UDAIPUR THE VENICE OF INDIA

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Serene lakes, splendid palaces and the lyrical Aravallis have earned Udaipur the tag of the most romantic spot on the continent of India

Udaipur in first impression sweeps you with its rich aura of royal palaces and lakes. Maharana Udai Singh laid the foundation stone of Udaipur in 1557 AD and made it the capital of Mewar kingdom. Set amid the lyrical Aravallis, Udaipur’s romantic landscape is as enticing as the city’s majestic monuments. The lake city appeals to travellers with its placid waters, boats moving in serenity, heritage havelis, lofty palaces, ancient temples and elevated hills on all its sides. The city grew on the banks of Pichola lake in the south, along with the City Palace and Fort that rises from its edge with a floating palace, the Lake Palace, with Aravallis in the backdrop. Located in the heart of the city, Pichola lake, is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur.

The floating Lake Palace is splendidly located on the Jag Island of Pichola lake. Several scenes of the 1983 blockbuster film, Octopussy, starring James Bond were filmed here. It’s exclusively accessible by boat only to guests. Non-guests are only able to admire from afar.

Jagdish Temple in the old city stands against time with splendour and grace. A long flight of stairs lands to the entrance of this magnificent example of Māru-Gurjara architecture, carrying intricate carvings. Built in 1651, a short walk from the City Palace brings you to this temple.

Huddled streets around the temple form the old city. They are home to several guest houses, rooftop restaurants, art schools and art shops selling miniature paintings along with other souvenirs. The paintings are extremely detailed and elaborate, reflecting Udaipur’s truly unique craft. The painstaking artworks are created on paper and silk cloth. Owing to stiff competition, the art shops offer few standard postcard paintings for a meager amount of `10.

City Palace is a spectacle of Udaipur’s royalty. This imposing palace, built in granite and marble over a period of 400 years, covers hanging gardens, courtyards, terraces, corridors, rooms and pavilions. The palace offers a splendid view of the lake from all its hanging balconies and towers. The exquisite art in its mirror work, murals, wall paintings and silver work is a feast to eyes for all the tourists.

One for sure gets lost in this mesmerising city, romancing its lakes and exploring its palaces. Highly acclaimed for its history, culture, scenic lakes and the Rajput era palaces, Udaipur is rightly batted around as the Venice of India.

Text & Photos: Jagdev Singh

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