It was dubbed the Venice of the East due to its many stunning lakes…
Udaipur is known more glamorously as the Venice of the East due to its many stunning manmade lakes. The city was founded by Maharana Udai Sing II in 1553 when he transferred the capital of the kingdom of Mewar from Chittorgarh to Udaipur. Nowadays you’ll find plenty of beautiful hotels here including the Lake Palace hotel which featured in the James Bond movie, Octopussy.
We start the morning at the City Palace overlooking Lake Pichola . It’s a beautiful location, chosen strategically for the protection given by the surrounding forests and hills. Maharana Udai Singh II first visited the palace while on a hunting trip. Reportedly he met a hermit who subsequently advised him to build a glorious capital where he could rule his descendants for centuries. Over 400 years, his successors made various additions to the complex forging the palace into the impressive structure you see today. The main attraction is the mor-chowk (peacock courtyard) decorated with tiny pieces of coloured glass and mirrors. You’ll find a museum with paintings, an armoury and one of the largest crystal collections in the country.
Afterwards, we head to the banks of the Fateh Sagar Lake to Saheliyon Ki Bari, otherwise known as the Garden of the Maidens. It was reportedly built by the Maharana for his queen and her 48 royal ladies to enjoy themselves away from court. The queen and her entourage would arrive by palanquins, (carriages) and stroll, relax and play games. The site itself is very tranquil with fountains, lily pads and elephant statues. Then there’s the lovely sounds of birds including sparrows, flycatchers and kingfishers that dart around the water.
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