Well known for its beautiful embankment with elaborately carved, ornamental archways and pavilion the huge artificial lake Rajsamand is located seventy kilometers to the north of Udaipur.
It is said that the married Maharana Rajsingh built this beautiful complex in a burst of defiance after he married Charumati, a Rajput princess from Kishangarh despite knowing that Aurangzeb too had proposed marriage to her.
Perhaps it was got built as a famine relief work during 1662-76 with a workforce of sixty thousand at a cost of about one crore.
On 12th January 1662, Maharana Rajsingh himself laid the foundation stone of Rajsamand. One reason for building this lake was that while returning after his marriage in Jaisalmer, he had to stay for three days as Gomti River was full of water.
The construction of the embankment of the lake was completed in the year 1676 A.D. and on 1st February 1676, it was sanctified and opened for use. The lake is about six kilometers long, about two and a half kilometers wide and covers an area of about fifteen square kilometers. The average depth is fifty feet. It can hold over two thousand million cubic feet of water.
Thrown across the river Gomti, the embankment is built of solid masonry. It is over 3000 meters long and over sixty-five meters wide, vertically divided into three terraces of nine steps each, the embankment has long flights of marble steps. Again each terrace has been divided horizontally at three places by three large platforms. As the number of larger platforms comes to nine, the embankment is named Nauchauki, nine pavilions. On each of the lowermost platforms, there are beautifully carved marble pavilions (Mandaps).
It is noteworthy that with the exception of the columns of the three pavilions in every part of the construction the number nine has been kept as a common multiple. Every establishment was built either in a tally of nine, a quotient of nine, or a division of nine.
It is believed that perhaps the nine cupolas were inspired by the flat-roofed marble Baradari built by Shahjahan on the bank of Anasagar Lake in Ajmer.
As number nine has spiritual importance and denoted the Supreme Being in Indian metaphysics, the architects of Mewar have kept this in view in designing the numerous icons and decorative designs on different parts of the embankment.
Miraculous engineering and the art of stone carving the embankment is unique. On the columns, lintels, and the ceiling of the pavilions and on the fringe portions of platforms we come across several fine, chiseled–out figures and designs, mostly as manifested forms of themes of Indian Pauranic literature.
Also famous is the embankment for the longest literary work ever inscribed on a stone known as Raj Prashasti Maha Kavya (Royal Eulogy). The poem was inscribed on the stone on twenty-five black marble slabs and fixed in the niches of the larger platform but unfortunately one of them is missing.
With the huge embankment named Nauchauki that has exquisite carryings related to scenes from the life of Krishna and other gods, the vast waterbody has an importance of its own.