Udaipur : An Adobe of Beauty – A Dream in Realisation
Udaipur – Retrospective
Udaipur city, cupped by the lofty ranges of the Aravallis where charming sky and friendly Nature conspire to endow the placid lakes and majestic palaces with delightful beauty that defies adequate expression, has been crowned with various epithets, such as, the ‘Venice of the East’, the ‘City of Lakes’, the ‘City of Sunrise’ the ‘City of Domes’ the ‘City of Temples’, the ‘City of Historicity’ etc.
The city has a double quality—quality of Nature and quality of Man. It has the sanctity of Nature’s beauty and a great magnificient historicity.
Pierre Loti, a French traveller, eulogized Udaipur as a ‘delicious halting place’ and wrote, “As we approach, the white masses of palaces and temples are visible from a great distance surrounded and enclosed on every side by a background of peaked and lofty mountains the sides of which are clothed with forests. In the midst of exquisite natural scenery, the city has become a sort of a nest of peace and mystery”.
“Most beautiful among the beauties, the grandest even amongst all the grandeur of Rajputana”, said Lord Curzon on his visit to this town in 1902 A.D., “Udaipur as I have seen it today and we see it to-night will leave an impression on our minds which nothing can efface. With its snow-white palaces and pavilions, its flower gardens, shady groves with wooded islands and exquisite lakes, it seems to the visitor a fitting framework for a dynasty of immemorial age for incidence of romance and daring for a Chief who is himself an embodiment of the pride, the dignity and the patriotism of his race”.
Records of the visits of Emperor George V to Udaipur in 1905 A.D. speak, “In all Hindustan there is no picturesque city than that which Udai Singhji, . . .. founded among the mountains”.
“There is nothing” remarked no less a personage than the Prince of Wales on his visit to Udaipur in 1921 A D., “between Madras and Northern Passes like Udaipur”. He could not resist his gush of expression inspired by refreshing beauty of Nature, and therefore, further said, “The traveller who goes there first is likened to a man who begins his banquets with master-piece and is worried to find other dishes rather dull”.
Another French traveller has aptly summed up, “If a visitor is to come to India for two and half days, one day he should spend at Udaipur, the second day at Kashmir and the remaining half day at Agra (for Taj Mahal) and return to his land”.
When emotions are deep, words are few, and therefore, Rudyard Kippling, the famous English poet, brim-full of emotions on his visit to Udaipur in the 9th decade of the 19th century said, “No tour of India is complete without seeing Udaipur”.
A noted French journalist Attalio Gaudia, who visited Udaipur, has given an ecstatic expression about this town. He said, “The best thing that I can say about this town is that all the beauties of Nature and of life are to be found in it. I was happy and full of enthusiasm on arriving at Udaipur and rather sad when I was leaving. Its fantastic palaces, its emerald waters, its women dressed in coloured silk as in a fairy tale, the sky and flowers which perfume it, have nothing to equal it except a celestial dream or a corner of paradise on the Earth”.
A Globe-trotter has recently recorded his impressions about this lake-studded -Udaipur in these words: “There are few places in India which have the dreamlike air of Udaipur. This wonder city is the sort of place one chooses for a perfect holiday, for, there is about it soft skies and fascination and an air of peace and silent music which surpasseth understanding”.
The ‘Observer’ records the impressions of Sir Hugh Cesson, a leading Professor of Interior Designing in the Royal College of Art, London, who visited this lovely town, thus, “Of all the places he had visited in India, Sir Hugh liked Udaipur and Fathepur Sikri most. Udaipur, he thought, combined real beauty with historical associations of a great and glorious past. The city stands in a valley, amid hills on the banks of a wide lake of steel-blue waters with tiny islands. On these islands rise from the water’s edge palaces of pure white marble which glisten in sunlight”.
Sir Arnold Toynbee, a historian of international repute who visited Udaipur last year, writes, “I had always known that Udaipur was one of the beautiful places of the world, but pictures and photographs do not give one an adequate idea of it. One has to see it with one’s own eyes to take it in. I have done this today”.
Beauties of land and life of this place have very much enamoured Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru, Former Prime Minister of India, who visited this town several times. The charms of Nature and reverence for stainless history and rich culture of this place brought high appreciations from him every time he visited it.
To sum up, Udaipur, an amazing blend of beauties of lakes, mountains, architecture, history and culture is a ‘must’ paradise for a tourist, and therefore, a tourist who travels far and wide, missing Udaipur, can be likened to one who, in search of colour and fragrance despondently strolls in a garden missing the blessed sight of a host of bloomingly colourful and fragrant flowers tossing in a lonely corner. Udaipur and its lovely lakes, green hills, massive palaces, revered temples, interesting history and rich culture, and last but not the least, its salubrious climate invite and welcome all, irrespective of caste, creed, colour sex and status at all times—summer, rains or winter, and provide peaceful and unsophisticated atmosphere to enable one to escape into peace and charm from the machine-racked and humdrum moments of modern life. It is said, “See Venice and die, but see Udaipur and live to see it again and again”.