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Sonali Agrawal

Pichola Lake: A Gem of Udaipur's Landscape

Nestled amidst the Aravalli Hills, where time seems to slow its pace, lies the captivating Pichola Lake, a glistening jewel adorning the crown of Udaipur, the “City of Lakes”.

Built in the 14th century by Maharana Ari Singh I, this man-made marvel stretches across 4 sq km, its shimmering waters reflecting the grandeur of the past and the vibrancy of the present. But Pichola Lake is more than just a scenic expanse; it’s a living legend, whispering tales of history, culture, and natural beauty that leave visitors spellbound. Unearth the intriguing history of Udaipur through the captivating islands nestled within the shimmering expanse of Pichola Lake.

Related: Explore the Enchanting Beauty: A List of 10 Famous Lakes in Udaipur

History and Culture of Pichola Lake

History of lake pichola

The origin story of Pichola Lake resonates with both historical facts and enchanting lore. While local folklore attributes its creation to the demigod Viswakarma at the behest of Lord Shiva, historians believe it arose from a smaller depression that was gradually enlarged over time.

However, one figure undoubtedly shaped Pichola Lake’s destiny: Maharana Udai Singh. Entranced by its beauty in 1559, he established Udaipur on its banks, forever binding the city’s identity to the lake. He even commissioned a dam at Badipol, further expanding the water body and securing its crucial role as Udaipur’s lifeline.

While the precise “maker” remains a mystery, Pichola Lake’s past echoes natural forces and human ambition, a testament to the interplay between myth and reality.

A Journey Through Time

  • 1362 AD: The origin story finds mention in folklore, attributing the creation to Pichhu Banjara, a gypsy, during Maharana Lakha’s reign.
  • 1559 AD: Maharana Udai Singh, mesmerized by the lake’s charm, established the city of Udaipur on its banks. He later expanded the lake by constructing a dam.
  • 17th & 18th Centuries: The lake witnessed the construction of island palaces, havelis, and ghats by successive rulers, reflecting the Mewar dynasty’s grandeur.

Exploring the Gems of Lake Pichola

Jagmandir palace Udaipur

The shimmering expanse of Pichola Lake holds several treasures within its heart, and among them are four captivating islands, each with its unique history and charm

  1. Jag Mandir: This majestic island palace, built in the 17th century, was once a royal summer retreat. Today, it boasts a luxurious hotel adorned with intricate Rajput architecture and offers breathtaking views of the lake and the city. Explore its courtyards, gardens, and museum to unravel its rich past and immerse yourself in its regal vibes.
  2. Jag Niwas: More popularly known as the Lake Palace Hotel, this iconic island palace is a marvel of Rajput architecture. Built in the 18th century, it exudes grandeur with its white marble domes and ornate balconies. Stay overnight or admire its beauty from afar, imagining the royal lives it once housed.
  3. Mohan Mandir: A serene white temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, Mohan Mandir offers a stark contrast to the other islands. Built in the 17th century, it exudes tranquility with its simple facade and peaceful atmosphere. Sit by the ghats, soak in the serenity, and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding hills.
  4. Arsi Vilas: Once a gunpowder storehouse, this small island now houses a charming palace offering unique sunset views. Built in the 17th century, a unique blend of history and architectural elegance. Enjoy a relaxing stay and admire its quaint beauty as it stands sentinel on the lake.
  5. City Palace: The majestic City Palace, Udaipur, boasts 300 years of history and intricate architecture while neighboring Lake Pichola offers serenity and scenic beauty.
  6. Jagdish Mandir: Built-in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, the Jagdish Temple near Udaipur City Palace showcases intricate architecture, colorful murals, and five-story towers. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it offers a glimpse into Vedic philosophy and ancient craftsmanship. Don’t miss this gem
  7. Bagore ki Haveli: Step back in time at Bagore Ki Haveli, Udaipur’s 18th-century royal residence. Explore 100+ rooms, stunning Mewar art, and intricate craftsmanship – all overlooking serene Lake Pichola. A must-visit for history and art lovers!
  8. Karni Mata: Gaze upon Udaipur’s magic from Karni Mata Temple. Hike or ropeway to this hilltop haven for panoramic city & lake views. Unwind with vibrant sunsets, making it a must-visit for photographers & nature lovers.
  9. Doodh Talai: Doodh Talai Musical Garden, situated near Lake Pichola and close to Shiva Niwas Palace, showcases modern architecture amidst Rajasthan’s natural beauty. It’s nestled between small hillocks and forms a part of a trio with Manikya Lal Verma Garden and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park, where the musical fountain by Yagnik Mechanical Engineering Works is a key attraction. This garden not only offers a serene landscape but also connects visitors to adjacent popular sites, including the revered Karni Mata Temple.
  10. Vintage Car Museum: This museum houses a collection of vintage cars and motorcycles from different eras. It’s a great place for car enthusiasts and anyone interested in transportation history

