Udaipur

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For princely state in British India, see Udaipur State.
Udaipur
उदयपुर
Evening view, City Palace, Udaipur.jpg
Udaipur palace night.jpg
From Top to Bottom : Evening view of the city , City Palace complex
Nickname(s): Venice of the east
Udaipur
Udaipur
Location in Rajasthan, India
Coordinates: 24°35′N 73°41′E / 24.58°N 73.68°E / 24.58; 73.68Coordinates: 24°35′N 73°41′E / 24.58°N 73.68°E / 24.58; 73.68
Country  India
State Rajasthan
District Udaipur
Founded by Maharana Udai Singh II
Named for Udai Singh
Government
 • Body Udaipur Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Chandra Singh Kothari (BJP)
Elevation 600 m (2,000 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 451,735
 • Density 242/km2 (630/sq mi)
Language
 • Official Hindi , English, Rajasthani
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 313001- 313024
Telephone code +91- 294
Vehicle registration RJ-27
Nearest cities Jodhpur,Ahmedabad,Jaipur,Indore
Website www.udaipur.rajasthan.gov.in

Udaipur (About this sound pronunciation ) is a major city, municipal corporation and the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district in the Indian state of Rajasthan.[2] It is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar in the former Rajputana Agency. Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia clan of Rajput founded the city 1553,[3] and shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur. It remained as the capital city till 1818 when it became a British princely state,[4] and thereafter the Mewar province became a part of Rajasthan when India gained independence in 1947.[5]

Udaipur is a very popular tourist destination. Known for its history, culture, scenic locations and the Rajput-era palaces, Udaipur was also voted as the best city in the world in 2009 by the Travel + Leisure magazine.[6]

History[edit]

Main article: Udaipur State
Statue of Maharana Pratap of Mewar, commemorating the Battle of Haldighati.

Udaipur was founded in 1553,[3] by Maharana Udai Singh II[7] in the fertile circular Girwa Valley to the southwest of Nagda, on the Banas River. The city was established as the new capital of the Mewar kingdom. This area already had a thriving trading town, Ayad, which had served as capital of Mewar in the 10th through 12th centuries.[8] The Girwa region was thus already well-known to Chittaud rulers who moved to it whenever the vulnerable tableland Chittaurgarh was threatened with enemy attacks. Maharana Udai Singh II, in the wake of 16th century emergence of artillery warfare, decided during his exile at Kumbhalgarh to move his capital to a more secure location. Ayad was flood-prone, hence he chose the ridge east of Pichola Lake to start his new capital city, where he came upon a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. The hermit blessed the king and guided him to build a palace on the spot, assuring him it would be well protected. Udai Singh II consequently established a residence on the site. In November 1567, the Mughal emperor Akbar laid siege to the venerated fort of Chittor.

As the Mughal empire weakened, the Sisodia rulers, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar except for Chittor. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818. Being a mountainous region and unsuitable for heavily armoured Mughal horses, Udaipur remained safe from Mughal influence despite much pressure. At present, Arvind Singh Mewar is the 76th custodian of the Mewar dynasty.[9]

Historical Facts sans Fallacies[edit]

Founding of Udaipur

The golden period of glory of Chittaurgarh that began with Bappa Rawal (734CE) and continued under Rawals Khumaans to Maharana Sanga (Sangram Singh 1509-1527) lost its prominence after Sanga’s death. Sanga was succeeded by his two unworthy sons, during whose brief rule (1527-1536) even the nobles of the kingdom lost interest in its affairs and plunged Chittaurgarh into a period of disaster and decline. The third son of Sanga fortunately salvaged the situation through rational and enterprising rule. The political situation in India was changing fast which the young Maharana had to contend with. The Portuguese established themselves on the western coast of India with the new weapon of warfare-the artillery, they established themselves on the western coast of India-starting in 1509 with construction of ports and forts at Calicut, Cochin, Pulicat (Podouke), Goa, Bombay, Cambay, Diu, and finally arriving in Gujarat by 1530s. The Mughal emperor Babur established himself in the north in 1526. He too, took recourse to the new technology of artillery. With the help of Portuguese, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, successfully tried and tested the efficacy of artillery warfare on Chittaurgarh in 1535. It resulted in the Second Saka and Jauhar. It is quite likely that the concept of Saabaat (साबात)-covered corridors leading up to the fort walls-was suggested by the Portuguese who must have surely accompanied the Sultan. They wanted to impress the Muslim ruler with a view to getting foot-hold on Gujarat coast. They were also the first “traders” of gunpowder and cannon in India. This aspect needs consideration especially in relation to the general perception that Babur introduced artillery warfare in India. In fact Portuguese beat the Mughal ruler by a quarter century!

With this background of a hostile and volatile north, a southern kingdom armed with new technology and his own house in disorder, Maharana Udai Singh wisely decided to adjust to the changed situation in and around Mewar with “Krishn-Neeti” (rational policy). The Maharana was also aware of the known ambitious and expansionist designs of the young grandson of Babur, he therefore decided to relocate his capital from venerable but vulnerable Chittaurgarh to a more appropriate location. Founding of Udaipur was one of the greatest achievements of Maharana Udai Singh-a decision that had far-reaching consequence on the future history of this area and its people. Unfortunately, the “story” of its founding is based on what earlier literature including “Veer Vinod” described without interpreting and analyzing it in more rational manner. Subsequent writers, especially “Tourist” literature, have just retold the same thing in their own words without evaluating the facts of the case. The usual story is: Maharana Udai Singh visits Kailashpuri to pay respect and to thank the family deity, Shree Eklingji, on the birth of his grandson-Amar Singh (March 16, 1559, Chaitra Shukl Saptami VS 1616). On return to Girwa they have an “Aakhaa-Teej” hunting excursion during which they meet a hermit on the ridge overlooking Pichola Lake, who advises him to establish his capital here and next day the Hermit disappears….Fact of the matter is:

