INFORMATIVE, TRAVELOGUE

Untold Stories of Udaipur

Untold Stories of Udaipur

Udaipur was once the capital of Mewar kingdom. A kingdom which always fights for its sovereignty. Legends of Mewar attract me towards this place to figure out the places to visit in Udaipur.

We boarded the train Mewar express from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station (Delhi) at evening. Somehow we complete our journey and reached Udaipur at morning. We reached theirs via Mathura, Bharatpur, Kota, and Chittor. On our way to Udaipur from Chittor. The thing with surprised me a lot was the rich cultivation in the area, it removes the mask from my face that Rajasthan is only famous for its desert and forts. The beauty of Rajasthan is that cactus plants and cultivated plants grow parallel to each other like brothers. The Aravalli for Udaipur is like a mother who protects her children from external threat. The beauty of Rajasthan creates more curiosity inside me to study deeply about this area.

Places To Visit In Udaipur

There is a big painting of Maharana Pratap at the entrance of the station of Udaipur and the painting was the battle of Haldi Ghati. The station was so clean and the area around the station was also well maintained. We first reached a small shop for breakfast discuss the places to visit in Udaipur, that day.

GULAB BAGH

Located in Gulab Bagh and converted into public library

Sajjan Niwas garden is known as Gulab Bagh. It is situated below the embankment of Pichola Lake and is spread over 100 acres. The garden was laid by Maharana Sajjan Singh. It has zoo and Victoria hall and is opened in 1890 by the viceroy, Lord Lansdowne to commemorate the 1887 Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Different gardens are appointed different names. When we reached near public library we saw families enjoying picnics and children playing games senior citizens sitting on the bench, that was a crowded place and it was obvious because of Sunday. We move further towards Karni Mata temple via zoo. After exiting from Gulab Bagh, by asking the tea seller about the route of Karni Mata Mandir we moved in the direction suggested by him.

Now, from Gulab Bagh, we moved toward Karni Mata Mandir via Lake Pichola. We stopped at Doodh talai and on just a few meters away, there was Lake Pichola and from Doodh talai other road cuts for Karni Mata Mandir. 

LAKE PICHOLA

Dudh Talai

Lake Pichola took its name from the small village of Picholi nearby and was originally created by a Banjara. A man who arranged for the transport of grain in the 15th century during the reign of Maharana Lakha. It is said that the Banjara, find that his pack-bullocks could not ford the stream which flowed at the southern end, thus he built a dam across which they were able to walk.

In 1559 when Maharana Udai Singh moved his capital to Udaipur he strengthened the dam and greatly enlarged the lake. Apart from two island palaces, the present Lake Palace Hotel and Jagmandir, there are several small islets. To the west of the Lake Palace is one known as Arsi Bilas which is crowded with trees in which a variety of waterfowl have their nests. A small platform rising out of the west of Jagmandir is known as Natni-ka-Chabutra.

A somewhat unlikely legend has it that a girl of Nat caste, a professional tightrope walker, was promised half the kingdom of Mewar if she could walk across from the village on the west bank of the lake to the main palace on the east bank of the lake. When she accepted the challenge and seemed to be doing well and the ministers of Maharana get worried that she might complete the task so they cut the rope. The chabutra marks the spot where the girl fell into the water and was drowned.

At the northern end of the lake is the old town with its Ghats and ceremonial gate where the picturesque Gangor festival took place amid fireworks and illuminations. The miniature painting of this festival is depicted on view in the City Palace.

Lakh Pichola

Along the eastern bank is the long range of the City Palace and the south is the hill known as Eklinggarh on which the old outer city wall can be seen snaking along the crest and down the banks of the Pichola. A great dam holds the water back from the Samor Gardens.

To the west of the lake is a hunting lodge known as Khas Odi, where older miniature paintings of Mewar are present. It was first built by Maharana Sangram Singh II in the 18th century but was enlarged by Maharana Fateh Singh. At the center of the building is a square pit where the fight took place between tigers, leopards, bear, wild boar, spectators watching from the top of the surrounding walls. Further along the direction of the town and spreading down towards the edge of the lake is another large walled enclose known as Hari Das-Ki-Magri where wild boar and a few species of deer are allowed to run free. The place where we stand get a clear view of Sajjangarh Palace at the top of the hill, when I was standing there are observing the whole place It was absolutely same that I have imagined in my childhood while studying the fairy tales. The only thing that I wanted at that time is to store the view of that place in my eyes for a lifetime. Lake Pichola is one of the beautiful palces to visit in Udaipur.

