Udaipur is known the world over as the city of lakes and the city palace and the adjoining Lake Pichola have provided backdrop for many a movie, both Hollywood as well as Bollywood. Even Lake Fatehsagar, the favorite haunt of the locals is a featured destination.
But the biggest of them all is the majestic Lake Jaisamand, which is located at a distance of around 50 odd kms from Udaipur city. Also known as Dhevar Lake, it is, in fact, the second largest artificial lake in Asia covering an area of about 90 sq kms.
Jaisamand Lake has a very colourful history. It was built by Maharana Jai Singh of the House of Mewar in 1685 AD, who emulated his illustrious father Maharana Raj Singh, who constructed the imposing Rajsamand Lake in present day Rajsamand district. The lake was built when Maharana Jai Singh made a dam on river Gomati with an aim to channelize the waters of the river for irrigation as well as providing drinking water for his subjects. In fact, even today pipelines bring in water from Jaisamand that quench thirst of a large part of the city of Udaipur. These huge pipelines can be seen running adjacent to the road that connects Udaipur with Jaisamand.
The ride from Udaipur to Jaisamand is a very scenic one, which crisscrosses through dense jungles, picturesque valleys, quaint water bodies and just about bypasses The Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary. If you are lucky enough, you could spot wild animals including panthers, in the area around Kewre Ki Naal, a protected biosphere.
As you approach the hamlet of Jaisamand, the imposing ‘Roothi Rani Ka Mahal’, a beautiful palace on top of a hill overlooking the Jaisamand Lake, is a sight to behold. To reach the Lake, you have to climb up a long winding steep road. At the base of this road, is a bazaar which has shops selling snacks like pakodas, chai, samosas, katchoris and fried fresh fish from the lake.
The embankment or the ‘bund’ of the lake is a white marble marvel and is adorned by 6 chhatris or dome like pillared marble structures with exquisite carvings, a Shiva temple and white marble elephants that overlook the vast expanse of water, standing in testimony of a glorious era gone by.
Jaisamand Lake has 3 big islands and is also home to the famed Jaisamand Island Resort. Boats leave regularly from the ‘bund’ and you can choose from a variety of ticket options. The Rs 20/- per person ticket is the most economical one and takes you around a stretch of the lake that has a palace, known as ‘Hawa Mahal’ or the Palace of The Wind on a lush forested hillock on the banks of the lake. You can also avail of Rs 50/, Rs 75, Rs 100 or Rs 200/- rides which take you further and further into the wonderful lake towards the bigger islands that are home to the Bhils and Meena, the indigenous tribals of the region.
If you are looking forward for a quick day getaway from Udaipur, then Lake Jaisamand definitely deserves a place in your list. A place which is a culmination of soothing rides, magnificent architectural wonders dripping with history, all in Mother Nature’s own lap.