Udaipur is the historic capital of the former kingdom of Mewar in the Rajputana agency. It remained untouched by the Mughal invasion. Maharana Udai Singh was the founder of Udaipur. In the year 1818, Udaipur became the princely state of British India. Most of the architecture of Udaipur is based on the Rajput style of architecture. At present Udaipur is a tourist favourite for its outstanding forts and palaces. The lakes of Udaipur provide water to the city, as well as defend the city. Since a water body creates the "floating on water" image, the city came to be called "water city".
The palaces built by the Rajputs are the main architectural attraction of Udaipur. The Lake Palace for example covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. It is one of the most elegant palaces of the world. The courtyards of the palace are lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens which enhance its impressive image. The rooms are ornamented with cusped arches, inland stones of pink and green lotus leaves and painted mirrors. Apartments like the Bada Mahal, Phool Mahal, Kush Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, and Dhola Mahal boost the romance of the elegant setting. The Lake Palace has now been converted into a five star luxury hotel. The City Palace is the symbol of Udaipur. It was originally built in the 16th century by Udai Singh, but additions were made later and embellishments in this palace reflect the culture of the Rajputs. Through the three arched gate is a huge courtyard, within which the palace stands five-storeys high. Irregular in plan, the palace has many courtyards and rooms that have beautiful designs etched on them. There are numerous other palaces such as Dilkhush Mahal, Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, and Krishna Vilas.
The temples in and around Udaipur are celebrated for their outstanding architecture and religious nature. Many of these temples are recognised as the holy pilgrimages of the Hindus. In Udaipur, Jagdish Temple is the well-known temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is built in the Nagara style of architecture. Among the other temples is the Rishabhdeo Temple which is a chief pilgrimage site for followers of Jain religion. The Ambika Mata Temple, also known as the Jagat temple is a small shrine made in fissure of a rock. The Nathdwara temple, the Kankroli temple and the Eklingji temple are among the numerous temples of Udaipur that are famous for their excellent architecture.
The gardens of Udaipur are also famous for their architectural wonder for example the Gulab bagh and the Sajjan Niwas garden. Saheliyo ki Bari was constructed with a different concept and was meant for the pleasure of royal ladies. There is a large Royal Tomb Garden in Ahar, outside Udaipur. Designed in the usual style, the Chhatris of various sizes are intercepted with streams and ponds which make them beautifully different.
Udaipur is a storehouse for some of the unique architectural creations. The Lakes, Palaces and the temples makes Udaipur one of the most captivating places on the map of India.
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