Then we move upward for the Karni Mata Mandir I actually not aware of any historical significance of this temple, but I think it is famous because of the ropeway. We have to go there through a ropeway. The statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was there from where we have to take ropeway. For ropeway drive, we moved towards the left direction, Instead of turning left if we follow the road towards the statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya there was a sunset point, it was noon time that’s why we didn’t go there. Karni Mata Mandir is situated at the top of the hill so the clear view of the whole city was easily viewed.

There are three things to see at that hill Karni Mata Mandir, Dargha, and a small palace. From the Mandir through a binocular, I saw many places. One of them was Leela Palace, where the nuclear deal took place between India and USA.

JAGMANDIR

It was developed by Maharana Karan Singh the grandson of Maharana Pratap. When he extended and raised the level of the dam about 1620. It served for a short time in 1623 as a refuge for the Mughal Prince Khurram when he was revolted against his father, the Emperor Jahangir. And it was Udaipur where Prince Khurram was first saluted at Shahjahan. It is interesting to note that he may well have been influenced by the small domed palace of Jagmandir, with its fine inlay work, in the design of the Taj Mahal. As a mark of gratitude Prince Khurram exchanged his orange turban, the symbol of brotherhood, with the Maharana. It is preserved in Udaipur for three centuries.

During the first revolt against the British in 1857, the chivalrous Maharana Swaroop Singh protected the British women and their families and provide shelter at Jagmandir. According to him, the fight is among men, women and innocent children should not be involved in this. The place is named on the name of Maharana Jagat Singh, who made several additions to it.

LAKE PALACE HOTEL

Lakh Palace

It was made by Maharana Jagat Singh in the 17th century. It originally named as Jagniwas. The present Maharana Arvind Singh converted it into a hotel and renamed as Lake Palace Hotel and opened it as a hotel on Feb 1963, which brings Udaipur as a major tourist spot on the world map.
Then from Karni Mata Mandir, we walk to have lunch. We went to a small restaurant at Surajpol for lunch. Stay there for some time and then move to City Palace via Jadish Mandir.

JAGDISH TEMPLE

Jagdish Temple

It is situated in the town near from Tripoli (three arched) gate of the palace. This is 80 feet high edifice and was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651. A flight of thirty-two steps rises to the large central temple which is ornamented with much excellent carving, among which can be found a black stone image of Lord Vishnu as Jagan Nath. The entrance to an enclosed shrine is a fine bronze figure of Garuda. A big edifice is present at the center and four other similar structures at four corners of the main edifice present. The heights of these four temples were not big as that of the central one. From the entrance, the temple at the right side is of Lord Shiva, a temple at the left side is of Lord Ganesha, and at the back side of the main temple, the temple at the right side is of goddess Durga and temple at the left side are of a sun.

Naroo Barhat was the legendary personality of that temple. It is the courageous attempt made by Naroo Barhat, a member of the bardic community, to defend the temple from the destructive hands of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. After the battle of Debari on January 4th,1680 between the Mughal army and the combined forces of Mewar and Marwar, the whole of central Mewar, including the capital Udaipur was laid waste. Maharana Raj Singh, hurrying back to defend his capital, as he was hurrying to protect his capital those loyal to Mewar remains within the town put up what resistance they could and Naroo Barhat organized a small force to defend the temple this courage and determination in the face of enemy have gained him a place in Mewar’s history.
From Jadish temple we moved towards City Palace. Which is a few meters away from the temple.

CITY PALACE

The entrance of the palace was so amazing with artilleries and the beauty can’t be compared with that of that of the red fort. The palace was formed and maintained with great care. The guards of the palace were in red uniforms. The palace was so spacious and the architecture was amazing. There were shops of antiques and Rajasthani traditional items on one side and the wall is present at the other side from where the clear view of the whole city was seen. As we move forward, there was a small restaurant and happy hour was also there, basically to attract foreign travelers.

