Udaipur : This is no place in India
which appeals more to the imagination of poets and pointers,
travelers and writers than Udaipur, the lovely lake side
capital of Mewar, by reason of its romance and beauty and
its remarkable past bristling with episodes of heroism and
Udaipur, the enchanting city of Dawn, looms up like a vision in white. Surrounded by hills and mountains and set on the edge of three lakes which give on to a fertile plain, it is bewitching in all its details-narrow streets lined by vivid coloured stalls, gardens, temples and palaces - every feature, mirrored in the placid blue waters of lake Picchola.
An interesting legend is related to the founding of the city. On one of the his excursions, Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar met a hermit absorbed meditation on a hill overlooking lake Picchola. The ascetic gave his blessings and also advised the Maharana to build a stronghold on the very spot as it would b well protected. The place indeed combines many natural advantages - fertile valley watered by a stream, a lake, an agreeable attitude and an amphitheatre of low mountains. The new city was planned on the bank of Picchola in 1550 A.D.
Around Udaipur are vestiges of its chivalrous past- the sprawling Chittaurgarh and the massive Kumbhalgarh the temples of Eklingji, Nathdwara and Ranakpur and finally there is Mount Abu, the only hill resort of Rajasthan, a cool, tranquil sanctuary.
City Palace : The City is an enormous edifice, 30.4 mtrs. high
and 224 mtrs. in length. It is Built by Maharana Udai Singh
(1537-1572). Completely white and majestic, the City Palace stands
on a hill surrounded by crenellated walls. Its main entrance is
through the triplearched gate, the Tripolia, built in 1725. There is
Suraj Gokhada, the Balcony of the Sun, where the Suryavanshi
Maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in time of trouble to the
people to restore their confidence. The Mor Chowk or the Peacock
Courtyard, gets its name from the vivid mosaics in glass which
decorate its walls. The Chini Chitrashala is noteworthy for its blue
and white ceramics.
Jagdish Temple : Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built in 1651 A.D. by Maharana Jagat Singh 1. Reached by a steep staircase flanked by stone elephants, the external walls and the plinth are covered with bas-reliefs-friezes of alligators, elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum : A museum of folk art, it has a rich collection of folk dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments, folk deities and paintings on display. Of special interest is a section of tribal art. The world-renowned puppeteers of Udaipur, custodians of an ancient tradition, regularly put up first-rate shows here.
Sahelion-ki-bari : Built by Maharana Sangram Singh Ji 1710(Foundation) & 1734(Complete). This garden of the maids of honour, brings to the fore the unique life-style of the royal ladies who once strolled in these gardens. This spectacular garden has numerous fountains in four pools embellished with delicately chiseled kiosks and elephants. Flower linked parks stands on the shore of the second major lake of Udaipur- Fateh Sagar. The Garden of the Maids of Honour was constructed for forty-eight young ladies in waiting who were sent to the royal house as a part of the lavish dowry.
Fateh Sagar : Built by Maharana Fateh Singh in , this elegant lake is surrounded on three sides by hills and the Pratap Memorial on the north. One can have boat rides on the rippling waters and row across to Nehru Park an island garden, on a serene afternoon.
Picchola Lake : The legendary lake the entranced Maharana Udai Singh. It is surrounded by hills, palaces, temples, bathing ghats and embankments.
Shilpgarm (An artificial Village) : This rural art and crafts village amidst natural surroundings consists of 30 huts built by craftsperson drawn from all parts of the West Zone - Rajasthan,Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Year around activity is witnessed at the shilpgram. About 50-60 artists and craftsperson stay and perform at the village.
Ahar : In the crumbling remains of ancient capital of the Sisodias who created the kingdom of Mewar. It is a veritable forest of chhatris-white, marble cenotaphs, commemorating royal personages of Mewar. These remarkable colonnaded monuments surmounted by cupolas, stand on raised platforms and striking at twilight. Nearby is a small archeological museum housing a rare collection of four thousand year old earthen pots and remains. Ahar- stands the royal cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar, remarkable pieces of architecture.
Sajjangarh / Monsoon Palace : Overlooking the city is a steep hill, about 152.5 metres, on which stands a striking fortified palace. Dominating the skyline it is visible from most parts of the city. One can go by taxi up a steep road and enjoy the Lakes and Palaces of Udaipur. Inside it there is a gallery opened for the tourists. The hillside is thickly wooded and the former rulers maintained this as a royal shooting preserve. It affords a spectacular view of the city- its lakes, palaces and the surrounding countryside.
Gulab Bagh : Few gardens in India offer such a spectacular beauty as this rose garden laid out by Maharana Sajjan Singh. An elegant building, it houses a library with a rich collection of old hand written manuscripts and books.
Eklingji : Chiselled out of sandstone and marble, this temple of
Eklingji was built in 734 A.D. A complex of 108 temples enclosed by
high walls is devoted to the presiding deity of the Maharanas of
Mewar. It has an ornate "mandap" or pillared hall, under the canopy
of a huge pyramidical roof composed of hundreds of knots.
