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Udaipur And Its Glorious Past Bookmark and Share  
  Author Name : Harleena Singh Posted on : August-3-2009 Total Hits: 2195
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Udaipur, which was once upon a time known as Mewar is also known as the ‘Venice of the East’, ‘City of dawn’, and the ‘City of lakes and palaces’. The royal city amidst the Aravalli Hills of South Rajasthan has been the capital of the rulers of Mewar for centuries. Having a profusion of lakes, marble palaces, rugged hills, cenotaphs and temples, Udaipur is proud of its past heritage as well as being a centre for the paintings, performing arts and crafts.  


The Mewar dynasty tracing its roots to the Sun God, has a history full of battle for freedom of religion, land and thought against the other Rajput groups and the Mughals. Udaipur, once known as the capital of Mewar was founded by Rana Udai Singh who was a successor of the Sisodias. Initially Chittorgarh was the capital of Mewar but because of the frequent attacks by the enemies, Udai Singh shifted the capital to Udaipur, which was safe under the fortifications that were made by the Aravalli Hills.


The foundation of Udaipur has an interesting legend connected with it. Once when Maharana Udai Singh was hunting in the forest he came upon a sage who was meditating seated beside the Pichola Lake, who told Udai Singh that he would if he build his palace at the same time, it would turn the fortunes of his family. Udai Singh got a small shrine built called Dhuni Mata to label the spot which presently is the oldest part of the City Palace. Maharana followed as he was told and built Nochouki, a small castle on the bordering hills about which grew to the city of Udaipur in 1559 A.D. He also built an artificial lake called Udai Sagar, naming it after himself. Maharana Udai Singh’s reign was a short lived one of four years, as he died in 1572 when he was just 42 years. Survived by his 25 sons, Udai promulgated his preferred son, Jagmal as his heir, though he was not accepted by Udai’s chiefs and nobles, who removed Jagmal and instead heralded Maharana Pratap Singh as the next King of Mewar.


Son of Maharana Udai Singh, Maharana Pratap Singh is the only Rajput ruler who is famous across the country for his patriotism and courage and is popularly known as ‘Mewari Singh’ or ‘Rana Kika’ in Rajasthan. He was the only Rajput ruler who never gave up to the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Having refused to eat with the Raja of Amber- Man Singh because his sister was given in marriage to Prince Salim, Maharana Pratap Singh was defeated in the famous battle of Haldighati by Raja Man Singh and fled towards Gogunda. Unluckily, Pratap’s favorite horse, Chetak died in the battle soon after he had rescued his mater to safety. The famous Chetak circle with a garden of flowers and a beautiful sculpture of the gallant steed with Pratap on its back are worth seeing memorial in Udapiur.


Maharana Pratap Singh died in 1697 and this news is said to have brought tears in the eyes of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Till Udaipur became the princely state of British India in 1818, it continued to be the capital of Mewar. The Maharaja of Udaipur granted the place to the Indian Government once India got its independence in 1947 and Mewar was then merged into the Rajasthan state.


With its massive palaces, exquisite lakes, ancient monuments, architectural temples, Udaipur or ‘Udyapoora’, as was known in the ancient texts, fascinates both a traveler and a tourist to visit this ancient land of the picturesque surroundings and royal past.



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