We entered into the museum, at the entrance of the museum the logo to Mewar kingdom was present at the top of the entrance. In the logo shield over which Sun is made is supported by a Rajput warrior at one side and by a Bhil from the other side. It is said that Bappa Rawal took the leadership of Chittor from Mori king of Malwa with the help of Bhils. Bhils elect him as their paramount chief i.e RANA, and one of these Bhil’s applied by his own blood the tika, the mark of sovereignty, on his forehead. In the museum, weapons are present, which was used at that time in Mewar by the warriors and the kings. From there we visited the whole palace it was a little bit crowded but the architecture of the palace was so much attractive that I didn’t bother about the crowd. The thing with interests in the palace was its room with mirrored glass floor with a wall decorated with glass designs and miniature paintings. There are also many small passages present inside the palace.

The construction of the palace was started by Maharana Udai Singh when he shifted his capital from Chittor to Udaipur. It is said that when one day Maharana Udai Singh went for hunting. He encountered a holy man and when we went for his ‘Darshan’. The holy man told him if he builds his palace round, then this place fortune would favor the family. Maharana accepted his advice and first erected a small shrine. This is the oldest part and is now known as Dhuni Mata. The latter rulers of Mewar added other things in the palace as per their requirement.
After visiting the city palace we went to the hotel and planned the next day plans.
We decided to leave the hotel latest by 7:30 am and by 12:00 noon we will cover as possible places in Udaipur and then we will move to Kumbhalgarh. First, we visited the lake, Fateh Sagar.

FATEH SAGAR LAKE

Fateh Sagar Lake

It is present in the north of the Pichola Lake connected by a canal. It was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh, but when the old embankment was damaged by heavy rains, the lake was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh. The foundation stone of new embankment was laid by the Duke of Connaught, the son of Queen Victoria in 1889. A small island is made by the government of Rajasthan, which is a public park with a fountain.

We reached there early and on our way, we also see the statue of Swami Vivekananda. On the other side of it, there was a solar observery, but we didn’t visit that side and bored the auto to reach the monsoon palace.

MONSOON PALACE

Monsoon Palace

The Palace is originally known as Sajjangarh Palace. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1884. It is clearly seen from Lake Fateh Sagar. During the monsoon time, Maharana with his family shifted to Monsoon Palace to enjoy monsoon. From the palace panoramic view of the city’s lakes, palaces and the surrounding countryside can be seen. The place is also the wildlife sanctuary. The palace was used in 1983 James Bond film Octopussy. The area is now coming under the government of Rajasthan.

When we reached the Monsoon Palace we decided to walk instead by taking government car. We then started to give our footprints on the road which leads us towards the palace. By enjoying the beauty of nature and under the manifold of Arawali hills which surrounds that place we reached our destination by the continuous walking of about 45 minutes. The panoramic view of the whole city from that place attracts me like the electric field to stay here for a lifetime. It was not monsoon time, but I was trying to imagine how it looks during monsoon season. The place was just like what we studied in fairy tales during our childhood days. In actual we enjoyed a lot during our traveling towards the monsoon palace. The beauty of the monsoon palace really gives us the most beautiful memories of Udaipur.
Then we hired a car and started our journey to Kumbhalgarh via Haldi Ghati.

HALDI GHATI

Maharana Pratap along with Chetak attacking Mughal General Man Singh

In July 1576 the famous battle of Haldi Ghati took place between the forces of Mewar and Mughals. The general of Mewar was Hakim Khan the descendant of Sher Shah Suri, and the general of Mughals was Prince Man Singh of Amber.
At the entrance of the museum of Haldi Ghati, there was a big bronze statue of Maharana Pratap with his horse attacking Man Singh who was on his elephant. We entered the museum where we find many interesting things, but the most interesting thing which attracts me was the armor of Maharana Pratap which he uses during his childhood times. Then there was a short movie about the life of Maharana Pratap. From there we went to a place where the main incidents of the life of Maharana Pratap were picturized through dummies and through the sound system the incidents were described. Then we went to the place where the battle of Haldi Ghati takes place. which is now famous as ‘Rakt Tarai’. It is said that when the fight ends with the bloodsheds the whole region was colored red with blood and thus the whole region is now known as Rakt Tarai. Then we went to the small passage where the color of the sand is yellow as that of turmeric and thus the place is named Haldi Ghati. It is said that the Rajputs used the soil of Haldi Ghati for ‘Tilak’ on their forehead, Rajputs sees this place as scared because their forefathers sacrificed their lives in the battle.
Then we moved to the place where Chetek the loyal horse of Maharana Pratap crosses the barrier of 22 feet by the jump to protect him, and it runs up to 500 meters and then died. The place where it died, its Samadhi is formed there and is known as Chetek Samadhi.