17 rulers of Mewar had ruled from Ayad town of Girwa Valley (~10th -12th centuries, Ruler #18-34), still earlier (4+1) Rawals ruled from Nagda; so the “Girwa” (& adjoining) valley was already well-known to Chittaurgarh rulers who returned to it whenever Chittaurgarh was lost to invaders-the Rajputs or the Muslims! The oval amphitheater/arena Girwa Valley (~20 km x 15 km), in which Udaipur was founded, has its long axis in NW-SE extending between ~N24°40̒ - 24°34̒ and E73 °39 ̒ - E73 ° 45 ̒, the undulating but fertile valley floor has elevation of ~580m which is encircled by continuous hill range having MRL of ~ 670-850m that are thickly forested. The valley, at the eastern flank of the Aravalli Hill Range, was fed by two perennial rivers -Ayad and Sisarma, they merge further downstream to form Bedach River. This strategically located Girwa valley is endowed with a natural defense system, which made it as an ideal location for human settlement. To the west of Girwa Valley, there is a densely forested hill range and to its east is the ~100-km wide Mewar plain followed by Vindhyan plateau Range from Chittaurgarh & beyond Ayad area of Girwa Valley has been inhabited from pre-historic times. The remains of ~4000 year-old civilization have been excavated at “Dhoolkot” (mud-wall/mound). Dhoolkot is still shrouded in mystery, however! But during historic times Ayad was a prosperous trading town of Mewar dealing with traders of Malwa, Gujarat and north India. Over the period of time it was called by various names viz.: Tambavati Nagri/Aatpur/Aaghatpur/ Ahaad. It was the capital of Mewar for nearly 200 years, [#18 Rawal Narvahan (971 CE) to (# 34) Rawal Kshem Singh (1168 CE); thereafter Rawal Jaitra Singh (1213-1253 CE) ruling from Nagda reclaimed Chittaurgarh. The modest palace of Rawal rulers (Rawalaan ro rawlo रावलां रो रावळो) was located where the present-day Mahasatiya (the great truth-the royal cremation ground) was developed after the demise of Maharana Amar Singh in 1620. This area also has a large (40 x 40 m) elegantly built step-well the “Gangodbhav-Kund” (गंगोद्भव कुण्ड a pre-944CE structure) for community water source and a smaller well with Shiv temple encircled by open corridors nearby. There are temples of Surya, Vishnu, Brahma, Varaha, Chamunda…Besides these Hindu temples, there is also a mosque. To the south of Rawla, there is a very prominent Jain temple complex spread over an area of ~ 1ha. A renowned Jain Acharya Yashobhadra Suriji (आचीर्य श्री यशोभद्र सूरिजी) established the Jain temple dedicated to Tirthankar Pasharvanath in VS 1029 (972 CE) during the reign of Rawal Narvahan Singh. Thereafter, during the reign of Rawal Jaitra Singh (VS1270-1309) Acharya Jagchandra Suriji stayed at Ayad. He debated with and defeated the religious pundits. As a recognition of his feats, he was conferred the title of “Tap-Hirla” (तप हिरला के विरूद अलंकृत वैशाख शुक्ल 3, VS 1285). Consequently, he got constructed four large temples of Supasharvanath श्री सुपाश्र्वनाथ, Sankheshwar -Pasharvanath श्री शंखेश्वर पाश्र्वनाथ, Adinath श्री आदिनाथ, and Shantinath श्री शान्तिनाथ in an area of ~2700 sq m which have now been restored to their past glory. This information is based on a manuscript which was written by Mewar ruler’s Mantri (Minister) Shravak Hemchand Shershthi –रावल के मंत्री श्रावक हैमचन्द श्रेष्ठी-that are preserved at Shantinath Gyan Bhandaar, Khambat (Cambay, Gujarat). Rawal Vair (i) Singh constructed the ramparts of Ayad (1103CE). On the northern bank of Ayad River and south of Ayad dwellings is located the cremation ground for the Ayad dwellers. The same ground in the nearby area must have been used for the Royal Rawal family members too. Thus Ayad town had all the components of a well organized dwelling center of long standing with multi-cultural setting. As were the Sisoda (सीसोदा) dwelling Guhilot came to be known as Sisodiya (सिसोदिया), likewise, the Ayad (Ahaad आहाड़) dwelling Guhilot came to be known as “Ahadaa” (आहाड़ा), Rawal Samant Singh (1197 CE) who moved to Dungarpur and its later branch Banswara (1527) are known as Ahadaa Guhilot. The western part of Girwa Valley was also possibly sparsely inhabited, which is evident from the discovery of a shila-lekh (rock inscription) near Hasti Mata Temple. It describe the times of Rawal Shakti Kumar (977CE). Likewise, there is a shila-lekh of Rawal Allat (953CE) at the Shaandeshwar Temple near the present-day Ashoknagar cremation ground (shmashāna or smashaan). With this background information and the tragic memory of the Second Saka & Jauhar (1535) and Sher Shah Suri’s campaign (1544), fresh in his mind, Maharana Udai Singh was firmly of the view that under the changed artillery warfare of his time, it is wise to “get back to the hills”. He had realized the advantages of the hilly areas when he was residing in exile at Kumbhalgarh. His guardian “Kileydaar” (Fort In-Charge) Asha Shah Devpura and foster-mother Panna Dhai must have told him of the terrain advantages utilized by Rana Hameer and the family of adjoining village Sisoda. When Maharana Udai Singh was faced with the emergence of Mughal rule in the north, he rightly realized that sooner than later the situations like the ones of the siege of Bahadur Shah or the campaign of Sher Shah Suri may arise. So he decided to shift the capital from venerable but vulnerable Chittaurgarh back to secure Girwa Valley. He rightly chose, as suggested by the hermit Goswami Premgiriji, to locate his palace on the ~N-S trending ridge east of the Pichola Lake which was sloping in NE direction. From there it provided a more commanding view of the valley. Besides, it had adequate water resources for the proposed capital last but the area was not flood-prone as was the Ayad town. This location ~5 km west of Ayad town also had a high hill -Machala Magra- with strategic view which could be used for newly-emerging artillery defense of his new capital. As per the Chittaud-Udaipur Patnama of Badwa Dalichand, a fortress named Udaigadh as constructed atop this strategic hill in which a crocodile-faced cannon – Udaibaan was also set up. Taking all these aspects into consideration Maharana Udai Singh founded the city on the auspicious Aakhaa-Teej day of 1553 CE (in Kriti Nakshatra, Akshay Tritiya, Vaishaakh Sudi Teej, VS 1609, Saturday- April 15, 1553), this has been approved by the high level official committee The city of Udaipur is protected by a double defense system.

