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Lake Pichola

Lake Pichola – A Lake Built In The 14th Century

Lake Pichola, an artificial lake of fresh water, is located in Udaipur city of Rajasthan. This artificial lake was built long back in 1362 AD and it derived its name from the name of the nearby village, Picholi. Among the various lakes situated near Udiapur City, Pichola Lake is one. This lake was developed near the popular Udiapur City. The basic necessity of water for drinking and irrigation purposes called for the creation of lakes around the city. Thus, these lakes around Udaipur city were created including Lake Pichola. Dams were built to create the lakes around the city and its neighbourhood. On the Lake Pichola stand two islands namely Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas. On these two islands are built many palaces that give an exquisite view of the lake. Other than these two islands there are the Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas islands also present on Lake Pichola. Thus, in all there are four islands where palaces are built. Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Palace are built on the Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir islands respectively. Mohan Mandir has also got palaces from where the royals of Udaipur used to observe the celebrations of Gangaur festival every year. The fourth island, Arsi Vilas served mainly as ammunition depot of the Udaipur kingdoms. However, the kings also used to absorb the pleasure in watching the scenic beauty of the lake during the sunset. This also serves as a sanctuary to a number of birds like coots, terns, kingfishers, cormorants, tufted ducks and egrets.

In the vicinity of the Pichola Lake there are two other lakes as well. Firstly, there is the Saroop Sagar Lake and this is connected to the Pichola Lake by means of an arched bridge, which was built by Maharana Swaroop Singh. The crystals clear watered Fateh Sagar Lake is as well connected through this and is located amidst tree bordered hills and the Arsi Vilas.


During the rule of Maharana Lakha in 1362, a Bajara or gypsy tribesman created this artificial lake known as the Pichola Lake. Maharana Udai Singh later on found this lake with the lush hills in its background very charming. He then founded the Udaipur city on the banks of this artificial lake. Not only did he build the Udaipur city but also enlarged Lake Pichola by building a dam of stonework in Badipol area on Lake Pichola’s shore.

The surroundings of the lake along with many islands amidst the lake were built over centuries. The structures that were created included marble temples, palaces, bathing ghats, family mansions, etc. Some of the famous palaces and islands are Lake Palace or the Pichola Palace, Jag Nivas on Jag Island, Jag Mandir, Mohan Mandir, Bansi Ghat, Arsi Vilas Island, and Sitamata Game Sanctuary. The Lake Palace or the Pichola Palace is at present a heritage hotel. The Mohan Mandir is located on the north eastern corner and this was created from 1628 to 1652 by Maharana Jagat Singh. From the Bansi Ghat which is also known as the City Palace, boats ferry to other parts of Pichola Lake. The Arsi Vilas Island and Sitamata Game Sanctuary are sanctuaries for birds of various kind including tufted ducks, kingfishers, egrets, etc. At many areas where the lake becomes narrow, to cross the waterway attractive arch bridges between banks have been built.

This lake has also witnessed the ruler of Mewar Maharana Karan Singh the second giving refuge to Price Khurram in the Jag Mandir when it was partially created, while Khurram was rebelling against Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Prince Khurram afterwards took over the Mughal Empire and came to be known as Shah Jahan.

Natani Chabutra

A raised platform inside a courtyard is the Natini Chabutra, which is a structure, built to honour a Natani or a tightrope walker girl. Once Maharana Jawan Singh, under the influence of alcohol had promised to give half of Mewar to the Natani if she could cross the lake walking on a tightly tied rope from one bank to the other. Accordingly she performed the stunt and when was about to reach the bank successfully, she fell into the lake as the rope was cut. Before drowning and dying she cursed the king that his family would not have an original heir. It is believed that it was because of her curse that out of seven successors of the king six were adopted.

Reaching Lake Pichola

One would be able to reach Lake Pichola by travelling just 8 kilometres from the Udaipur city. The city is connected well via roadways, railways and airways. Udaipur City is connected via NH 8 from country capital Delhi and country’s business capital Mumbai; the distance from both being 650 km. The nearest airport is the Dabok Airport, 25 km from Udaipur. The rail station nearest to Pichola Lake is Udaipur Rail Station, while the bus terminus Mahara Pratap Bus Stand is just 3 km from it.

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