The city of Udaipur, located in the state of Rajasthan, was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh. Located in the fertile Girwa Valley, Udaipur was the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar, also known as the Udaipur State and was a princely state in India at the time of British Raj. Predominantly, after the name of the capital, it was called Udaipur.
Maharana Udai Singh, the ruler of Mewar, during his state of exile at Kumbhalgadh, decided to shift his capital to a secured location. Since Mewar kingdom or the Udaipur State, located in the Girwa region, was well-known to Chittor rulers and a developing town known as Ayad, which served as capital of Mewar in 10th and 12th centures was flood prone hence he chose Pichola Lake as his new capital city.
On the foothills of the Aravalli Range, while hunting, he met a sage who blessed him and motivated him to put up a new city. After living secretly in Kumbhalgarh for two years he was crowned by nobles of Mewar in Kumbhalgarh in 1540. His eldest son, Maharana Pratap, too was born in the same year. After killing Banbir, who killed Vikramaditya and ascended the throne in 1537, Maharana Udai Singh returned to Chittorgarh in 1559 and founded the city of Udaipur in the same year.
Chittorgarh, a city in Rajasthan State and a former capital of Mewar, was vulnerable to enemy attacks and the rulers of Chittor used to take refuge in the Girwa valley.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar, in 1567, sieged the Fort of Chittorgarh. Thereafter, Maharana Udai Singh shifted his capital to Udaipur and later retired at Gogunda, where he died in 1572. Thereafter, his son Jagmal died too. The nobles of Mewar, out of fear of succession, immediately after the death of Jagmal, placed Maharana Pratap on the throne.
Maharana Pratap personified the values which the Rajputs cherished. He swore to reclaim the glory of Mewar and spent major part of his life in Jungles, fighting for his dreams, which was to recapture Chittorgarh from Akbar. He stood firmly in the dark era of Rajput history without compromising his honour and dignity. Rana Pratap recovered many of his lost territories including Kumbhalgarh and the areas around Chittor, except for Chittor. He died in 1597.
Udaipur remained the capital of the state and later became a princely state of British India in 1818. The accession to Independent India was signed on 1959 and Maharana Mahendra Singh Mewar is the current symbolic ruler of the city.
Udaipur, often called as the “the Venice of the East”, emerged as a popular tourist destination. The palaces converted into luxury hotels are worth visiting. For example, the Lake Palace, covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. The city is also known for its beautiful lakes – Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar.
The picturesque location of city of Udaipur is used for shooting of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. The name of the city has been used in Raudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.
Other tourist destinations include: The City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Nehru Garden, Sajjangarh Palace, Jag Mandir, Shaukadia Circle.