Author: Archana Shankar
Photographer: Pankaj Rakesh
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8174370722
Set in the lush Girwa Valley, surrounded by the Aravallis and interspersed with translucent lakes, Udaipur (meaning city of sunrise) is more favored by nature than most of its desert neighbors. It is situated in southern Rajasthan, 430 kilometers from Jaipur, and is a land of lakeside pleasure palaces, rambling hilltop fortresses, luxuriant gardens with fountains and streams, where bards sing of beautiful princesses and epic warriors. Its annals abound with tales of romance, heroism, chivalry and great traditions.
Udaipur, Chittor and Bhilwara formed Mewar, the largest erstwhile princely state in Rajasthan and a geographically secluded territory whose distinctive physical features played an important part in shaping its history.
Maharana Udai Singh II (1536-1572) laid the foundation of Udaipur as the capital of Mewar in 1567, after the final sack of Chittor by the Moghuls. He built Udaipur (named after himself) between the fortresses of Chittor and Kumbhalgarh. Nestling in an enchanting valley with abundant water and formidable natural defenses, Udaipur was a counterpoint to stark Chittor, 111 kilometres away.