Lake Pichola Udaipur

Historic Pichola spreads around scenic Lake Pichola, known for its lakeside ghats and palaces converted into hotels, and popular for boat rides. Jagmandir is a palace hotel on an island with domes and stone elephants. 

Lake Pichola, is located in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is an artificial fresh water lake, created in the year 1362 AD, named after the neighbouring Picholi village. It is one of the several adjoining lakes, and developed over the last few centuries in and around the famous Udaipur city.


The lakes in Udaipur was first 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 in Pichola Lake, and have been developed with various palaces to provide views of the lake.

Three of the numerous lakes found in the vicinity of Udaipur which connect with the Pichola lake and the Saroop Sagar Lake joined by an arched bridge built by Maharana Swaroop Singh in 1842-1861 which in turn joins to the Fateh Sagar Lake, the crystal watered lake in the midst of tree lined hills and the smaller Arsi vilas.Pichola Lake Udaipur was built in 1362 AD by Banjara, a gypsy “Banjara” tribesman who transported grain, during the rule of Maharana Lakha. Later, Maharana Udai Singh, attracted 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 building a stone masonry dam in the Badipol region on the shore of the Lake.

The lake’s surroundings and the various islands within the lake have been developed over the centuries, with palaces, marble temples, family mansions, bathing ghats or chabutaras. Some of the popular ones are the Lake Palace (now converted into a heritage hotel) situated in the middle of the lake also called the Pichola Palace (pictured) or Jag Nivas situated 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 take to all other parts of the Lake, the Arsi Vilas Island, which is a bird sanctuary and the Sitamata Game Sanctuary on the western side of the Lake.

At various locations where the lake narrows, ornamental arch bridges have been built to span the waterway between the banks.
Prince Khurram who did the battle against Jahangir, sought refuge of the Mewar King Maharana Karan Singh II in 1623 and was housed in the relatively 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 yard, built to commemorate a “natani” legend. Maharana Jawan Singh (1828–38), in an loaded state, is stated to have assured a “natani” that half the empire 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 eastern bank. It is said that she was tricked since the rope got cut off before she was to extend 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 products or heirs. This curse is mainted to have come true, since six Ranas out of the seven succeeding Jawan Singh were adopted sons.

The Sisarma stream, a branch of the Kotra River, drains a catchment of 55 km2 from the Aravalli Mountains and contributes to the flows in the lake. The main annual rainfall in the lake basin is 635 millimetres . The lake has a outside area of about 696 ha. In the heart of the Lake, a palace called the Lake Palace was made, which is now converted into a heritage palace hotel. This palace built in marble in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd descandent to the royal dynasty of Mewar, spreads across the 1.6 ha island and is claimed to be as awesome as the Taj Mahal. At the southernmost end, a dam was built across the major tributary to facilitate the Banjara tribesman to ford the tributary with animals carrying grains. After 1560, Maharana Udai Sing II strengthened the dam when he established the city of Udaipur around the pictureised Lake. The fact that the Pichola lake was made by nomadic gypsies testifies that the rulers of Mewar encouraged people to build water harvesting structures.