1. The Girwa Valley surrounded by hills form the natural defense. The city is further protected by 3 gates and fortified walls towards the East, the North, and the South along the established trade routes. The outer entry gate and defense wall at the eastern flat area entry to the new city was constructed at the 15-km end of Girwa Valley at Debari (Dev-Bari/Debari-ka-Darwaza) on Sunday the Ashaadh Vidhi Teej of VS 1610 (May 20, 1554). Proactive role of the Maharanees in the construction of the new capital is manifested by the facts: 1. in 1555 the Patvi (eldest) Maharani Songariji constructed a step-well and Sarai (tavern/rest-house for travelers) at Debari Gate; 2. Maharani Sajjadevi (Suja Kunwar/Sajjabaiji d/o Rao Prithviraj Solanki of Toda) built the Prahaladrai Temple on the bank of Udaisagar.

Maharana Udai Singh also constructed a major masonry dam to the east of the capital city which was also named after him as Udaisagar. Its work started on Aakhaa-Teej of 1559 CE and the construction was completed in 6 years. The dam was commissioned on April 4, 1565. Its religious ceremony was performed by Bhatt Cheethuji, who was granted the village Bhoorwada for this work. After festivity and “Tula-Daan”, the Maharana along with his Maharanees performed “parikrama” (going around the lake) in palkees (palanquins). The lake provided additional water resource, essentially for irrigation, but more importantly it effectively blocked the ONLY flat ground/pass/gap leading “into” the Girwa Valley (rest of the entry points into Girwa Valley were through hill passes). Because Dewda Rajput families owned agriculture land that would be submerged in Udaisagar, they opposed the construction of this dam. But Maharana Udai Singh tackled the situation tactfully but firmly to see this strategic project through. He granted Dewdas the status of protectors of Udaipur (somewhat similar to the Harawal status of Chundawats). Not only that, the Maharana rehabilitated them down-stream and bestowed them with first rights to canal irrigation for their new equivalent land grants. The Maharana encouraged people of all castes & communities to settle in the new city for which he liberally granted lands. Numerous tamra-patra (copper-plates) corroborate the bestowal of grants. The nobles and traders also settled here with the construction of their havelees, while the public constructed modest houses. Quite a few step wells were constructed as also the bathing ghats on Pichola’s shoreline. Maharana Udai Singh ensured that the original dhunee (fire-pit) of the Hermit is preserved and decreed that all the subsequent coronations of Maharana are to be held at this place. The sacred place was named “Rai-Angan”. The Dhunee is preserved to date with due sanctity. With the shift of seat of power from Chittaurgarh to Udaipur, the two main nobles-direct descendants of Chundaji and that of Prithviraj Chauhan too moved closer to Udaipur. The descendants of Chundaji shifted from Begu to Salumber and Rao Purbiya Balbhadra Singh (Chauhan, 1558-1583) shifted from Gungrar to Bedla respectively. A cannon was fired at chosen auspicious muhoorth (Kriti Nakshatra, Akshay Tritiya, Vaishaakh Sudi Teej, VS 1609, Saturday- April 15, 1553) at which Maharana Udai Singh laid the foundation stone for the new palace on the Rana-Magri on the eastern bank of Pichola , so did many of the citizens who were also constructing their house/havelee. It is recorded that Chauhan Balbhadra Singh also laid the foundation stone of the Bedla’s “Gadh” (गढ़ small palace, ~5 km north of Udaipur) at the same auspicious moment on hearing the sound of the cannon! A cremation ground for the public was developed for the new city on the southern bank of Ayad River at the present-day Ashoknagar Shmshaan-Ghat. A large step-well is enclosed within high walls besides the already existing Shaandeshwar Shiv. The original Pichola Lake, a lake typically seen even now in villages, behind an earthen dam, was built by nomadic baldiya/banjara traders, across the gap between the southern end of Rana Magri on which Palaces were to come up after ~200 years and the northern end of ridge on which Deendayal Park has now come up. It is believed that a wealthy and resource-rich Chittar banjara (छीतर बंजारा) constructed it in1362 CE, possibly during a sojourn at this relaxation-inducing scenic Girwa Valley while returning to Gujarat from a business trip from the north. He utilized the services of his hundreds of small-built bullocks that carried merchandise on their backs to-&-from north India and Gujarat coasts. Pichola’s ‘Badi Paal’-the masonry dam-was “upgraded” later on by Maharanas Karan Singh (1620-1628), Sangram Singh-II (1710-1734), Bhim Singh (1778-1828) and Jawan Singh (1828-1838) to provide stability as well as more water to the fast-growing city following the Mewar-Mughal treaty. Maharana Jagat Singh-I (1628-1652) further added more rooms to the Raaj-Mahal and further developed Jagmandir island palace and temples in the city. Over the centuries, four more water bodies were added to Pichola to its north, viz.-Amar Kund + Rang Sagar + Kumbhariya Talab + Swaroop Sagar (Kalaliya Shiv-Sagar). These additions resulted in diversion of Pichola’s overflow from east to north through Swaroopsagar using Gumaniyawala that met Ayad River to east of present-day Zonal Railway Training Institute, near Panchavati. Fruitless attacks on Udaipur by Mughal Emperors Akbar (1576) and later on by Aurangzeb (1680) proved the location (terrain) advantage of this capital city which was defended by natural features rather than the man-made battlement! In event of attacks, the public used to move westward into the hills. Gogunda and adjoining areas provided protection from invading enemies who could not move their cavalry & artillery in such a terrain. Nor could the enemy locate and eliminate the defenders. The city-wall and moat of Udaipur were added much later–detail at the section on Udaipur’s Noteworthy Aspects: The double defense system of Udaipur. The artillery fortification of Ekling-Gadh on Machala Magra was effectively used for the defense of the city during the raid of Madhav Rao Scindia in 1769. The water in the moat (khai) used to be filled with the seepage water (jharan) from the lakes to its west.

