Udaipur, a charming tourist city, was founded in 1570 by Udai Singh. After the Emperor Akbar had besieged and conquered the fort of Chittor in 1567, Udai Singh had fled to a pleasant valley some 100 km. West. There he built a lake, known as Udai Sagar before going on to found the city of Udaipur a few kilometres away. The succession of Rajput rulers built a number of palaces (including the world famous Lake Palace) and lakes, around which grew the city which is now known also as the City of Lakes and Palaces. Of all the princes, the most famous is undoubtedly the courageous and chivalrous Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar (The state of Udaipur was then known by that name) who dared to challenge and withstand the onslaught of the Moghul hordes. His fame and that of his legendary horse, Chetak, have been immortalized in a variety of monuments and institutions of the city.
The city's development in the modern times came during the tenure of Shri Mohan Lal Sukhadia as Chief Minister of Rajasthan for over two decades. He is rightly called the builder of modern Rajasthan; all the more so of Udaipur. It was due to his initiative that one of the largest public sector units, Hindustan Zinc Ltd. with its smelter and several mines around Udaipur, was set up at Udaipur. He also started another State Sector mining unit, the Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Ltd. The Western Railway Training School, located in its spacious campus, Mohan Lal Sukhadia University and the Agricultural University and Rajasthan Vidyapeeth deemed University etc. have made Udaipur the seat of academic excellence. The discovery and development of marble mines around Udaipur have made people from India and abroad rush to Udaipur for marble and granite of all kinds and colours. Archaeological discoveries by the joint exploration of the Department of Archaeology and the University of Ohio, USA, have established links of Udaipur with the distant Harappan civilization. Exhibits from these findings can be seen in the Museum at Ayad, near the Royal Cremation Ground. Inspite of the growth in size, the city retains much of its natural and scenic beauty and rich greenery and salubrious climate, thanks to its many lakes, gardens and carefully maintained topography.