| || Founded in 728, the city of Udaipur reached its golden age when the Maharajah Udai Singh II made it the capital of Mewar in 1567. Mewar, a fertile plain in southeastern Rajasthan, is separated from Marwar, the “land of death,” by the Precambrian Aravalli range, which runs from north to south for 435 miles (700 km) and divides Rajasthan in two. One half beneﬁts from the inﬂuence of the ocean while the other, which is arid, receives only 7.86 inches (200 mm) of rain per year. In 1746, Jagat Singh II built the Lake Palace at Udaipur, a jewel of marble on a small island, which was the royal family’s summer residence. Since India achieved independence, the palace has been converted into a hotel. This magniﬁcent building makes use of the interplay between water and marble, its facades being reﬂected in the water, and water in turn running through the building via a string of fountains, ornamental pools, and hanging gardens. Thus the maharajahs succeeded in making the mirage of the ﬂoating palaces of the Thar desert into a reality. It is regrettable, however, that access to the palace is restricted to customers of the hotel and restaurant.
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