Udaipur revels in reputation of being once the capital of the Mewar principality. It takes pride in one of the few Rajput states, which did not owe their allegiance to the Muslim power in the name of realpolitik. Mewar was the seat of the famous Sisodia Rajputs suzerains, which makes the Mewar household the longest lasting of all ruling powers in Rajasthan, and perhaps the oldest surviving dynasty in the world. When Udai Singh II ascended the throne of Mewar in 1537, it was clear that the splendid for of Chittor was destined to be doomed. Udai Singh looked for a suitable place for his new capital and settled for the area around Lake Pichola, protected on all sides by outcrops of the Aravalli Range. He laid the foundation stones of the city in 1559. When Chittor fell to the marauding armies of the Mughals, he shifted to the new capital of Udaipur. After his death in 1572 Udai was succeeded by his son Pratap, a legendary hero whose refusal to submit to the Mughal suzerainty led to the battle of Haldighati, which, though indecisive, resulted in the great misery for Maharana Pratap.
With the passage of time, the city of Udaipur prospered in all directions. It emerged as a great center of commerce and arts. This finds expression in the famous miniature paintings and the amazing palaces on the lake and its shore. With the decline of the Mughals, Marathas became a dominat power in India. They attacked Mewar in 1736 and as a result the city was reduced to poverty and ruin. The British, whose role in the East India Company had until then been purely commercial, stepped in to pick up the pieces, presenting the ruler of Mewar with a treaty of "perpetual alliance and friendship" in 1818. Guaranteeing protection from invaders and restoration of all its hereditary territories, this treaty and the support of the British helped to put Udaipur on the road to recovery. Yet Mewar never distanced itself from its principle of not bowing down to a foreign power and its rulers never allowed the British to interfere in the internal affairs of the state.
After Indian Independence the maharana of Udaipur at the forefront of a campaign by the princely states to join the new democratic and independent India.
PLACES TO VISIT IN UDAIPUR:-
LAKE PALACE: Lake Palace was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II (1628-52) as a summer palace to escape the heat of Jaipur. Undoubtedly the most familiar and photogenic feature of Udaipur, the palace is indeed a reverie in pure white marble. Formerly called Jag Mandir, the palace is an amazing confection of delicate columns, filigreed screens, cupolas and fountains. Now converted as a luxury hotel, you can visit the palace for lunch or afternoon tea.
CITY PALACE : Udaipur's fascinating City Palace is the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. Standing on a rocky promontory the palace has balconies, towers and cupolas and presents a wonderful view of the lake and the city. The complex has eleven constituent mahals (palaces), constructed by successive maharanas during the three hundred years that followed the foundation of Udaipur in 1559. Added to this, Crystal Gallery and Durbar Hall within the complex is spectacular. Explore them for their mosaics, miniatures, mirror work and motifs.
JAG MANDIR : Jag Mandir, another island palace in the Lake Pichola was built by Karan Singh in 1615. It derives its name from Jagat Singh who added to the initial structure. It was never used for the purpose for it was built. This palace was used to provide shelter to the Mughal prince Khurum (later Emperor Shah Jahan) who rebelled against his emperor father Jahangir, in the 1620s. Jahangir was succeeded by Shah Jahan who was still in Udaipur at the time of his father's death. During the 1857 Mutiny this island palace once again served as a safe haven for European women and children.