This time around we planned a trip to Udaipur and Chittorgarh, cities in one of our favorite destination Rajasthan. Amidst the controversy surrounding one of the bravest queens of yore Rani Padmavati it was one of its kinds of experience to visit Chittorgarh.
Rajasthan with its rich culture, grand palaces and forts has always been one of the most coveted regions aspired by Mughals and later by British. The story of Udaipur and Chittorgarh are no less. Udaipur was built by the valiant Sisodia king of the Rajputs, Maharana Udaisingh in 1553. It was the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar. Udaipur succeeded Chittorgarh which was besieged and taken over by the Mughals. After 1818 it became a British princely state. Udaipur is popularly known as the “City of Lakes” with its numerous lakes major ones being the Fateh Sagar Lake, Pichola Lake, Swaroop Sagar Lake, Rang Sagar Lake and Doodh Talai Lake besides others. The city is flanked with ethereal gardens and mountain ranges.
Our destinations as enlisted in the itinerary were:
- Karni Mata temple: Located on Machla Magra Hills near the Doodh Talai Lake this temple can be accessed by ropeways.
It houses the idol of Karni Mata a revered goddess by the locals. Besides being a religious spot major attraction of the temple are the white rats that can be fed by the devotees. This is in line with another Karni Mata temple located in Deshnoke, 30 kms from Bikaner where rats are also fed and highly valued. The temple attracts tourists all year around.
- Lake Pichola: Built in 1362 AD and later extended by Maharana UdaiSingh this is an artificial fresh water lake. Two islands as seen on Lake Pichola, Jag Niwas with Lake Palace and Jag Mandir with Jag Mandir Palace, are sure to wreathe one in their beauty. One can opt for a boat ride, camel ride or horse ride here.
- Lake Fatehsagar: An artificial lake constructed by Maharana Fateh Singh in 1680s, this lake offers picturesque view of the mountains all around. One can opt for motor boat rides or speed boat rides. Usually the boat ride spans between 15-20 mins. People who love thrill can choose speed boats wherein the entire lake is covered in 5 mins.
- City Palace: The palace was built by Maharana Udaisingh in 1553 when the Mewars decided to shift their capital from Chittorgarh to Udaipur. The complex was built over a period of 400 years by various generations of the Sisodia clan. Standing atop mountain range about 1962ft the palace offers an opulent view of the city.
Made entirely of marble and granite it consists of elaborate balconies, towers and rooms with exquisite mirror works, marble works, paintings and glass work. The palace speaks volumes about the taste of the Maharanas.
One can now see the weapons and armory of the Maharanas besides photographs from the British era, silver ware exhibits and the illustrious marriage mandap. It is best to explore the palace with a local guide who is well versed with history and makes the trip truly enriching.
- Pratap Gaurav Kendra: Standing tall nestled in the Tiger Hills in the Bargaon area, Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirth, as it’s popularly known, is one of the major attractions of Udaipur.
The facility houses life size idols of Maharana Pratap, Meerabai, various heros of the blood laden era of region viz as Panna dhai, Gora, Badal, Bheels who supported Maharana Pratap in the Haldighatti battle, Jaimal, Phata and Bappa Rawal just to name a few.
One can catch a glimpse of the great history of the Rajput and stories of sacrifice by both men and women equally to maintain the sanctity and sovereignty of their motherland.
Other major attractions are the real life 3D robot/exhibit shows depicting all the major historical events that shaped Udaipur and Chittorgarh in particular. All in all a mesmerizing experience.
- Saheliyon ki bari: Translated as the “Garden of maids” this exquisite garden was built by Maharana Sangram Singh along the banks of Lake Fateh Sagar in the 18th century.
The garden specifically built for his wife and her maids is famous for its manicured gardens, marble work, central fountains, lotus pond and elephant fountains along the periphery.
The garden was a getaway for the queen and her entourage from the mundane palace life. This garden is sure to soothe one’s senses and connect one with the beauty of nature.
The next day was planned to visit the acclaimed Chittorgarh Fort.