Udaipur was my last stop as part of a 10-day trip of Rajasthan that took me through sandy Bikaner and Jaisalmer, arid and rocky Jodhpur, and mountainous Kumbhalgarh. And when I arrived in the cool, green lake city of Udaipur, I was in for a bit of a shock. A pleasant shock, I must hasten to clarify. Part of the shock was how different it was from the image that comes to mind when one imagines Rajasthan, and part of the reason was how much Udaipur looked like the pictures I had seen of the city.
Udaipur was established in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh as the new capital of Mewar as Chittorgarh, the previous capital, was deemed too vulnerable due to repeated attacks by the Mughals. The next 400 years saw Udaipur fighting for independence from the Mughals, repelling their attacks, signing peace treaties with them, facing attacks from the Marathas, alternately supporting the British or rebelling against them; and finally agreeing to join other Rajput kingdoms in forming the state of Rajasthan after Independence.
The 400 years also saw the city developing into one of India’s prettiest cities with artificial lakes, royal palaces for every season and weather, mansions, gardens, and what not. Having visited it now, I can understand why many foreigners consider this city as a wedding destination. Surrounded by hills on all sides, plenty of lakes, palaces on hire, and a salubrious climate, this is a just about as perfect a location as one can get. Add to this the allure of royals and local Rajput history, and you have the perfect exotic quotient that appeals to many.