Khargosh/hare and founding of capital cities!

Robert Sewell in his 1983-page Domingos Paes Memoir-based Volume “A Forgotten Empire (Vijaynagar): a contribution to the History of India” mentions that when Krishna Devaraya (1336 CE) “…went out along the Tungabhadra River saw a hare, instead of fleeing from his hunting dogs, flew at them and bit them (p108)…” Sage Madhavacharya Vidyaranya (forest of learning) advised the chief to found a city on the spot which he did and named it “Vijaynagar”. Likewise, Sultan Ahmed Shah of Gujarat founded the city of Ahmedabad on the banks of Sabarmati River in 1411CE when he saw a hare standing up to an attacking hunting dog-a land where a timid hare can boldly face a ferocious dog was surely a suitable site for a Capital and founded his new capital! Similarly, in the year 1425 CE Rao Sahasramal founded the capital town of Sirohi when during the Akshay Tritiya hunting excursion he saw a hare standing on his hind legs on a high (granite) boulder boldly fending off attacks of a falcon. In the SAME way Maharana Udai Singh too is said to have founded his new capital city of Udaipur when he hunted a hare at Akshay Tritiya hunt in 1553 CE in the Girwa Valley, a little northwest of Ayad town! Was it just THAT simple? I have my doubts about it-a well discussed and thought of analysis is needed for founding of a city and proper location of a palace which must have happened for Udaipur too.[3]

Geography[edit]

Topography

Udaipur is located at 24°31′30″N 73°40′38″E / 24.525049°N 73.677116°E / 24.525049; 73.677116.[10] The city covers an area of 37 km2 and lies at an altitude of 598.00 m (1,962 ft) above sea level. It is located in the southern region of Rajasthan, near the Gujarat border.[11] The city lies 403 kilometres (250 mi) southwest of the state capital, Jaipur and 250 km (155 mi) northeast from Ahmedabad.

The city palace alongside Lake Pichola

Udaipur with its lakes lies on the south slope of the Aravalli Range in Rajasthan. The Northern part of the district consists generally of elevated plateaus, while the eastern part has vast stretches of fertile plains. The southern part is covered with rocks, Hills and dense Forest. There are two important passages in the Aravali ranges viz. Desuri Nal and Saoke which serves as a link between Udaipur and Jodhpur District.[12]

Cityscape
Maharana Fateh Singh(1884-1930) of Udaipur on a royal barge in Lake Pichola

The lakes of the city being interconnected form a lake system which supports and sustains the ground water recharge, water availability for drinking, agriculture, industries and is a source of employment thorugh tourism. The lake system has three main lakes in its upper catchment area, six lakes within its municipal boundary and one lake in the downstream. The Udaipur lake system, arising out of the river Berach (Banas Basin) and its tributaries, is an integral component of the upper Berach basin .The upper Berach basin is a part of the Gangetic river system, wherein the river Berach meets river Ganga through the rivers Banas, Chambal & Yamuna.[13]

The Udaipur Lake System can be divided into the following categories:[13]

  • Upper lakes : Lake Badi, Chhota Madar & Bada Madar.
  • City Lakes : Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, SwaroopSagar, RangSagar, Kumharia Talab, GoverdhanSagar.
  • Downstream Lake : Lake Udai Sagar.
  • River : River Ahar.

Watershed or the catchment areas include :

  • Bada Madar  : 8780.48 ha
  • Chhota Madar  : 2987.23 ha
  • Badi Lake  : 1906.55 ha

The city lacks an organised sewerage system and treatment facility for the solid wastes and sewage generated. With an absence of waste segregation, processing and scientific disposal facilities, the city's lakes have been facing increased levels of pollution, thereby threatening an ecological degradation.[14] Five of the major lakes have been included under the restoration project of the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) of the Government of India in order to preserve the cleanliness of the water bodies in the city.[15] These are :

In a judgement passed by the Rajasthan High Court , all bathing activities at the lake shores and immersion of religious idols in the lake waters was banned in the city.[16]

The city recently scored poorly in the Swachh Bharat list of the cleanest cities in India , getting placed at 417th position out of a total 476 cities.[17] [18]

View of Udaipur and Fateh Sagar Lake from Neemach Mata Temple at dawn

Climate[edit]

