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City Palace is one of the architectural wonders of Rajasthan. Large complex, which consists of 11 palaces, is located on the banks of Lake Pichola. Palaces were built in the period from XVI to XX century, and the area of the complex is 2 hectares. This magnificent building is famous for its unusual architecture – a combination of European, Chinese and Medieval styles. The palace, built of granite and marble, has towers, domes, arches, which are mirrored in the waters of the lake. In the inner courtyard of the palace are many pavilions, terraces and hanging gardens, and in the halls of his countless are priceless collections (especially famous manufactures of glass and mirrors). The most famous are palaces Fateh Prahash, where are the unique royal halls – Crystal Gallery and Durbar Hall (luxury banquet hall); Shambhunivas palace, where still live the descendants of the royal family; the palace Shivnivas – former guest house, where stayed Elizabeth II. Today Fateh Prakash and Shivnivas became hotels, where you can get accommodation and dining with excellent views of the lake.
Gorgeous and luxurious palace Jag Mandir is located on one of two islands in Lake Pichola, that belongs to the city of Udaipur. Construction of Jag Mandir took three phases under three rulers started it in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh, in the years 1620-1628 the construction continued Maharana Karan Singh, and was completed during the reign (1628-1652) of Maharana Jagat Singh I.
Three-level palace is a complex of buildings of great beauty. The very first building was erected by Gul Mahal. It is a small palace of yellow sandstone with a wide main dome, topped with an Islamic crescent. Inside, one above the other are three domed halls. Originally the palace was intended as a refuge for Prince Khurrama, who was hiding from his father – the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, and to which Maharana Amar Singh regarded with great favor.
The main palace Jag Mandir, communicates with Gul Mahal, overlooking the “face” to the City Palace. It is an aggregate of many halls and pavilions, shared by a wonderful stone mosaics. At the corners of the palace are octagonal towers, decorated with small domes. Right at the entrance to the palace is the pavilion, which is an arched colonnade of snow-white color, which is decorated with figures of elephants carved out of stone, but they have been damaged and replaced with foam.
On the territory of the palace complex is a garden, for which the Jag Mandir Palace is even called the Lake Garden. It has a courtyard, which is decorated with white and black tiles and full of fountains and pools.
Jag Mandir Palace has always been a place to stay, and today it is often rented for various events and parties.
Palace Dzhagnivas (Lake Palace) is considered to be one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, and its image is a hallmark of Udaipur. It is located on a small (16,000 sq m) Jag Niwas rocky island in the middle of beautiful Lake Pichola. The palace was built in 1743 – 1746 under the leadership of Maharani (wife of Maharaja) Sakshi Shah. For construction have been invited the architects of Shah Jahan from Agra, who used in their work equipment, similar to those used in the construction of the Taj Mahal. At the request of Jagat Singh, it was designed in the image of the beautiful palaces of Agra, the “face” to the east, and as a building material was used white marble.
The building is a multilevel structure with a huge courtyard, numerous outdoor terraces, colonnades, pools and the upper room, perfectly round, instead of the roof of which is a magnificent dome. The walls of the palace are decorated with elegant moldings, inlaid with black marble and colorful mosaics. The palace was used as a summer residence. It is incredibly beautiful, and it look like the palace is basking in the waters of the lake. Its upper room is absolutely circular (diameter of 6.4 meters) and has a floor lined with white and black marble, and the walls are decorated with precious stones. The building is decorated with beautiful terrace and patio.
In 1857, during the revolt of Sepoy, in the palace were sheltered the European families. To support the refugees, the Maharaja ordered to destroy all boats on the lake, which did not allow the rebels to get to the palace. After that, this architectural masterpiece was almost deserted. It slowly was destroyed by the wind and moisture, when in the second half of XX century, its owner, a descendant of the rulers of Bhagwat Singh decided to turn it into a huge hotel of “luxary” class. The designer, who undertook to restore and decorate the palace, was an American artist Didi. It was under his strict guidance the abandoned and dilapidated building has received a second life. And in 1971, the hotel came under the management group of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, which in 2000 had the re-restoration of the palace.
At one time there were in the Lake Palace Vivien Leigh, the Shah of Iran, Queen Elizabeth, Jacqueline Kennedy. The palace was also used for the filming of an episode of a James Bond movie.
At the top of the highest hill in the city of Udaipur Aravalli that is above the lake Pichola, offering spectacular panoramic views of the city and lake, is located white Monsoon Palace, also known as the Palace Sadzhangarh. Its history began in 1884 when ruled the Maharaja Sajan Singh, famous for its progressive views. It was under his rule were built roads, planted trees and gardens in town, and appeared water supply.
