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Udaipur, the capital of the former princly state of Mewar, is a beautiful city in Rajasthan, India famous for its lakes and palaces. A current tourist favorite, especially for up-market Westerners, it was a backdrop for numerous movies including the James Bond flick "Octopussy".
Udaipur is referred to as the "Venice of the East", the "Most Romantic City of India" and the "Kashmir of Rajasthan" (a reference to Dal Lake) and not without reason. Tourists flock to this enchanting old & modern town in the heart of the Aravalli Mountains, which offers three interconnected lakes within the town - the Fateh Sagar Lake, the Lake Pichhola and the smaller Swaroop Sagar Lake; along with forts, palaces, temples, gardens, mountains and narrow lanes lines withdrawn with stalls, relives the reminisces of a heroic past, valor and chivalry.
Udaipur was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar, ruled by the Sisodia clan with jhala's loyalty. The founder of Udaipur was Rana Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap. The ancient capital of Mewar was Nagda, located on the Banas River northeast of Udaipur. Legend has it that Maharana Udai Singh came upon a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range on the banks of the lake Pichola.
In 1568, the Mughal emperor Akbar captured Chittorgarh, and Udai Singh moved the capital to the site of his residence, which became the city of Udaipur. As the Mughal empire weakened, the Sisodia ranas, and later maharanas, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar district. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818.
After India's Independence in 1947, Mewar was the first princely state that acceded to the Dominion of India, and was integrated into India's Rajasthan state. The Maharana of Mewar was given honorary title of the MahaRajpramukh of the newly formed state of Rajasthan.
Udaipur receives ample number of tourists from all over the world every year. The city is still inhabited by people of Bhil tribe. Udaipur dwellers are really friendly and good to be with. On your first look, you will find them rugged, but these people are really good at heart. Untouched by the pace of modern times, these desert people are well-built, simple and cheerful. Here, people usually prefer wearing bright colored clothes. Colorful festivals and fairs depict the cultural prosperity of Udaipur.
The climate of Udaipur is tropical, with the mercury staying between a maximum of 42.3°C and a minimum of 28.8°C during summers. Winters are mild with the maximum temperature rising to 28.8°C and the minimum dipping to 2.5°C. Best time to visit is during the winters preferably September to March.
The town is less humid and it is very easy to get around the city even during hot summer seasons. But travelers are advised to visit this place during summer to make their tour more pleasant.
Udaipur is easily accessible from every major destinations of India. The city is well connected with Agra 630km, Delhi 670km, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) 739km, Ahmedabad 260km, Ajmer 265km, Chittorgarh 115km, Jaipur 405km and Jodhpur by 275km.
Frequent trains are available to get in Udaipur and the rail route goes through extremely serene and pleasant environment. Though it is bit time consuming but rail journey is definitely worth doing.
Dabok airport, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport, is 24km from the city centre.There are daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur on Jet Airways and Indian Airlines. Taxis to the city cost INR 500 and are the only means of transport to and from the airport. You pre-pay for the taxi inside the airport. Come prepared with cash since they don't take credit cards and there is no ATM at the airport.
Train service has improved over the last few years after Udaipur was converted to broad gauge railway line. There are now daily trains from New Delhi and Jaipur. You can take Mewar Express (Train No. 2963DN) from H. Nizamuddin Station, which leaves at 7PM and reaches Udaipur at 7AM next day. One can also travel by broad gauge trains up to Ajmer and then take bus or train from Ajmer to Udaipur.
12963 Mewar Express, daily from NZM at 7:05PM, arrival UDZ 07:20 AM
12981 Chetak Express, day 1,2,4,6 from DEE at 07:40 PM, arrival in UDZ 07:50 AM
Trains Jaipur - Udaipur:
12965 Gwalior-Udaipur Express, daily from JP at 10:30PM, arrival UDZ 6:10AM
Trains Ajmer - Udaipur
12965 Gwalior-Udaipur Express, daily from AII at 00:50 AM, arrival UDZ 6:10AM
12992 Ajmer-Udaipur Express, daily from AII at 4:15AM, arrival UDZ at 9:30PM
Trains Mumbai - Udaipur
12995 Bandra-Udaipur SF Express, 3,5,7, from BDTS at 3:45PM, arrival UDZ 8:55AM
If you coming from Western or Southern India, take a train to Mumbai and then an overnight train to Udaipur. Alternatively, you can take a train to Ahmedabad and then, travel by any express train that leaves in the evening for Udaipur for an overnight journey.
Udaipur is connected by an efficient bus service with most Rajasthani towns including Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Mount Abu. Buses also head south to Ahmedabad with connections to Mumbai but it is not a short journey. There are comfortable sleeper coaches available for longer trips.
The city lies on the Golden Quadrilateral, midway between Delhi and Mumbai National Highway (NH) 8; it is around 700 km from either metro. The roads in this part of the country are paved and fit for private vehicles.
State Transport Authorities and private tour agents operates daily buses between Udaipur-Jaipur, Udaipur-Delhi, Udaipur-Ahmedbad, Udaipur-Jodhpur. Some of these buses also have sleeper coaches for a comfortable journey.