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Lake Pichola

Lake Pichola, UdaipurA pristine and enchanting lake, Pichola is among the important landmarks of Udaipur. Several beautiful forts and palaces as well as temples that are now an important part of India’s heritage have been built in and around Lake Pichola.

Rudyard Kipling in his Letters of Marque, 1899, compliments the lake: If the Venetian owned the Pichola [lake] he might say with justice, ‘See it and die’. Udaipur is called the Venice of the East due to Lake Pichola and a couple of other lakes present in the city.

Pichola is a manmade lake and was most likely started by either a banjara or a grain carrier at the end of the 14th century though it was completed by Rana Udai Singh. The Aravali hills, numerous ghats (steps), havelis (mansions), palaces and temples are a part of the charming vistas surrounding Lake Pichola. There are also several ornamental bridges adding to its beauty. It is quite a large lake, 2¼ miles long and 1¼ mile wide, and is fed with water by a stream from the western mountains.

Lake Palace (Jagniwas) and Jagmandir, the biggest temple of Udaipur have been constructed on an island in the middle of the lake. Other attractions include Mohan Mandir and Natini ka Chabutra (raised platforms) that have legends attached to them. Natini ka Chabutra was built in memory of a natani or tightrope walker. It is said that Maharana Jawan Singh (1828-38) promised a natani that he would give her half the kingdom of Mewar if she crossed the width of the lake on a tightrope from a village on the west bank of the lake to the City Palace on the east bank, while he was in an inebriated state. When the natani was about to reach the other side the rope was cunningly severed. Half of Mewar was saved, but the girl drowned and died. She cursed the Maharana’s family before dying that from then on they would not have any direct heirs. Out of the seven Ranas succeeding Jawan Singh six were adopted ones. The Mohan Mandir in the northeast corner of the lake was built by Jagat Singh between 1628 and 1652.

A boat ride on the lake, particularly towards the sunset, is a romantic experience meant to be treasured.

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Taj Mahal, Agra

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had Taj Mahal constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who is entombed here alongside Shah Jahan (who was buried later).

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