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A romantic city of seven lakes known as the Venice of the East.

Udaipur, in southern Rajasthan, is known as the 'Venice of the East' or 'City of Lakes' due to several beautiful lakes that provide a romantic backdrop to many hilltop fortresses and palaces. The old city is one of the most aesthetic places to visit in India and easy to explore on foot.

The city was founded in 1558 by Maharana Udai Singh who transferred his capital of Mewar from Chittorgarh to Udaipur when besieged by the Moghul Akbar. The city remained the Mewar capital until 1818, when it came under the control of the British.

There are in fact seven lakes in Udaipur, including Lake Pichola with its star attraction the City Palace complex and museum with its many buildings and fine lake views. Jagdish Temple is just north of the City Palace and is an impressive structure with sculptures of elephants in the entrance. On the edge of Lake Pichola is Bagore Ki Haveli, built by the Prime Minister of Mewer, a stunning building with Rajasthani arts, paintings, terraces and costumes of the kings on display. A boat trip on the lakes is a must do, as is relaxing at one of the many cafes that overlook the lakes.

Other attractions worth exploring are Fateh Sagar lake which is overlooked by a number of parks and hills. In the centre of the lake is Nehru Park, a popular garden island. Jagniwas Island used to be a Maharana Palace, but is now a luxury hotel. There is also a luxury hotel in Jagmandir Island offering stunning views of the city and palaces.

Not surprisingly, Udaipur has some of India's grandest hotels and we would recommend a stay in a restored palace to truly appreciate the magnificence of the design and architecture of India's past rulers.



Hugh Clayson

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