Nagda : This ancient place in Mewar, was the first capital of Bappa Rawal and has a magnificent toran exquisitely carved with graceful apsaras. Dating back to the 6th century A.D. ,this ancient site in Mewar, is famous for the Sas-Bahu temples (9th-10th century) resplendent in their intricate carvings. Also worth visiting are the splendid Jain Temples of Abhudji.
Haldighati : This place is of great historic interest. The memorable battle between Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar was fought here in 1576 A.D. There is a Chhatri dedicated to the faithful horse of Maharana Pratap-Chetak.
Nathdwara : Built in the early 18th century, this is the most celebrated of the Vaishnava shrine of Shri Nathji or Lord Krishna. Thousands of pilgrims from all parts of India visit this shrine everday, and the member exceed a lakh during Diwali, Holi and Janmashtami, Foreign visitors ae not permitted inside and no photography of this monument is allowed.
Kankroli : Dedicated to Lord Krishna, it is an important Vaishnava temple and ranks very high among the temples of the Vallabhacharaya sect. It is popularly known as Dwarkadish and resembles the famous Nathdwara Shrine. Rajsamand Lake situated close to Kankroli, this dam was built by Maharana Rai Singh in 1660 A.D. Many exquisite arches and chhatris adorn the embankment.
Jaisamand Lake : Built by Maharana Jai Singh Ji in the 17th century, it is the second largest artificial lake in Asia. Graceful marble chhatris festoon the embankment and on either sides are summer palaces for the king's favorite queens. The Bhils, a local tribe still the island inhabit the island in Jaisamand lake.
A trip to Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary makes an exiting excursion. Here the animals in their natural habitat at close range can bee seen. Animals here include panther, wild roar, deer, four-horned antelope, mongoose and various species of migratory birds.
Dungarpur : Dungarpur district is the stronghold of the Bheels, a tribe whose history of occupancy in the Aravalli range is said to date back to 4000 BC.Founded in 1197. The rulers of Dungarpur claim descent from the Rajput house of Mewar. The first rulers of Dungarpur were Kunwar Mahap and his descendants who resided in the town of Galiankot, where their ruined castle still stands. Towards the end of the 12th century, Samant Singh, the eldest son of the ruler of Mewar, had to leave Mewar in favor of his younger brother Kumar Singh. Samant Singh drifted into the hilly area of Bagar and, within the next century, Samant Singh's successors controlled the whole province of Bagar. Rawal Udai Singh of Bagar was killed at the battle of Khanua in 1527, fighting for Mewar against Moghul Emperor Babur. His territory was thereafter divided between his two sons, forming two separate states. Prithvi Raj remained in Dungarpur while his brother Jagmal Singh became independent ruler of Banswara
Ranakpur : In a quiet and picturesque glen which runs into the western slopes of the Aravalli hills is a remarkable complex of Jain temples at Ranakpur, one of the five main holy places of the Jain community. Though over 500 years old, the temples here are superbly preserved in a near-perfect condition. In the center is the main temple dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabdeo with a "Chaumukha" or four-faced shrine dedicated to Adinath. The most distinctive features are the 29 halls of the temple which contain 1444 pillars of which no two are exactly alike.
Every conceivable surface of the walls pillars, and ceilings is carved and every corner and angle is engraved with Jain images. The quadruple image of Adinath stands in the main sanctuary, which is open on all four sides. Rising in three storeys, it has four subsidiary shrines with a total of 80 spuies supported by 420 columns. There are also 24 mandapas or porticos and spires. The entire temple is an orchestration of pillars, porticos, domes and spires.
Kumbhalgarh Fort : (90 Kms) north-west of Udaipur is the second most important citadel of Mewar after Chittaurgarh. Range upon range of the Aravallis protect this impregnable fortress. Thirteen mountain peaks surround it. It is built on the topmost ridge, 914 metres above sea level. Seven great gates stand sentinel at the approaches and seven ramparts, one within the other with crenellated walls strengthened by rounded bastions and immense watch towers make this an iimpregnable mountain fortress. It was built by Rana Kumbha (1419-63). Thee are 8 gates and all have their own their importance. On the west side of last gate which is known as Nimboo Pol are the chambers where the infant Udai Singh was smuggled and hidden by his faithful maid Panna Dai thus saving him from the murderous wrath of his uncles, who wanted to usurp the throne. Udai Singh later came to the throne of Mewar, lived at Kumbhalgarh and built the city of Udaipur. The topmost palace in the fort is called Badal Mahal or Palace of the Cloud and offers a superb view of the surrounding countrywide. The Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary protects the rare species of animals, struggling for their survival. The fauna of the sanctuary include - wolf, leopard, jackal, nilgai, sambar and varieties of birds. The Sanctuary is equally well known for its archeological value.
Jagat : Here the 10th century Amabika Mata Temple is well preserved in all its splendour. It is popularly referred to as the "Khujuraho of Rajasthan".
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