Udaipur is Rajasthan’s lake city. Lake Pichola, the artificial lake that the city’s founder Rana Uday expanded, dominates the landscape. There are palaces and pavilions within the lake, all accessible by boat. Jagmahal or Lake Palace as it is popularly known, stands in the middle of the lake, its white marble glistening against the backdrop of the rugged Aravali Hills. Close to Jagmahal is Jag Mandir, whose carved ‘chattri’ in blue and grey sandstone is beautiful. Udaipur’s City Palace towers over Lake Pichola. Its beautiful carvings and craftsmanship are impressive, but what takes your breath away is ‘Bada Mahal’ , which is like a penthouse on the highest level with a huge garden at the centre. Close to Fateh Sagar are the Rana Pratap memorial and ‘Sahelion ki Bari’ , a garden designed for women of the royal families.
At 1200 metres above sea level, Mount Abu is Rajasthan’s only hill resort. The town is picturesque – the beauty of the rolling slopes is accentuated by Nakki Lake, a popular boating site. Legend has it that Nakki Lake was scooped out of the earth by a god using a nail or ‘nakh’ . Mount Abu is a popular resort for another reason too. It’s most famous temples are the Dilwara Temples, dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras, which rank amongst India’s finest in architecture. Those, and the Raghunath temple near the lake make it a pilgrimage site too.