Kota, Ahmedabad or Surat. A new train has been launched connecting Udaipur with Indore.
The city lies on the Golden Quadrilateral, midway between Delhi and Mumbai National Highway (NH) 8; it is around 700 kilometres from either metro. The roads in this part of the country are paved and fit for private vehicles. One can either drive from Jaipur (around 8 hours) or Surat (9 hours), or take a Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) bus from Bikaner House, India Gate in Delhi.
The East West Corridor which starts from Porbandar and ends at Silchar passes and is intersecting the Golden Quadrilateral and shares the common space from Udaipur to Chittor.
Unmetered taxis, auto rickshaws, tongas, city bus, and regular city bus services are available for Udaipur City main roads to Dabok Airport, Badi Lake, and Bedal
Another place that can add some lofty feelings to your mind is the temple in Nathdwara. Though Udaipur is populated with temples, to explore more about the mythical tales of India make a sure visit to the Nathdwara temple in Udaipur. Spiritual minded tourists attracted largely to the Udaipur temples. Though Nathdwara is few kilometers away from Udaipur there are also many popular temples to be traveled in Udaipur.
If historic battles and mighty deeds of the heroic soldiers stimulate your nerves then make your vehicle run to the Haldighat in Udaipur. There are innumerable such places of interest in and around Udaipur. But Haldighat has an additional importance, as it is the battlefield of the legendary king Mahrana Pratap and his equally fearless loyal horse Chetak. For travelling for holiday in Haldighat near Udaipur you will get all types of communication beginning from deluxe bus, cabs, private auto rickshaws, taxis and tongas. Haldighat is a thrilling holiday place for the tourists as it flashes the horrifying merciless battlefield in front of the eyes. It seems that the vast rough terrain covered with brown sand had turned to red color by the vulnerable battle fought between Maharana Pratap of Mewar and Emperor Akbar of the Mughal dynasty. While speaking of this terrible battle a mention should be made of the loyal horse Chetak who despite his dreadful wounds carried his master to a safe place before it laid in his death bed.
Beautiful sculptured Jain temples mark the glory of this renowned place. Marked as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15 the century. During the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha [four faced temple] is dedicated to Adinathji the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars all distinctly carved and no two being alike is a amazing evidence of the genius sense of architecture that enhances the charm of the place. Every temple has this conceivable surface carved with equal delicacy.
Alauddin Khilji was the first to sack Chittaur in 1303 A.D. overpowered by a passionate desire to possess the regal beauty, queen Padmini. Legend has it, that he saw her face in the reflection of a mirror and was struck by her mesmerising beauty. But the noble queen preferred death to dishonour and committed 'Jauhar'.
Kumbhalgarh fort can be included while listing the places of interest in Udaipur. Kumbhalgarh fort is 64 km north of Udaipur and is standing on the surface of the sky reaching Aravilli ranges. Rana Kumbha built the fort of Kumbhalgarh and it became a safe shelter for the baby and future king Udai Singh. Also it was a safe hideout to countless Mewar rulers during the difficult times. It is also the birthplace of the honorable Maharana Pratap. Several massive armies had to lay their weapons under this massive and tough fort but unluckily the fort once turned out to be aggressive to its own people.
Built in 734 A.D., a complex enclosing 108 temples with a flight of steps leading down to the Kund (water tank). The temples are exquisitely carved out of sandstone and marble, and are devoted to Lord Shiva, the family deity of the Mewar rulers. it has an ornate 'mandap' or pillared hall, the canopy of the huge pyramidical roof is composed of hundreds of knots. The sanctorum has a four faced image of Lord Shiva, and in front of it on the outside, beneath a valuted roof, a life size idol of Nandi, the bull, graces the tample which is surrounded by hills.
This ancient place in Mewar was the first capital of Bappa Rawal and has a magnificient Torana (arch) which is exquisitely carved. The Sas Bahu temples built in the 10th century, are dedicated to Sas (mother-in-law) & Bahu (daughter-in-law). These temples are rated among the best temples of India. There is a lake and many shrines around the two main tamples. The Jain temples of Abudji are worth visiting.