Activities to do Near Lake Pichola

Lake side dining in Udaipur
  • Parasailing and Paragliding: Soar above the lake and witness the breathtaking bird’s-eye view of Udaipur City, the Aravalli Hills, and the shimmering expanse of Pichola Lake. This adventurous activity promises an adrenaline rush and unforgettable memories. 
  • Heritage Walk: Embark on a guided walking tour along the ghats and palaces bordering the lake. Learn about the rich history, culture, and legends associated with Pichola Lake and gain insights into the bygone era of the Mewar dynasty.
  • Shopping at Hathipol Bazaar: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Hathipol Bazaar, located near the Gangaur Ghat. Browse through an array of Rajasthani handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, and local delicacies, and experience the cultural charm of Udaipur. 
  • Lakeside Dining: Savor a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes offering stunning lakeside views. Enjoy authentic Rajasthani cuisine ( dal bati churma, ghewar) and international flavors, or sip on chai and unwind while admiring the scenic beauty. 

Famous Ghats Of Pichola

Ghats of Pichola Lake

Here are some of the most popular ghats in Udaipur:

  • Gangaur Ghat: The most famous ghat in Udaipur, named after the vibrant Gangaur festival. This ghat bustles with activity, particularly during the festival when it comes alive with colorful processions and traditional ceremonies. It’s known for its picturesque setting, offering stunning views of Lake Pichola, City Palace, and Jag Mandir Island.
  • Ambrai Ghat: This scenic ghat, built in the 18th century, is a favorite among tourists for its breathtaking sunset views. Here, you can capture panoramic vistas of City Palace, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir Island, and the Aravalli Hills painted in hues of orange and pink. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic stroll or a peaceful boat ride.
  • Lal Ghat: A hidden gem away from the bustling crowds, Lal Ghat offers a tranquil escape. It’s famous for its charming cafes and stunning views of the Aravalli Hills, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and contemplation.
  • Hanuman Ghat: This ghat is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, and features a beautiful temple adorned with intricate carvings. It’s known for its lively atmosphere, particularly during religious festivals like Hanuman Jayanti.

Also Read- Ghat Ghat ki Kahani- Explore the mesmerizing Ghats of Udaipur

Festival and Celebrations at Lake Pichola

Festivals of Udaipur

The spirit of Pichola comes alive during vibrant festivals like Gangaur, where women adorned in colorful attire worship Gauri, the goddess of love and marriage. Witness the joyous processions and the colorful boats adorned with flowers, transforming the lake into a kaleidoscope of festivity. Mewari Holi, celebrated with vibrant colors and playful abandon, adds another layer of charm to the lakeside celebrations.

Related- Famous Festivals of Udaipur

Famous Restaurants Near Lake Pichola

Famous Restaurants Near Lake Pichola

Here are three renowned restaurants near Pichola in Udaipur, each offering a unique dining experience:

  1. RaasLeela At Pichola: A budget-friendly dining spot with an amazing ambiance and lake view. Popular dishes include Brownies, Mava Naan, and Laal Maans. Ideal for a romantic date with its serene setting by the lake.
    • Meal For Two: Approx. Rs 750
    • Location: Soni Ji Ki Bari, Adjoining The Leela Kempinski, Pichola
  2. Ambrai At Amet Haveli: Known for its breathtaking views and candle-lit dinners, Ambrai serves both Indian and international cuisine. Highlights include the Mewari menu with dishes like Murgh Tikka & Gatte Ki Sabzi. Booking a lakeside table in advance is recommended.
    • Meal For Two: Approx. Rs 1,700
    • Location: Amet Haveli, Ambamata Scheme – A Road, Outside Chand Pole, Naga Nagri, Pichola
  3. Upré By 1559 AD: Offers homely Indian food in a terrace setting with a narrow entrance but rewarding views. Signature dishes include Laal Maans and Veg Kebab Platter. Best visited at night for the spectacular view.
    • Meal For Two: Approx. Rs 1,900
    • Location: Lake Pichola Hotel, Outside Chandpole, Pichola
  4. Khamma Ghani Restaurant: A picturesque venue by Rang Sagar, Khamma Ghani is a perfect blend of traditional charm and diverse culinary delights. It offers an authentic Rajasthani dining experience where you can sit cross-legged and enjoy your meal on a bajot, a traditional wooden stool, adding an element of cultural immersion to your dining. For those preferring comfort or facing mobility issues, lakeside tables are available, combining the beauty of Udaipur with culinary excellence. The menu is a rich tapestry of North Indian, tandoori, Asian, and Continental dishes, alongside Rajasthani specialties, ensuring a palate-pleasing journey for every diner.
    • Meal For Two: Approx. Rs 1,500
    • Location: No 53, Near Hotel Natural Lake View, Rang Sagar, Ambamata, Udaipur
  5. Tribute Restaurant: With both indoor and outdoor seating, this venue is great for enjoying Rajasthani cuisine like Laal Maans and Gatta Curry, in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s also known for its welcoming environment.
    • Meal For Two: Approx. Rs 1,500
    • Location: Rang Sagar, 89/B, Ambamata Temple Road, Behind Monika Complex, Pichola, Udaipur

Related- Best Restaurant in Udaipur For Family Dinner

Lake Pichola: A Vital Ecosystem

Boating at Lake Pichola

Pichola Lake plays a crucial role in maintaining Udaipur’s ecological balance. It serves as a water source for the city and surrounding areas, and its preservation is vital for the well-being of the ecosystem.
Conservation efforts are underway to address pollution concerns and maintain the lake’s health. Furthermore, the lake’s contribution to tourism is undeniable, attracting visitors worldwide and generating significant revenue for the local economy.

Also Read: Udaipur And Its Neighbouring Gem

Pichola Lake: Quick Guide

Best Time to Visit:October – February (Pleasant weather)
Entry Fees:Free
Boating Fees:<br> • Daytime (10 AM – 5 PM) <br> • Adults: ₹ 400 <br> • Children (5-12 years): ₹ 200  • Sunset (5 PM – 7 PM) • Adults: ₹ 700 • Children (5-12 years): ₹ 400
Vintage Walking Tour:Several operators offer tours, starting from ₹ 500 – ₹ 1500 depending on duration and inclusions. Explore the ghats, palaces, and hidden gems bordering Pichola Lake. Contact local tour operators for bookings and inquiries.
Nearby Attractions:City Palace, Jag Mandir Island Palace, Mohan Mandir, Arsi Vilas, Ambrai Ghat, Gangaur Ghat, Badi Pol Bridge
Timing:Lake is open 24/7, boat rides operate 10 AM – 5 PM (daytime) and 5 PM – 7 PM (sunset).
Technical Details:  Area: 6.96 sq km, Length: 4 km, Average Depth: 3.6 m, Water Source: Primarily rainwater and natural springs   Interesting Fact: Home to a diverse range of migratory birds and aquatic life
Reach here byAir, Train, and Road ( Udaipur is well connected with major cities. Lake Pichola is 23 km from Maharana Pratap Airport, 20.8 km from the Railway station, and 2.6 km from the Bus stand.

A Timeless Enchantment

As you leave the shores of Pichola Lake, a piece of its magic stays with you. A reminder of nature’s beauty, history’s richness, and culture. So, pack your bags, embrace the gentle breeze, and lose yourself in the captivating embrace of Pichola Lake. You might discover a part of yourself amidst its tranquility.

And as Rabindranath Tagore once said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” Come, experience the reality of Pichola Lake, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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