Udaipur is a royal city that had been the capital of Mewar rulers for centuries. The romantic city of Udaipur has a legend behind its origin and it goes like this. Once, Maharana Udai Singh happened to meet a holy sage when he was on his hunting expedition in the Aravalli Hills. The Sage counseled the King to establish a kingdom in the fertile valley that would be well-protected by the elevated Aravalli Hills. Subsequently, Maharana Udai Singh laid the foundation stone of Udaipur in 1557 A.D.
Chittorgarh was the previous capital of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar. Maharana Udai Singh was a successor of the Sisodias, who claimed to be the descendants of the Sun God. The Sisodias are believed to be the oldest ruling family in the World. Amongst the warrior clans, Sisodias are recognized as the most powerful ones in Rajasthan. Another reason for shifting the capital from Chittorgarh to Udaipur was constant attacks of enemies.
In 1568, Chittor was attacked by the Mughal emperor, Akbar and to ward off this danger, Udai Singh shifted the whole kingdom to Udaipur. Udaipur was naturally safe under the fortifications made by Aravalli Hills. Since that time, Udaipur developed into a full-fledged city. Slowly when the Mughal Empire undermined, the Sisodias reasserted their freedom. They recaptured most of the parts of Mewar with the exception of the Chittorgarh Fort.
Udaipur continued to be the capital of Mewar, till it became the princely state of British India in 1818. When India got independent in 1947, the Maharaja of Udaipur granted the place to the Government of India. At that time, Mewar was merged into the state of Rajasthan. In the present date, Udaipur enjoys a favorable position on the maps of Rajasthan. Udaipur is known for its picturesque surroundings and its royal past. Various ancient monuments, massive palaces, architectural temples and beautiful lakes fascinate people to visit the ancient land of the Royalty.
Tonk and the persian art
It is located, 96 kms away from Jaipur. This is a quiet town which was ruled by tribes of 'Pathans' from Afghanistan. The focal point of Tonk is the Suneri Kothi, the Golden Bungalow. A fairly ordinary monument from outside, it has stunningly rich ornamental interiors. There are also some interesting building that accommodated the British office. Tonk is also famous for its leather and felt industry and one can pick up a good bargain from the markets. The Nawab of Tonk was an avid book lover and built a sizable library of Arabic and Persian manuscripts. Arabic and Persian Research Institute are also located here.
Sanganer is located 16 Kms from Jaipur. It is also known for exquisite Jain temples. Moreover, it is an important centre for crafts and hand-printed textiles that is internationally famous.The most beautiful temple in Sanganer is the ancient Shri Digamber Jain temple. The temple has fine carvings as those of the magnificent Dilwara temples of Mount Abu. Built in various phases with sky-high shikharas (spires), the temple represents an old style of architecture. The last phase was probably built in the 10th century. The beautiful nij-mandir (inner temple) is a stone shrine with three pinnacles. In the centre is an idol of Parshwanath with 7 serpent hoods. All around it, are carvings of lotuses, creepers and elephants pouring water from pitchers held in their trunks. But the main idol is that of Adinath, installed in the shrine behind this. The town is most famous for its hand paper and mostly screen-printed fabric. The fabric is popular for small floral designs.
A wide variety of material for apparels, furnishing and curtaining is available. Some of the traditional designs were produced in the patronage of the royal family. It is a beautiful sight to see brightly colour fabric drying out in the sun near the river. Sawai Jai Singh II set up a paper business in Sanganer on the outskirts of Jaipur. It is said that in the 16th century, the ruler of Amber, Raja Man Singh, brought Kagzis to Sanganer (situated on the bank of Saraswati River, where abundant clear water was available). The town emerged as one of the biggest paper making centres in northern India. In between, however the industry did get a setback, but after independence, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) included the handmade paper in its agenda for promotion of crafts. It is famous for kagazi mohulla (handmade paper) and block printing and is the world's largest centre of hand-made paper.
Sanganer is blessed with water and open spaces, essential for papermaking. From here the Kagzis enjoyed patronage of the royal court of Sawai Man Singh and his successors. Today there are about 10 hand-made paper industries in Sanganer, all owned by Kagzis. Of these the largest is Salim Kagzi's Handmade Paper and Board Industries. All Sanganer paper makers are the largest producers of hand-made paper in the world. The airport of Jaipur is also located in Sanganer.