Not surprisingly, that the Palace, scheduled by Sajan Singh, had to be convenient and modern. But, unfortunately, the Maharaja died before the castle was built. Construction was completed by his successor Fateh Singh, although not all ideas of the ruler Sajjana have been implemented. Built at an altitude of 944 meters, the palace served as a great place to watch the clouds during the monsoon (hence the name), and also as a stay in the hunting season.
To the Palace leads a winding road across the mountain, which rests on the massive gate in the wall surrounding the palace complex, and its strong bastions were a good protection for Sadzhangarha.
Monsoon palace was built entirely of white marble and is a large and magnificent castle with many rooms and halls. Pinnacle neat domes, carved borders and delicate arches decorate very clean lines of the building. Standing on the top of the mountain, palace looks just fantastic in the evening, when the backlight is turned on. And the area around the castle in 1987 received the status of the protected zone, which is called Sadzhangarh.
Among the tourists this place is particularly popular at a time when the monsoon blows. It is then revealed the beauty of the magnificent palace of the monsoon.
Lake Pichola is a serene location near the lake, chosen by Uday for his new capital, pleasantly different from the thickset Chittaugarha rocks. He increased the lake, which was fed by springs from the mountains, at a distance of 160 km, and now it covers eight square kilometers. Later rulers added dams and canals to prevent flooding during the monsoon.
Two islands on the lake, topped with white as ivory domes and arches of private mansions, are the most familiar and photogenic landscapes of Udaipur. Jag Niwas, which now houses the Lake Palace Hotel, is the largest of the two, it was built as a summer palace during the reign of Jagat Singh (1628 – 1652). If you do not live here, you can visit the palace for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea, room rate includes a boat ride from the main land.
Jagdish Temple is the biggest and the most famous temple of the city, built in 1628-1653 by Maharaja Jagat Singh, the ruler of the city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (in the incarnation of Lakshmi Narayan) and is located at the City Palace.
This beautiful building, real architectural wonder, on which were spent at the time fantastic money – 1.5 million rupees. The temple is adorned with two massive stone elephants. The interior of the temple is decorated with exquisite carvings. Shikara of main temple rises to 24 meters, dominating over the surrounding buildings. To the main sanctuary lead 32 stages, where the statue of Jagannatha made of black stone sits among flowers. In a small altar in front of the temple is a bronze image of Garuda, half-human, half-bird , which was used as Vishnu vehicle. On each side of the main temple are smaller shrines Ganesha and Hanuman.
Not far from the temple is Begur Ki Haveli of XVIII century, now turned into a museum, which contains ancient art objects, clothing of rulers, musical instruments and products made of marble.
Naghda is a small town near Udaipur, where are located the Saas Bahu temples dedicated to Vishnu. Saas Bahu – means mother in law and daughter in law, and indeed, the temple consists of two parts. In the temple are skilled carved gates, and inside there are bas-reliefs depicting amorous couples and scenes from the Ramayana.
Udaipur is called “Venice of the East” and the “City of Lakes.” Old town Udaipur is nestled on the hills around Lake Pichola. It charms tourists with its narrow winding streets between the old havelis with carved balconies, marble palaces and bustling bazaars. Old Udaipur is animated oriented tale with donkeys, camels and elephants, with winding canyons streets running down to the lakes, with palaces and gardens, with the noisy and colorful spice bazaars. Udaipur, after Jaipur is the second most popular among Western tourists city of Rajasthan. Udaipur is called the southern gate of Rajputana. Through Udaipur to Rajasthan rush the crowds of Western tourists who come to India via Bombay. However, Udaipur hasn’t lost its wonderful color, exotic and charm. Most tourists in this city are attracted by luxury hotels in the palaces of Rajas and palaces itself. They spend a day here, but casting a cursory glance at palaces and watch the sunset over Lake Pichola rushing on to their destinations. The main and most interesting in Udaipur is not seen. Stay here for at least two days – in Udaipur is a lot of interesting things to see and where to rest.
Udaipur was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar, ruled by Sisodia clan. The founder of Udaipur is Uday Singh. The ancient capital of Mewar was Chittor or Chittogarh, situated on the banks of the river Banas, to north-east of Udaipur. There is a legend that the king, while hunting in the mountains of Aravalli met a hermit. The hermit blessed the king and advised him to build a palace on the site, which will be under mystical protection. Here Udai Singh built in 1559 his residence. In 1568 Chittor was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and Udai Singh moved the capital to his residence, which became the city of Udaipur. In Udaipur Maharana Pratap was born legendary. In 1576 he fought against Akbar and became famous all over India for his bravery on the battlefield. With the weakening of the Mogul empire, Sisodia regained his power and won most of Mewar except Chittor fort. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, and with the arrival of the British in 1818, became the capital of the principality. Since India’s independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Udaipur entered the government of India, and Mewar became a part of the state of Rajasthan.