Udaipur city has particularly a tropical climate. The three main seasons, summer, monsoon and winter respectively, dominate the city of Udaipur.Being located in the desert lands of Rajasthan, the climate and weather of Udaipur is usually hot. The summer season runs from mid-March to June and touches temperature ranging from 23 °C (73 °F) to 44 °C (111 °F) in the months of March to June. Monsoons arrive in the month of July heralded by dust and thunderstorms.[19] With lush greenery and enchanting lakes, the sporadic rainfalls enhance the beauty of the city, making it one of the top monsoon destinations of the country.[20] The winter season prevails from the month of October till the month of March. Humidity, which prevails during monsoons, diminishes at the arrival of winters. The city observes pleasant sunny days and enjoyable cool nights with the temperature ranging from 5 °C (41 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F).[21]

Udaipur's winter climate is the most appealing time to visit. Tourists arrive in large numbers, anytime between mid-September to late March or early April. Even in January, the coldest month, the days are bright, sunny and warm with maximum temperature around 28.3 °C (82.9 °F). Mornings, evenings and nights are cold.[22]

Climate data for Udaipur
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24.2
(75.6)
26.9
(80.4)
32.8
(91)
37.4
(99.3)
39.8
(103.6)
37.3
(99.1)
33.9
(93)
30.3
(86.5)
32.6
(90.7)
33.3
(91.9)
29.3
(84.7)
20.5
(68.9)
31.8
(89.2)
Average low °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
9.1
(48.4)
14.3
(57.7)
20.2
(68.4)
25.0
(77)
26.1
(79)
24.5
(76.1)
23.2
(73.8)
21.4
(70.5)
16.9
(62.4)
11.7
(53.1)
7.7
(45.9)
17.2
(63)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 3.5
(0.138)
2.0
(0.079)
1.2
(0.047)
6.6
(0.26)
18.2
(0.717)
92.7
(3.65)
188.8
(7.433)
205.1
(8.075)
96.2
(3.787)
19.1
(0.752)
17.2
(0.677)
3.6
(0.142)
654.3
(25.76)
Source: IMD

Demographics[edit]

Population Growth of Udaipur 
Census Pop.
1891 46,700
1901 45,600 -2.4%
1911 46,000 0.9%
1941 59,600
1951 89,600 50.3%
1961 111,100 24.0%
1971 162,900 46.6%
1981 229,800 41.1%
1991 308,600 34.3%
2001 389,438 26.2%
2011 474,531 21.9%
source:[23]
Religions in Udaipur
Religion Percent
Hindus
  
72.90%
Muslims
  
15.67%
Jains
  
9.86%
Sikhs
  
0.8%
Christians
  
0.63%
Buddhists
  
0.02%
Distribution of religions

According to the 2011 census, the total urban population was 608,426.[24] and the population density was 262/km2. As per the data, the male population of the city was 315,485 and the female population was 292,941 in 2011. The total population for the age group of 0–6 years old was 67,068. The sex-ratio of the urban area was 929 while that for the rural area was 966, the average being 958. The child sex-ratio (0–6 years of age) was 865.

Udaipur has an average effective literacy rate of 90.43 percent, as compared to the national average of 74.04 percent:[25] male literacy rate being 95.41 percent while the female literacy rate being 85.08 percent.[26]

Hindi, Mewari and English are the major languages spoken in Udaipur. Marwari, Wagdi and Gujarati are some others which are in use in the city.[27]

Hinduism is the major religion followed in the city. With a large Jain community, Jainism is amongst the other main religions practised. Jains makes about 10% of the population, as compared to the national average of 0.37%.

Economy[edit]

The Durbar Hall, Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel

Udaipur has a diversified economic base. The major contributions to the city's economy come from tourism, agriculture and mineral industries. The handicraft and cottage industry sectors play an important part in contributing to the growing economy.[28] The city has also been included under the Smart Cities mission initiated by the Government of India,[29] and is selected in the list of first 20 cities to be developed as smart cities.[30]

Handicrafts

Udaipur is well known for handicrafts such as paintings, marble articles, silver arts and terracotta. The Shilpgram is a platform where regional handicraft and hand-loom products is developed. Craft bazaars are organized by the Shilpgram, with an aim to encourage the regional arts and crafts, the handicraft and hand-loom works.

Tourism
Aerial view of City Palace on Lake Pichola
Farming lands amongst the Aravali hills

Udaipur, with its picturesque landscape, lakes, and historic palaces and architecture, is a major destination for most tourists, both domestic and foreign nationals visiting the state. With numerous hotels to serve visiting tourists, Udaipur is home to some of the world's most renowned and the country's best luxury hotels and resorts.[31] The Oberoi Udaivilas has been ranked as the world's number 1 hotel in 2015.[32][33] The Taj Lake Palace and the Leela palace Udaipur are also amongst the most expensive hotels in the country.[34] With various other renowned hotel chains present in the city, the tourism sector has been a fairly large contributor to the economic growth and fame of Udaipur.

Metals and Minerals industries

Udaipur district is particularly rich in mineral resources as a large variety of important minerals are found here. Copper, lead, zinc and silver, industrial minerals like phosphate, asbestos, calcite, lime-stone, Talc (soap stone), barites, wollastonite and marble are the major driving resources behind the industries based in the city.[35] Marble is exclusively mined, processed and exported from here around the world. The marble industry is well set and established with proper infrastructure and technological support for mining and processing. It is the largest sector giving employment to many people of the city and the immigrants from nearby areas. Udaipur is also home to the world's second largest Zinc producer, Hindustan Zinc.[36]

Agriculture

Agriculture like most other parts of the country, remains a leading sector in the city's economy. The Major crops of the area are Maize and Jowar in Kharif season and Wheat and Mustard in the Rabi season.[37] Pulses, Groundnut and vegetables like brinjals are some of the major food products grown in the city.[38] The Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, along with its affiliated institutions, has been working towards identifying, designing, preparing and adapting new techniques in the field of production technology for agricultural development since its establishment.

