Maa Gayatri  Swasthya Avm Shikshan Sansthan, Udaipur, Rajasthan, INDIA
Maa Gayatri  Physiotherapy College, Udaipur, Rajasthan, INDIA
     
 
Udaipur has been an inspiration for countless artists, architects and poets over the years. Since the Age of Film, it has provided many a director with a romantic backdrop. Udaipur has earned many names such as the 'City of Dreams', the 'City of the Rising Sun', and the 'City of Romance' and of course the 'City of Lakes'. They all conjure up a wonderland image, and Udaipur is worthy of them all, but let us take a look at the events that led to its foundation and development. The previous capital of Chittor (110 km away) was heavily fortified, but for generations had been subjected to waves of Mughal invasions. The enormously massive walls proved incapable of withstanding sustained sieges and after a third major siege, the Maharana, Udai Singhji made a major decision to abandon Chittor for a safer place.
 
     
 
Udai Singh ji roamed the countryside well away from the hub of Mughal activity, and eventually came across Lake Pichola, cradled protectively by the surrounding tree-clad Aravali Mountains; a green and pleasant area, with a cooler climate than the surrounding lands, a water supply, fertile soil and plenty of good hunting. With the blessings of a holy sage, Udai Singhji founded this as his new capital, and Udaipur came into being. The lake was expanded and the level raised to ensure that Udaipur would always have a substantial supply of water. Udai Singhji had his palace built to the side of the lake. The founding stone was laid at the base of the Duni Mata Temple within the palace on the 16th March 1559.
 
  Maa Gayatri  Swasthya Avm Shikshan Sansthan, Udaipur, Rajasthan, INDIA  
 
The palace complex was added to by 22 successive maharanas, so the building one sees today spans five centuries. Maharana Pratap succeeded Udai, and is best remembered for his valour on the battlefield. The Battle of Haldighati on 21st June 1576 against the Mughals showed the large & powerful Muslim enemy that the Rajputs were not to be trifled with. Following this battle, warfare tactics were modified and the Bhil tribesmen, loyal to the Maharana served as very effective guerrillas, skilled as they were in archery. At any rate, enemies never conquered Udaipur. During periods of peace, maharanas would order new construction as much to keep soldiers employed as to serve any other function. There were no major battles in the region from the 18th Century onwards; so much construction & expansion of the city took place. Maratha raiders used to hold the city to ransom from time to time around this period, but they were generally paid off to leave in peace, so the city remained unharmed, if somewhat poorer. Several insignificant maharanas came and went, but the dynamic Sajjan Singh ji came to power in 1874, and though his reign only lasted ten years due to his early death, much was achieved in the way of construction and engineering work. His successor, Fateh Singhji also proved a strong ruler and although not such a visionary as his predecessor, Sajjan Singh ji, he nevertheless left a considerable legacy. The maharanas remained pretty well all-powerful until independence in 1947, when the new Indian Republic came into being. Through drastic laws their power was removed and swinging taxes removed much of the wealth and property of the royalty & nobility. Even so, the maharana has remained as figurehead; if not in the eyes of the Government, then at least in the hearts of the local citizens.