Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Udaipur is also 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 Pichhola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar in this city are considered some of the most beautiful lakes in the state.
Apart from its 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 Pichhola Lake. Many of the palaces have been converted into luxury hotels. It is often called the "Venice of the East" and is also nicknamed the "Lake City".
Udaipur was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar, ruled by the Sisodia clan with jhala's loyalty. 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, 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.
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.
Standing on the east bank of Lake Pichhola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559. The balconies of the palace provide panoramic views of the "Jag Niwas" (the Lake Palace Hotel). They also have great views of Jag Mandir on one side and the city of Udaipur on the other. 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. 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 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 princes. Now the palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils and attracts thousands of visitors every day. The former guesthouse of the city palace, Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace have been converted into heritage hotels.
Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Monsoon Palace, Jagdish Temple, Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichhola, Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Gulab Bagh and Zoo, Doodh Talai, Maharana Pratap Memorial or Moti Magri, Bohara Ganesh Ji, Nehru Garden, Bagore-ki-Haveli, Neemach Mata Temple, Udaipur Solar Observatory is Asia's only solar observatory, the Udaipur Solar Observatory, is situated on an island in the middle of the Lake Fatehsagar are the places of worth seeing.