Udaipur city is situated 598 metre above sea level in the southern part of the Indian state, Rajasthan. It has an area of 37 square kilometres and is located on the southern slope of the mighty Aravalli hills which separates the city from the Thar desert. Northern Udaipur comprises of plateaus while the eastern side of the city has vast fertile plains. Southern part of this beautiful city comprises of rocks, hills and forests.
Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India – snuggling beside tranquil Lake Pichola, with the purple ridges of the Aravalli Range stretching away in every direction. Fantastical palaces, temples, havelis (traditional, ornately decorated residences) and countless narrow, crooked, timeless streets add the human counterpoint to the city’s natural charms. For the visitor there's the serenity of boat rides on the lakes, the bustle and colour of bazaars, a lively arts scene, the quaint old-world feel of its heritage hotels, tempting shops and some lovely countryside to explore on wheels, feet or horseback.
The City Palace towers over Lake Pichola. The balconies, cupolas, and towers of the palace give a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding city. This complex actually consists of four major and several minor palaces that collectively form the magnificent City Palace. The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying artifacts.
Now a hotel but was originally called Jagniwas and served as a summer palace. Built between 1743 and 1746 on the island near Jagmandir in Lake Pichola, the palace, which faces east, is a wondrous sight to behold. The walls made of black and white marbles are adorned with semi-precious stones and ornamented niches. Gardens, fountains, pillared terraces, and columns line its courtyards.
Jagmandir is a palace built on an island on the Lake Pichola. Also called the ‘Lake Garden Palace’, the construction for this began in 1620 and was completed around 1652. The royal family used the palace as its summer resort and for hosting parties. Interestingly, Prince Khurram - later Emperor Shah Jahan - was given shelter here when he rebelled against his father Emperor Jahangir. The Palace had such an impact on Emperor Shah Jahan that it went on to become the inspiration for one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World, The Taj Mahal.
Situated just outside Udaipur, this 19th-century palace is built on top of Bansdara hills. Used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge, its builder, Maharana Sajjan Singh, originally planned to make it an astronomical center. The plan was cancelled with Maharana Sajjan Singh's premature death. It is still an awe-inspiring sight on the Udaipur skyline and offers spectacular views of the city and the areas around.
This delightful lake, bordered by hills and woodlands, lies to the north of Lake Pichola. This artificial lake is connected to Lake Pichola by a canal. The lake houses the beautiful Nehru Island as well as an islet on which stands the Udaipur Solar Observatory. It was inaugurated by the Duke of Connaught and was initially called Connaught Bundh.
Sukhadia Circle lies to the north of Udaipur. It comprises a small pond that also houses a 21 foot tall, three-tiered marble fountain. Decorated with beautifully carved motifs, the fountain looks spectacular at night when it is lit up. The fountain is surrounded by gardens, creating a perfect oasis in a city bustling with tourists.
Situated 7 kms west of Udaipur near Lake Fateh Sagar is the Centre's Shilpgram - the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex. Spread over 70 acres, and surrounded by the Aravallis, the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex has been conceived as a living museum to depict the lifestyles of the folk and tribal people of the west zone.
Udai Sagar Lake is one of the five striking lakes situated in Udaipur. Located about 13 kilometres to the east of Udaipur, the construction of this lake was started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh. The lake is actually a result of a dam being built on the river Berach to supply adequate water to the Maharana’s kingdom. Udai Sagar Lake is 4 kms in length, 2.5 kilometres in width and about 9 meters at its deepest.
Haldighati is a famed mountain pass in the hills of the Aravalli Range. The pass, about 40 kilometres from Udaipur, connects the districts of Rajsamand and Pali. The pass gets its name from the yellow-coloured soil of the region (turmeric is called haldi in Hindi).
The road that takes visitors to Pichola Lake has another popular destination – the Doodh Talai Lake. The lake is nestled between several small hillocks which themselves are tourist attractions. The Deen Dayal Upadhyay Park and the Manikya Lal Verma Garden are part of the Doodh Talai Lake Garden.
The Udaipur Biological Park, also known as the Sajjangarh Biological Park is located just beneath the Monsoon Palace, and is around 8 km from the city center. The Sajjangarh Biological Park was built with an aim to conserve the threatened flora and fauna within the area. Upon its inauguration, the park received more than 46 thousand visitors in a month, which is a feat in itself.
The Under the Sun Fish Aquarium at Fateh Sagar Pal in Udaipur has managed to mark its distinct position on the map as India’s first Hi-Tech virtual fish aquarium. In the first phase, the Under the Sun aquarium is playing host to 156 varieties of sea fish and fresh water fish, which have been procured from 16 countries around the world. In the long run, this number will go up to 1500 varieties! The 125 meter long gallery features specially built tanks that let the visitors feel as if they are deep within the ocean.
The collection within the grounds of the Garden Hotel comprises a variety of vintage and classic vehicles like Cadillac, Chevrolet, Morris etc owned by the Maharanas of Udaipur. They used these automobiles as their luxurious modes of transport.
The Udaipur Collection of crystal is one of the largest and most complete collections of Osler cut glass in existence. In both diversity of objects and in the quality and grandeur of the included pieces, it holds a unique place in the decorative art world. Most of this collection was commissioned by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1878, with the larger commissions of the furniture pieces being given to Osler in 1881. The exquisite crystal items in the gallery range from dining table, table, sofa set, washing bowl, goblet, tray, decanter, to perfume bottles, candle stands, crockery and even beds. The highlight of the gallery is a jewel studded carpet, embodying peerless class.
Badi Lake is an artificial lake that was built by Maharana Raj Singh to help the city counterbalance the devastating effects of drought. He named the lake Jiyan Sagar after his mother Jana Devi. During the drought of 1973, the lake proved to be a blessing for the people of Udaipur. And today, the lake has become a popular attraction in the city, for both locals and tourists.
Located just outside the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, at the foot hills of Bans-Dahara hills is the Sajjangarh Biological Park spread over 36 hectares of land. In this park one can see the Carnivores and Herbivores animals moving around in their natural habitat. One can visit the Park on foot or by Golf car on payment basis.