Lakes in India

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Lake Pichola information

Lake Pichola

Lake Pichola, situated in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is an artificial fresh water lake, created in the year 1362 AD, named after the nearby Picholi village. It is one of the several contiguous lakes, and developed over the last few centuries in and around the famous Udaipur city. The lakes around Udaipur were primarily created by building dams to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs of the city and its neighborhood. Two islands, Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are located within Pichola Lake, and have been developed with several palaces to provide views of the lake. There are four islands on the lake: Jag Niwas, where the Lake Palace is built. Jag Mandir, with the palace of the same name. Mohan Mandir, from where the king would watch the annual Gangaur festival celebration. Arsi Vilas, small island which was an ammunition depot, but also a small palace. This one was built by one of the maharanas of Udaipur to enjoy the sunset on the lake. It is also a sanctuary catering to a variety of birds, including tufted ducks, coots, egrets, terns, cormorants and kingfishers. Three of the numerous lakes found in the vicinity of Udaipur which connect with the Pichola lake and the Saroop Sagar Lake connected by an arched bridge built by Maharana Swaroop Singh (1842-1861) which in turn connects to the Fateh Sagar Lake, the crystal watered lake in the midst of tree lined hills and the smaller Arsi vilas. The Lake Pichola is approachable by road from the Udaipur City. Local buses, Tongas, auto-rickshaws and taxis provide the needed transport. Udaipur, in turn, is well connected through the Golden Quadrilateral road network, and it lies equidistant, at 650 kilometres, from Delhi and Mumbai on the National Highway (NH) 8. Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is 6 hours by road and 3.5 hours drive from Ahmedabad to Udaipur. Rajasthan Tourism operates regular bus service from Delhi. It also falls on the East West Corridor which starts from Porbandar and ends at Silchar and intersects the Golden Quadrilateral and a part of this is the stretch from Udaipur to Chittor. 24 km from the lake is the Dabok Airport which connects to Delhi and Bombay. Udaipur Railway Station and Maharana Pratap Bus Stand are both 3 km away from the Lake. Pichola Lake was built in 1362 AD by Banjara, a gypsy "Banjara" tribesman who transported grain, during the reign of Maharana Lakha. Later, Maharana Udai Singh, impressed by the charm of this lake with the backdrop of green hills, founded the city of Udaipur on the banks of the lake and also enlarged the Lake by constructing a stone masonry dam in the Badipol region on the shore of the Lake. The lake’s surroundings and the several islands within the lake have been developed over the centuries, with palaces, marble temples, family mansions, bathing ghats or chabutaras (a raised platform, normally within a courtyard); some of the famous ones are the Lake Palace (now converted into a heritage hotel) in the middle of the lake also called the Pichola Palace (pictured) or Jag Nivas located on the Jag Island, the Jag Mandir, the Mohan Mandir (in the northeast corner of the lake built by Jagat Singh between 1628 and 1652), the City Palace of Udaipur (Bansi Ghat) from where boats ply to all other parts of the Lake, the Arsi Vilas Island, which is a sanctuary for birds and the Sitamata Game Sanctuary on the western shore of the Lake. At several locations where the lake narrows, ornamental arch bridges have been built to span the waterway between the banks. Prince Khurram who rebelled against Jahangir, sought refuge of the Mewar King Maharana Karan Singh II in 1623 and was housed in the partially completed Jag Mandir. Prince Khurram later usurped the Mughal Empire, took the title of Shah Jahan. The Natini Chabutra, is a raised platform in a courtyard, built to commemorate a "natani" (tightrope walker) legend. Maharana Jawan Singh (1828–38), in an inebriated state, is stated to have assured a "natani" that half the kingdom of Mewar would be gifted to her if she crossed the lake over a tightrope stretched across the lake from a village on the west bank of the lake to the City Palace on the east bank. It is said that she was tricked since the rope got cut off before she was to reach the other end of the rope. The girl plunged into the lake and drowned. Before she died, it is believed that she cursed that the Maharana’s family, who from then on would not have any direct descendants or heirs. This curse is claimed to have come true, since six Ranas out of the seven succeeding Jawan Singh were adopted sons. Octopussy, a 1983 James Bond film, was filmed in the precincts of the Lake Palace and other two palaces in Udaipur (Shiv Niwas Palace and Monsoon Palace).

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