Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II as the final capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom, located in the fertile circular valley-"Girwa" to the southwest of Nagda, on the Banas River, the first capital of the Mewar kingdom. This area already had a thriving trading town of "Ayad" which had served as capital of Mewar for over 200 years and 17 rulers of Mewar had ruled from Ayad town of Girwa Valley (~10-12th centuries, Ruler #18-34), still earlier (4+1) Rawals ruled from Nagda; so the “Girwa” (& adjoining) valley was already well-known to Chittaud rulers who moved to it whenever the vulnerable tableland (Mesa)Chittaudgadh was threatened with enemy attacks. Maharana Udai Singh II, in the wake of 16th century emergence of artillery warfare decided to move his capital to a more secure location, importance of which he had realized during his exile at Kumbhalgadh. Ayad was flood-prone, hence he chose the ridge east of Pichola Lake to start his new capital city, where he came upon a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. The hermit blessed the king and asked him to build a palace on the spot, assuring him it would be well protected. Udai Singh II consequently established a residence on the site. In November 1567, the Mughal emperor Akbar attacked & laid siege of the venerated fort of Chittor, which was reduced to one of the 84 forts of Mewar.
Aerial view of City Palace on Lake Pichola
As the Mughal empire weakened, the Sisodia ranas, and later maharanas (also called the Guhilots or Suryavansh), who had always tried to oppose Mughal dominance, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar except for Chittor. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818. Being a mountainous region and unsuitable for heavily armoured Mughal horses, Udaipur remained safe from Mughal influence in spite of much pressure. The rajvansh of Udaipur was one of the oldest dynasties of the world. Maharana Mahendra Singh Mewar (the Royal Family of Udaipur),is the current symbolic ruler of the city.