Chetak Samadhi

Then we moved directly towards the Kumbhalgarh fort by passing through many villages and crossing the blankets of Aravalli hills we finally reached our destiny the Kumbhalgarh fort. Many beautiful hotels are present near the fort.

KUMBHALGARH FORT

 

When we reached Kumbhalgarh Fort it was closed so we buy only the ticket for lightening and sound show. The show starts at 6:30 pm and was nice show the story which they told confused me a little bit because at some places what they told was different from what I read about that place. But at the end the show was nice.

Actually, the fort of Kumbhalgarh is present in the deep in the hills on the border of Marwar, sixty miles northwest of Udaipur. The fort was built by Maharana Kumbha in 1458. It is 3,568 feet above sea level, it gives the impressive view of the rugged Aravali ranges and the sandy deserts of Marwar. The fort is spread over the hill for the distance of almost eight miles.

When we enter the fort through the great fortified gateway we can see on the right the temples of Nilkanth Mahadeo and Kumbhswami and the Chatri of Kunwar Prithviraj, Maharana Raimal’s son. Maharana Kumbha erected total thirty-two fortresses for the defense of Mewar and Kumbhalgarh. And it is said that Maharana Kumbha built the fort over the site of an ancient fortress traditionally ascribed to Samprati a Jain prince of the Mauryan dynasty. Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the most important Forts related to the Udaipur and is one of the places to visit in Udaipur outer.

Bagore Ki Haveli

We went to the Gangori Ghat which is present on the bank of Lake Pichola. It was built in the 18th century by the prime minister of Mewar Amir Chand Badwa. After the death of Amir Chand Badwa, the Haveli comes under the state. The beautiful architecture of Bagore Ki Haveli attracts tourists towards it. It is now renovated and is completely changes in the museum. There are many types of museums present in the Haveli which reflects the Rajputana customs and architecture. We first visited the place where puppets are exhibited. Various types of puppets are exhibited which are used in puppet shows and indicated the royal court of Mewar.
Then we moved to the museum where the traditional things of that time are exhibited. Like the showcase of various types of turbans used at that time. I was amazed to see that at that time the identity of people by their turban. For different community different types of turbans are used, and all these turbans are exhibited there. The decorating items of royal families are exhibited, kitchen, musical instruments. And from there I come to know that the word ‘tabla’ of the musical instrument comes from the Arabic word ‘tabal’ which means drum.
Then we moved to the wedding museum, thereby dummies and paintings they tried to show how royal weddings were taking place at that time. The traditions and various steps of wedding process were shown by them in a very sequential way. Then we moved to weapon area where various types of weapons were exhibited used at that time various types of talvars, bhalas, teer Kaman, guns, rifles, armored, etc.

Now from Bagore Ki Haveli, we decided to move to Sahelion-ki-Bari. As we have lots of time, so we decided to go there by walk. But it was present at the outer of the city and we walked more than we expected.

Sahelion-ki-Bari

Sahelion-ki-Bari was built by Maharana Sangram Singh II but was damaged and the gardens were reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh in its present form. There were fountains in the garden and flowers well maintained with one science museum, which was established by the government of Rajasthan. We walk in the garden for some time nothing was so historic there to see.
Then we take an auto and went to the celebrations mall, the only famous mall of Udaipur. The architecture of the mall was totally inspired by the architecture of the historical buildings of Udaipur, with the dome above it. That’s our last destination in Udaipur then we moved towards the hotel to collect our bags because the time for the train was near. With some shopping and eating Biryani, we were on our way to the hotel.

By collecting our items we marched towards the railway station with a cup of tea. With never ending memories of Udaipur, we leave that place in the hope that someday I will definitely visit this place again and give tribute to the warriors who always give priority to safeguard their motherland. The land always reminds us of what sovereignty is and nothing in this world is as prestigious as our motherland and our sovereignty.

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