Monsoon Magic in Rajasthan: Part 2 – Serene Udaipur
Udaipur, also known as the “City of Lakes”, was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II as the final capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom. According to folklore, Maharana Udai Singh II 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, assuring him it would be well protected.
Udaipur is one of the favorite tourist destinations in Rajasthan. The city has five major lakes:- Fateh Sagar Lake, Rangsagar Lake, Pichola Lake, Swaroopsagar Lake and Dudh Talai Lake. These five lakes are this city’s lifeline and impart a serene ambience to it. The city boasts of a number of interesting places to keep a traveler hooked; forts, museums, palaces, gardens, monuments and colorful festivals. The massive forts of Udaipur, grab the interest of people with their sheer structure and architecture. The beautiful temples create a sense of aestheticism with their spiritual ecstasy. The lakes cast a spell with their sheer magnitude and natural beauty. The rich architecture and culture attract numerous foreign and domestic visitors.
The presence of lakes makes the city’s climate mild and pleasant all year round. Even in January, the coldest month, the days are bright, sunny and warm with maximum temperature around 28.3 °C (82.9 °F). The autumn / winter climate is the time when maximum tourists visit this city. However, during monsoons, this city’s beauty is increased manifold. Low lying monsoon clouds for a blanket over the skies and cool breeeze blowing at all times.
I booked my stay at Lake View Villa and Pahuna Haveli for 2 days each, both are royal homestays properties in Udiapur. I started my sightseeing from City Palace, which epitomizes both grandeur and beauty. It is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan and the perfect place to stay in the City of Lakes. One can get lost inside the massive City Palace and getting to know every corner of the Palace, which is also a hotel can take days; no single dynasty can take credit for building this massive palace. From here, one can also glimpse Lake Palace, which is the summer retreat of the royal family. Lake Palace of Udaipur has been accredited for being one of the most romantic places all across the globe.
One does not feel like doing anything ensconced in the luxurious rooms of City Palace, enjoying the serenity of the place, watching the rains falling down and gazing at the Lake Palace in the distance, which is precisely what I did for most part of my stay there. However, for the adventurous and outdoorsy types, there are lots of interesting places for sightseeing.
Some of the notable places to visit while in Udaipur are:
Fateh Sagar Lake: Surrounded by a number of hills, Fateh Sagar was originally built in 1678 by Maharana Jai singh, but it was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh after heavy rains destroyed the dam. It is an artificial lake. A canal links the two, via Swaroop Sagar and Rang Sagar Lakes. A pleasant drive winds along the east bank and in the middle of the lake is Nehru Park, a popular garden island with a boat shaped cafe. Saheliyon ki Bari: situated in the north of the city, is well maintained, with fountains and kiosks, a delightful lotus pool and marble elephants. There is also a small museum here; of which the main attraction are some stuffed cobras.
Lake Pichola: The beautiful Lake Pichola was enlarged by Maharaja Udai Singh II after he founded the city. He built a masonry dam, known as the Badipol, and the lake is now 4km long and 3 km wide. Nevertheless, it remains fairly shallow and can actually dry up – in severe droughts it’s possible to walk to Jagniwas and Jagmandir island. A handful of crocodiles are believed to inhabit the more remote parts of the lake, near the inhabited sections of the shore. The City Palace extends for a long stretch along the east bank.
Sajjan Garh: It is a former monsoon palace 1100 ft. high above the surrounding and 3100 ft. from sea level, was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1884. The palace looks its best during the rainy season. It offers a panoramic overview of the city’s lakes, palaces and surrounding country side.The hillside is thickly wooded and the former rulers maintained this as a royal shooting preserve.
Jagdish Temple: Located only 150 m north of the entrance to the City Palace, this fine Indo-Aryan Temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651 and enshrines a black stone image of Vishnu as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe.
Other than these places, there are so many innumerable interesting places to see in and around Udaipur, which cannot be put in words in one article. So the best thing is to discover your own delights in serene Udaipur during the monsoons.
Udaipur is easily accessible from all the major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur. So, if you are tired of your hectic schedules and daily routine, then plan a trip to the city of lakes to lighten up your worries and tensions. A tour to the romantic city of Udaipur would certainly become an unforgettable part of your memories and you will cherish these memories throughout your life.