Known as the “Venice of the East,” Udaipur overlooks the shimmering Lake Pichola and is thought to be the most romantic city in Rajasthan…or perhaps all of India. Boasting fantastical palaces, temples and havelis, this “City of Lakes” is quite extraordinary. Despite (or possibly because of) its remote locale nearly 700 kilometers from New Delhi, Udaipur is a favorite location for movies, and you may find yourself on the one-time set of a James Bond film.
The man-made freshwater Lake Pichola was created in the year 1362 when a dam was built to meet the water needs of the nearby village. Fateh Sagar Lake was added in the 1680s to the north of Lake Pichola, and other contiguous lakes and channels have developed over time. To no surprise, the beautiful area became a favorite place for Rajput getaways and, so, a collection of centuries-old palaces sit like jewels along the banks and on the islands of Lake Pichola.
The most famous of these regal abodes, Lake Palace, was built on the island of Jag Niwas in the north waters of Lake Pichola. Constructed from 1743 to 1746, this marble masterpiece was originally built as a royal summer home and has since been transformed into a luxury hotel. Jag Mandir, another famous island-palace-hotel, is officially named after the island itself but is sometimes called Swarg Ki Vatika or “garden of heaven” for its incomparable garden courtyard.
Sajjan Garh, otherwise known as Monsoon Palace, perches atop a hill overlooking the city and Fateh Sagar Lake. Jagdish Temple, a Hindu temple built in 1651 on the east side of Lake Pichola, features detailed facade carvings. These are just a few of the many notable landmarks. If you head east, away from the lake, you can wander through the colorful streets of the inner city, which are lined with a multitude of temples, shops and restaurants to please even the most discerning traveler.
The City Palace of Udaipur is a sprawling complex of 11 combined palaces situated on the east bank of Lake Pichola in Rajasthan. Bejeweled with balconies, towers and cupolas offering panoramic views of the lake and designed in several flamboyant but somehow cohesive architectural styles, the imposing City Palace is Rajasthan’s largest palace. It was built over a period of nearly 400 years beginning in 1553, with contributions from several rulers of the Mewar dynasty. These royals built their palace compound concurrent with establishment of the city of Udaipur, and they both lived in and reigned from the premises.