Travelling is not just a fun activity for many. It is a way of being. It is what helps many learn about the world we inhabit. Cultures of others' people, their heritage, food and idiosyncrasies, all this and more make travelling such an exhilarating experience. Udaipur is one such place in India that offers a glimpse into an exotic culture with some breathtaking heritage views. Udaipur is a popular city located in the western state of Rajasthan. Round the year, the city is buzzing with tourists to revel in its exotic beauty. Once here, do not miss the pristine Pichola Lake, an artificial freshwater lake, built in 1362 by gipsies or the Banjara tribe, under the King Lakha of Mewar Kingdom.
King Udai Singh, the 12th ruler of the Mewar Kingdom, was fascinated by Pichola Lake and decided to build a city named Udaipur around it. He also enlarged the lake by building a dam. All the palaces, ghats, temples and islands that we see around the lake today, were built over time. The four main islands are the Jag Mandir, Jag Niwas, Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas. Legends also say that King Jawan Singh promised a tightrope walker that half of the Mewar city would be gifted to her if she could cross Pichola Lake over a tightrope. But before she could reach the other end, the rope was cut, which resulted in her death. While dying, the tightrope walker cursed the king that he would never have an heir to the throne. The curse came true as all succeeding rulers were adopted, sons.
In 1983, a James Bond film titled "Octopussy" was shot in and around Udaipur, which led to the soaring popularity of the lake globally. The Hollywood film - "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", starring Judi Dench and Dev Patel, was shot here in 2011. The film featured various shots of the popular lake. In the past few years, many Hindi films have also been shot here, owing to its picturesque beauty. The lake looks serene throughout the day - by evening the lake acquires a unique demeanour, lit by sun-rays. The lake is a gorgeous sight in the evening. Photographers must not miss this hour to capture the varied shades of the lake. During the course of the day, the blue lake acquires many hues, which captivate tourists a lot.
Surrounded by gorgeous Aravali ranges, the lake attracts thousands of visitors. The sightseeing timings are from 9 am to 6 pm, while the boating timings are from 10 am to 5 pm. Enjoy some precious moments with your loved ones as you spend time relaxing around the region. You can enjoy the sights of ghats on one side and palaces on the other. Visit Udaipur and soak in some special moments as your boat wades through the lake.
Jag Niwas is one of the prominent islands, which is located amidst Pichola Lake. It houses the Taj Lake Palace, which was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II in 1754. The palace was later transformed into a luxurious heritage hotel, attracting many to experience the beautiful architecture, gardens and most importantly the delicious Mewari cuisine. Here, you can also see the vintage cars that were used by the royals.
Gangaur Ghat is a popular attraction amongst travellers. One can experience the exquisite Rajasthani culture here owing to its historical significance. During special occasions of Gangaur, Jal Jhulni, Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri, idols of Gods and Goddesses are immersed in the lake from the ghat. On other days, you can simply sit on the steps of the ghats and immerse yourself in the soothing waves of the lake.
Jag Mandir, or the Lake Garden Palace, boasts of rich history. Named after the Mewar king Jagat Singh, the palace served as a summer resort for the king. Made of white marbles and sandstone, the place is adorned with murals and paintings. The lush garden inside further enhances the beauty. There is also a heritage museum inside with artefacts from the Mewari dynasty. History lovers must visit this place.
So, plan your trip to Udaipur to explore the unmatched hospitality, historical sights and the most pristine Pichola Lake, standing tall against the test of time and challenges.
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