Woman at temple in Udaipur, Rajasthan


North India

The flight of steps leads down to the sacred water.

People are gathered on the ghats to celebrate the abundance of blue gold, rare in the severe dryness of the Mewar region. The districts of Udaipur have been blessed with rivers, gifts of nature above all others. Generations of ambitious rulers, the Maharanas or ‘great kings’, perfected the picture as they constructed and carefully maintained artificial lakes to water the white city.

Pichola, Janna Sagar, Fateh Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, Udai Sagar… these familiar names of lakes evoke those of proud Rajput Kings, like Rana Lakha, who constructed the vast Pichola lake in 1382 AD.
Perhaps more importantly, the names are reminiscent of moments of joy and harmony for the people of Udaipur. Pichola Lake is a playground. People of all ages wear their newest bathing suits and romp around.

They jump, they splash, they push each other, and they burst out laughing when their prey falls into the water. Kids have climbed on a nearby one-level house and from the terrace they dive into the lake with acrobatic movements, challenging each other successively for the award of the most impressive plunge.

Woman at lake side, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Moments of joy and harmony surround the lake. Rituals of worship that bring people together are observed on an everyday basis. Men, women, and children rejoice in a collective, celebrating nature.

To celebrate the Lakes, a floating palace was built by the Kings of Mewar. The Lake Palace, formerly known as Jag Niwas, is located on Lake Pichola in Udaipur.

A lake away from this scene of daily life, at one end of Fateh Sagar, people have gathered to admire a show. The crowd congratulates itself: “The lake is full!” Locals talk about the abundant water passionately, without stopping, excited that the monsoon has been so good this year. Another artificial construction is the object of their admiration: the dam. Their enthusiasm is such that they can stay for hours, taking pictures of this human miracle, thanking the gods and calling friends to share with them the joy of this rare contemplation. Parents raise their children on their shoulders, so the kids can better admire the dam with curious, inexperienced eyes. “Look! Waterfalls!”

Man and Dog at Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan

A man swimming far away from the ghat comes back as he catches sight of a black dog. In the deep water, he calls him, making beckoning noises and clapping his hands. The dog gives in and swims to the man. They move away from the shore together, until the dog decides to leave, conscious of the woozy depth in their location. On the upper-right banks of the Fateh Sagar, the Sahelion-Ki-Bari garden welcomes cheerful families seeking the greenness and shades of the remote, yet well-planned, the island of peace.

High palm trees and fragile water lilies flourish in this exotic summer retreat guarded by hundred-year-old trees and memories of playful royal ladies who once filled its paths.


Fountains and pools are fed by the waters of the lake, attracted by the forces of gravity to the lower level garden. On the left, the ‘Savan-Bhadon’ fountain cools the atmosphere with flows squirting water at warm visitors. Savan and Bhadon remind Indians of two happy months in the rainy season. The human construction thus prolongs the joys of the monsoon for the thirsty population.

A man in the market, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Palaces of Udaipur, Rajasthan
People at Lake Pichhola, Udaipur, Rajasthan

From June to mid-September, nature offers the cherished gift of sacred water to the region. Hours of light rain or exceptional cloudbursts nourish both the drylands and the hearts of the population. “The sound of rain is the most exciting for us”, a Rajasthani man tells me. With water flowing down from the skies, people never seem to put a stop to their activities.

They go out, carrying wide black umbrellas or not, and do not fear to get wet. Children especially enjoy the freshness of rain on their skin and often voluntarily seek this contact, cheerfully playing in the rain. The gods of water have blessed Udaipur.

Explore More

Rediscovering the Inner Self
Rediscovering the Inner Self

In March of 2014, I joined Rosenda for a week-long retreat at beautiful Swaswara in Gokarna...

Narrative South India
In Harmony with Nature
In Harmony with Nature

Nestled within the mighty peaks of Himalayas are cultures that are a thousand years old and are as pristine as the gurgling...

Narrative North India
Finding Coffee
Finding Coffee

A journey to experience the famed coffee culture of the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu...

Bespoke Journey South India
In the Land of Palaces and Kings
In the Land of Palaces and Kings

This journey explores the rich Rajput and Mughal heritage exemplified by the resplendent architecture of North India...

Bespoke Journey North India

Waves wash down the parched shores of the beach as the sands glisten under the warm sun...

Hotel Guide South India
The Hands that Create
The Hands that Create

Mostly unnoticed, all art emerged from handicraft. The clay turns to a pot, the wood is whittled to a veena, the nylons weaved into a net...

Narrative South India