Retail

Udaipur has both traditional as well as modern retail shopping destinations. The traditional markets include Bapu Bazaar, Chetak Circle, Suraj Pole, Nehru Bazaar, Bada Bazaar and Chand Pole, while the areas including Durga Nursery Road, Shakti Nagar and Sudkhadia Circle provide opportunities to new entrants. Udaipur is also progressing towards a mall culture, and has witnessed many retail malls including Celebration Mall, Lakecity Mall, Arvana Shopping Mall, Chetak Shopping Mall, City Centre Mall, Mangalam Square Mall and R.Kay Mall.[39]

Tourism[edit]

List[edit]

Picture Attraction Period Description
City Palace by lake Pichola, Udaipur.jpg City Palace, Udaipur 1559 Standing on the east bank of Lake Pichola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate - the Tripolia, built in 1725. This gate leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping parations, terraces, corridors and gardens.The palace now houses a museum with many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils from the royal era.
LakePalaceEarlyMorning.jpg Lake Palace 1743-1746 Situated over an island in Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace was constructed to serve as a royal summer palace. Built of white marble, the palace is now a luxury 5 Star hotel, operating under the "Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces" banner.
JagMandir.jpg Jag Mandir 1551-1652 Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. Also known as the "Lake Garden Palace", it was constructed by three Maharanas of the Mewar kingdom. The construction started in 1551, and got completed by 1652. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace.
Sajjangarh1.jpg Monsoon Palace - Monsoon Palace, also known as Sajjan Garh Palace, was built as an astronomical centre to keep track of the movement of monsoon clouds in the area and also served as the summer resort of the Maharanas. Built with white marble, it is located on Bansdara peak of the Aravalli hill range at an elevation of 944 m (3100 ft) above mean sea level. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city's lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside.
Jagdish Temple Udaipur.jpg Jagdish Temple 1651 The Jagdish Temple is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur, built by Maharana Jagat Singh I. A key tourist place in the city, this temple is an example of Māru-Gurjara Architecture.
Lake Fatehsagar.jpg Fateh Sagar Lake 1678 Lake Fatehsagar is an artificial lake situated in the north-west part of Udaipur. The lake was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh and later reconstructed and extended by Maharana Fateh Singh. It is one of the most popular destinations in the city for tourists and the city residents.
Sukhadia circle.jpg Sukhadia Circle - Sukhadia Circle (square) is large roundabout in the city's northern suburb and is a popular recreational centre. The square has in its centre, a small pond admist which lies a 21 ft high three-tiered fountain. The fountain, made of marble is surmounted by a wheat-ear motif, a symbol of prosperity.
Udaipur-Sahelion Ki Bari-03-Garden of the rain without clouds-20131013.jpg Saheliyon-ki-Bari 1710-1734 Sahelion ki Bari is a major garden and a popular tourist space in the northern part of the city. The garden with its fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants, was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.
Pichola See.JPG Lake Pichola 1362 Lake Pichola is an artificial fresh water lake and is one of the several contiguous lakes in the city of Udaipur. The lake’s surroundings and the several islands within the lake have been developed over the centuries, with palaces, marble temples, family mansions, bathing ghats and chabutaras (a raised platform, normally within a courtyard)
Statue of Maharana Pratap of Mewar, commemorating the Battle of Haldighati, City Palace, Udaipur.jpg Moti Magri - Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, is a memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap. It is basically a small hilloc, atop of which there is a bronze statue of the Maharana astride his favourite horse "Chetak". It was initiated by Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar, and carried over and completed with the help of a public trust.

Culture[edit]

Wall painting at Shilpgram, Udaipur
Mewari artist at work

Udaipur has received a rich cultural heritage from the bygone ages. The lakes, temples, huge forts and palaces boast about the rich legacy of this city. The city has kept a balance between preserving the rituals and traditions of the past while keeping up with the modern advancements and changes in lifestyle. Like any other place in the state of Rajasthan, folk dance and music have an important place in adding to the city's cultural richness. The dynamic and vibrant dances of Bhavai, Ghoomar, Kachchhi Ghodi, Kalbeliya and Terahtaali add a sparkle to the rich cultural heritage of Udaipur.

  • Ghoomar dance is a part of the tribal culture of the Mewar Region of Rajasthan. This is a community dance for women and performed on auspicious occasions where the ladies move gracefully in circles.
  • Kalbelia,one of the most sensuous dance forms of Rajasthan, is performed by the Kalbeliya snake charmers’ community with the sapera dancers wearing long, black skirts embroidered with silver ribbons.
  • Bhavai dance consists of veiled women dancers balancing up to seven or nine brass pitchers as they dance nimbly, pirouetting and then swaying with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass or on the edge of the sword
  • Kachchhi Ghodi dance dance is performed on dummy horses where men in elaborate costumes ride the equally well decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these dancers move rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes.[40]

Following a lineage of age old traditions and adhering to religious significance, the various dances complement the fairs and festivals held in the city. The city's music consists mainly of the use of Morchang, Naad, Tanpura, and Sarangi, among many other instruments, that used to echo in the courts of the erstwhile rulers of the state.[41]

Miniature paintings are amongst the most famous paintings developed under the patronage of the rulers of Rajasthan.The simplest among these are done on walls, and though folk in style, they nevertheless have some of the flavour of frescoes one sees in the old palaces. The tradition on painting the wall of houses with scenes from mythological and chivalric tales has been prevalent in Rajasthan for the past many centuries.The people of the city make use of such wall paintings for decorations during wedding celebrations.Noted amongst the miniature style of paintings are particularly the Pichvais,which are those made on cloth, and Phad,made on cloth scroll in folk style.[42]

The Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal is a cultural institution based in the city. The institute with its museum is a platform which displays a collection of Rajasthani culture. Offering an insight into the lifestyle of the royal era in Udaipur, the museum has a fine collection of dresses, tribal jewellery, turbans, dolls, masks, musical instruments, paintings and puppets. With various cultural events including folk song and dance performances, theatre and puppetry, the institute highlights the different social stigmas, thereby proving to be a powerful education tool for the masses.[43][44]

Festivals[edit]

An idol of the deity decorated as per Rajput traditions
Gangaur Festival

Gangaur[45][46] is one of the most important local festivals in Rajasthan. In some form or the other it is celebrated all over Rajasthan. “gan” is a synonym for Lord Shiva and “gauri” or “gaur” stands for Goddess Parvati, the heavenly consort of Lord Shiva. Gangaur celebrates the union of the two and is a symbol of conjugal and marital happiness.

It is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March–April), the first month of the Hindu calendar. This month marks the end of winter and the onset of spring. This festival is celebrated especially by women, who worship clay idols of “Gan” & “Gauri” in their houses. These idols are worshiped by the virgins who seek the blessings of Gan and Gauri for a good spouse, while the married women pray for the good health and long life of their husbands. On the eve of Gangaur festival, women decorate their palms and fingers with henna. The idols of Gan and Gauri are immersed in a pond or in a nearby lake on the last day of the festival.

A traditional procession of Gangaur commences form the City Palace which passes through various areas of the city. The procession is headed by an old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts and performance folk artistes.

Shilpgram Utsav

Shilpgram, a crafts village 3 km west of Lake Fateh Sagar, has displays of traditional houses from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra. There are also demonstrations by musicians, dancers, or artisans from these states. The 10 day festival organised here[47] is a treat for the visitor to an array of exquisite art and craft.One of the important objectives of Shilpgram festival is in the sphere of increasing awareness and knowledge of rural life and crafts, specifically, for the younger generation. Special emphasis is laid on workshops for children on arts, crafts, theatre and music.

Hariyali Amavasya

Hariyali Amavasya (new moon day of the Sawan / Shravan month) marks the beginning of the monsoons and greenery. It arrvies three days before the famous Hartalika Teej(Shravan shukla tritiya).People worship God Shiva for abundant rains and good agricultural season. Melas and fests are arranged in several places in the city.

Jagannath Rath Yatra

In udaipur, the third biggest Ratha-Yatra[48] is organised on the auspicious day of Ashadh Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) Dwitiya according to Indian Vikram Samvat. On this cultural day of summer solstice theme, June 21 of every year, the journey of the lord jagannath to their aunts house is started.The presiding deities of the temple lord Jagannath (Krishna), Balabhadra (Balarama) and their sister Subhadra are taken through the streets in heavily decorated wooden chariots, which are made every year for the purpose. The Chariot of Lord Jagannath, called Nandighosha, has 16 wheels and is draped in red and yellow.

The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages.

Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi

According to the Hindu calendar, Gyaras, or Ekadashi is basically, the 11th day of each waxing (Shukla paksha ) and waning moon (Krishna paksha).This ekadashi, known as Jal-Jhulni Gyaras, or Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi, like all other festivals, is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Udaipur.Different processions start from the various parts of the city and end at one point i.e. Gangaur Ghat where people swing the idols of Lord Krishna in child form (Baal Gopal) in the Lake Pichola. These procession are called Ram Revdies.

Udaipur in popular culture[edit]

Udaipur was voted the Best City in the World in 2009 by the Travel + Leisure magazine,[6][49] and is now amongst the favourite wedding destinations for Indian as well as foreign nationals.[50] The city is a blend of sights, sounds and experiences, which have made it one of the top destinations for weddings and celebrations.[51][52]

Movies and Television

Udaipur is mentioned under the spelling Oodeypore in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as the birthplace of Bagheera, the fictional panther in the king's Menagerie.

Because of its picturesque and scenic locations, Udaipur has been the shooting location for many Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Indian sections of the James Bond film Octopussy were filmed in the city, the Lake Palace, and the Monsoon Palace. The nearby desert was the backdrop of the remarkable rescue of Octopussy (Maud Adams) by Bond (Roger Moore). Some scenes from the British television series The Jewel in the Crown were also filmed in Udaipur. The Disney channel film, The Cheetah Girls One World, was shot in Udaipur in January 2008. Some of the other non-Indian movies and TV shows filmed in Udaipur include: Darjeeling Limited, Opening Night, Heat and Dust, Indische Ring, Inside Octopussy, James Bond in India, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Gandhi, and The Fall. Jag Mandir, a documentary film directed for television by Werner Herzog in 1991, was also filmed in the city.[citation needed]

Udaipur has been a popular location for Bollywood movies. Some of them shot here include : Guide, Mera Saaya, Phool Bane Angaray, Kachche Dhaage, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Jalmahal, Yaadein,[53] Return of the thief of the bagdad, Eklavya: The Royal Guard, Dhamaal, Jis Desh Mei Ganga Rehta Hai, Chalo Ishq Ladaaye, Fiza, Gaddaar, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Khuda Gawah, Kundan, Nandini, Saajan Ka Ghar,Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,[54]Ramleela,[55],Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Udaipur is also the setting of various Television series like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai , Rakhi Ka Swayamwar and Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap.

Transport[edit]

Udaipur is well connected to the major cities of India by land, rail and air.

Air

Dabok airport, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport,[56] is situated in a satellite town about 20 kilometres from Udaipur. Daily flights connect Udaipur with Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi. Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo and Spice Jet are operational at present. The airport has been renovated by the Airport Authority of India for a possible International airport status.

