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Udaipur

Founded in 1559 by local ruler Maharana Udai Singh II, Udaipur was the capital of the kingdom of Mewar. Once the stomping grounds of the aristocracy, Udaipur's scenic lakes and elegant palaces now host visiting royalty of a different sort, from Bollywood stars and producers to India's business and political elite. The view of the City Palace skyline with Lake Pichola and its island place in the foreground is one of India's most famous. Although the sobriquet "fairy-tale city" has worn thin, Udaipur's architecture and interconnected lakes remain evocative of a bygone charm. Even today, amid the rampant development sweeping much of India, Udaipur retains the feel of the days of both the British Raj and the maharajas, both of whom once ruled over this idyllic city.
Founded in 1559 by local ruler Maharana Udai Singh II, Udaipur was the capital of the kingdom of Mewar. Once the stomping grounds of the aristocracy, Udaipur's scenic lakes and elegant palaces now host visiting royalty of a different sort, from Bollywood stars and producers to India's business and political elite. The view of the City Palace skyline with Lake Pichola and its island place in the foreground is one of India's most famous. Although the sobriquet "fairy-tale city" has worn thin, Udaipur's architecture and interconnected lakes remain evocative of a bygone charm. Even today, amid the rampant development sweeping much of India, Udaipur retains the feel of the days of both the British Raj and the maharajas, both of whom once ruled over this idyllic city.

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EXPERIENCES

City Palace

Visit the City Palace, the largest palace in Rajasthan, which was continuously enlarged by the rulers of Udaipur since the 16th century. Highlights of the City Palace include the Tripolia entrance gate built in 1713; the Chandra Mahal, famous for its beautiful columns, fretwork windows and marble reliefs of Rajput women; and the Mor Chowk, or Peacock Courtyard, which gets its name from the inlaid glass mosaics of peacocks on its walls.

Devi Garh & Delwara Village

Visit Devi Garh, an 18th-century fort-palace in the village of Delwara. Now restored as a 39-room boutique hotel, whose design incorporates local semi-precious stones, Devi Garh is surrounded by lush green fields and mountains on three sides and is close to the striking temples of Eklingji and Nagda.

Delwara is a 450-year-old village that is still steeped in traditional ways. It is home to four exquisitely carved 14th-century Jain temples, and its diverse agrarian community includes members of the Bhil tribe, Muslims and Jains.

Fateh Prakash

Walk from the City Palace to the 19th-century Fateh Prakash, which contains a magnificent durbar, or ceremonial hall, an excellent portrait gallery and the famous gallery of crystal furniture and chandeliers imported from England.

Jagdish Temple

Visit Jagdish Temple, the largest temple in Udaipur. It was constructed in the first part of the 17th century and dedicated to Lord Jagannath. Climb a steep stairway to enter the temple and view the pyramid-shaped spire, decorated with carved friezes of women, elephants, musicians and horsemen. The interior is a tour de force of carved stone and contains shrines dedicated to local deities.

Lake Pichola Cruise

Go for a private cruise around Lake Pichola, which is surrounded by the Aravalli mountains. The terrific views of architecture of Udaipur and the surrounding countryside may help you understand why Udaipur has sometimes been called the “Venice of Rajasthan.”

Ranakpur Jain Temple

Take a day-trip pilgrimage to the awe-inspiring Jain temple complex at Ranakpur, considered by many to be among the most important temple sites in northern India, and one of the five great holy places of the Jain faith.

Ranakpur is dominated by the magnificent Adinath Temple, where an exterior of simplified marble blocks gives way to interior spaces of white marble so intricately carved that they must be examined closely to appreciate their fine detail. This design is symbolic of the Jain belief in the insignificance of outward display compared to a rich inner life.

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