The Grand Tour III-13: Udaipur…Floating City

1 - udaipur

Chhatri, Lake Palace at sunset, Udaipur.

At the foothills of the Aravalli mountains floats a city.  A beautiful dream of a city, in the midst of seven lakes.

Founded in 1558 by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia Clan as the capital city of his kingdom of Mewar, the city bears the name Udaipur, or “Udai’s city”.

It is well-known as a City of Lakes, though these lakes are man-made, created in the course of centuries. That notwithstanding, they are breathtakingly beautiful and the city itself was built on their banks.

2 - city palace

The City Palace on Lake Pichola.

3 - lake palace

The Lake Palace, viewed from the City Palace.

4 - city palace tourists

Tourists in the City Palace Museum.

5 - riviera

Riviera-style cafe along the City Palace waterfront.

6 - city

The old city of Udaipur.

7 - city palace night

The City Palace at night.

The most central of these lakes, and with the most picturesque name, is Lake Pichola. It is here that the heart of the Old City of Udaipur sits.

The most imposing monument on the Lake is, of course, the simply-named City Palace – a sprawling complex of palaces built along the Eastern bank. First begun in 1553, the palace was improved and expanded on in the course of 400 years and today contains royal residences, a museum, as well as a luxury hotel.

Just across the water from the City Palace sits the other palace – the Lake Palace. This jewel of a palace, built in white marble, was created in 1746 as a Summer Palace, and it floats impossibly on the surface of the still waters of Lake Pichola.

South of the Lake Palace sits a third palace – the Jag Mandir, begun in the mid 1500s (around the time Lake Pichola itself was created) and completed in the mid 1600s.

There is a fourth palace in this City of Palaces – the Monsoon Palace – high up in the Aravalli Hills and completed in the late 19th century. From here, there is a view upon the entire city with its seven lakes, and the pendulous clouds that hang over the city during the Monsoon Season, hence the name.

8 - music festival

The Udaipur World Music Festival, on Jag Mandir.

9 - temple

Elaborate temple carvings, Jagdish Temple.

10 - park

Sahelyon-ki-bari (“Garden of the Maidens”), built in 1734.

11 - hill palace

The Monsoon Palace.

Back in the Old City, one can wander for days through the warrens and alleyways, stumbling upon magnificent Hindu Temples or quaint colonial-era edifices.

Another view of the city is offered by touring it by boat – one is able to admire the many ghats and facades of the city as they were meant to be admired: from the water.

12 - colonial city

Fateh Memorial, Old City.

13 - museum

The former Victoria Hall Museum, in the Gulab Bagh.

14 - train station

Artistic rendering of historic Udaipur, in traditional Mewari painting, at the Udaipur Train Station.

Time passes one by as one floats upon the azure waters of Lake Pichola.

Before long it is evening. The City Palace glows a burnished shade of gold by the light of the setting sun.

I hop a return speedboat leisurely back to the Lake Palace – in which I’ve chosen to sojourn during my time here – to prepare myself for the coming few days of wandering.

15 - lake island

Jag Mandir in the evening.

16 - lake

Boat floating on Lake Pichola.

17 - returning

Returning to the Lake Palace.

18 - sunset

Sun setting over the City Palace.

19 - glowing

The golden glow of the City Palace at sunset.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Heritage, India, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s