Rail

Udaipur City railway station has direct trains on the broad gauge network to most of the major cities in Rajasthan and the rest of India such as Khajuraho, Alwar, Jaipur, Kota, Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ratlam, Indore, Ujjain, Mumbai, Surat, Baroda, Gwalior and Agra and a metre gauge network to Ahmedabad.[57] Famous luxurious trains, The Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Maharaja Express and The Indian Maharaja have Udaipur as the scheduled stop on their itinerary.[58] The popular trains connecting Udaipur with the Capital of India, Delhi are Mewar Express and Chetak Express.

Road

The city lies on the intersection point of East West Corridor, Golden Quadrilateral, National Highway (NH) 76 and National Highway (NH) 8, midway between Delhi and Mumbai, located around 700 kilometres from either city. The East West Corridor which starts from Porbandar and ends at Silchar is intersecting the Golden Quadrilateral and shares the common space from Udaipur to Chittor. The roads in this part of the country are paved and fit for private vehicles. One can either drive from Jaipur (around 6 hours), Ahmedabad (4.1/2 hours) or Surat (9 hours) on NH 8 or Golden Quadrilateral, from Kota (3 hours - EW Corridor or NH 76). Udaipur City Bus Depot has lines running for majority of other destinations in Rajasthan and farther north and west towards Madhya Pradesh and Gujrat. Apart from Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC), there are numerous private operators and companies providing bus services to and from the other cities.

Local transport

Unmetered taxis, Private Taxi, Radio taxi, auto rickshaws, and regular city bus services are available in the city.[59]

Udaipur Panorama from Jag Mandir Island

Places nearby[edit]

The renowned Jain Temple at nearby Ranakpur

Apart from the local attractions within the city, there are several charming places to see around Udaipur. Each place has a great legacy of cultural, spiritual and traditional history. Various such places with rich historical background and importance, lakes and forests and important religious temples and shrines are located nearby the city. Most of them are easily accessible by road and railways.

Sports[edit]

Popular sports include cricket, football, hockey, tennis, badminton, archery, etc.

Stadiums

Gandhi Ground is the main sports venue for various events, like athletics, basketball, field hockey, football, Kho Kho and volleyball. Luv Kush Indoor Stadium is generally used for the indoor sports especially Badminton and TT.[60] Maharana Bhupal Stadium is a multi purpose stadium used for organizing matches of football, cricket and other sports.[60] For Encouraging Sports in the city and even for encouraging International Sports in the city, a step has been put forward by establishing ‘Khel Gaon (village)’or Maharana Pratap Khel Gaon in Chitrakoot Nagar. It will be committed to 12 sports namely like Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, Handball, Archery, Rifle shooting, Judo – Karate, Boxing, Swimming, Squash.

Udaipur International Cricket Stadium is a proposed cricket stadium in Udaipur.[61] In 2013, after a dispute between Rajasthan State Sports Council and Rajasthan Cricket Association over the availability of Sawai Mansingh Stadium during the Indian Premier League, the RCA decided to have plans of having their own stadium.RCA has gained land in Udaipur with 9.67 acres from the Udaipur Improvement Trust on a 99-year lease and stadium will have a capacity of 35,000.[62][63][64]

Water Sports

The city's lakes provide an opportunity for the water sports.The nearby Jaisamand Lake,situated about 45 km from the city, is equipped with water sports facilities with a range of different boats available.[65] Kayaking and Canoeing Sport Camps have also been started at the Fateh Sagar Lake.The city also hosted the 2012 National Kayaking and Canoeing Championship with Lake Fathehsagar serving as the venue,[66]

Education[edit]

Udaipur has a well-established education infrastructure. There are a number of universities, colleges and schools meeting the requirements of not only the city but the region and country as well. The main universities in Udaipur include IIM Udaipur, Mohan Lal Sukhadia University, Sir Padampat Singhania University and Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology. Other educational institutes include College of Technology And Engineering, College of Dairy & Food Science Technology, R.N.T. Medical College, Pacific Medical College and Hospital, Pacific Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhupal Nobles' College, J.R.N. Rajasthan Vidyapeeth(Deemed), S S College Of Engineering, Techno India NJR Institute of Technology, Geetanjali Medical College and Hospital, Pacific Commerce college, Pacific ENG College, Pacific Dental College & Hospital, Geetanjali Institute of technical studies, Institute of Hotel Management Catering and Tourism.

Udaipur is now the first district in Rajasthan to have implemented a smart class system in all the government schools, enabling them with information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure. This model of ICT in education is getting replicated in all government schools of ICT infrastructure of Rajasthan State. This ICT based initiation was started on 4 December 2013 by Dept of Education, Udaipur in joint initiative with Moinee Foundation, Jaipur and is popularly known as Project Utkarsh[67][68]

According to the census-2011 data on educational status, Udaipur has the highest percentage of graduates in the entire state. It has 26 graduates for every 100 persons.[69]

Media[edit]

Newspapers in Udaipur include Hindi dailies Rajasthan Patrika, Dainik Bhaskar, Navbharat Times and Pratahkal. The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Hindustan Times, The Hindu are the English language newspapers circulated in the city.[70][71]

The national, state-owned All India Radio is broadcast both on the medium wave and FM bands (101.9 MHz) in the city.[72] Also broadcast in the city are three private local FM stations - Big FM(92.7 MHz) , My FM (94.3 MHz) and Radio Tadka (95 MHz).[73] The public broadcaster Doordarshan (Prasar Bharati) provides a regional channel besides the mainstay channels.

The city is switching over to digitalisation of cable TV as per the third phase of the digitalisation programme by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.[74]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]