It is quite interesting to know how different places of Udaipur got their names.
It is said that Maldas Mehta was liked very much by Maharana Bheemsingh. Mehta was the Senapati of Mewar and sacrificed his life in the battle of Hadka in Malwa. His ‘haveli’ was in a locality that was later on named Maldas Street. We are told that originally there used to be a ‘pedi’ of the Nagar Seth. It was established by Maharana Karnasingh. For its safety there were ‘choukies’ at the exit gates. After the formation of Mewar police, they were put under the control of City Kotwal office, Ghantaghar. About 150 years ago, the ‘bazar’ became the main cloth market. Earlier the cloth business was done in Ghantaghar and Moti Choutta. The street is also famous due to the exquisite architecture of Bhoot Mahal.
Aadi Sadak (Dewali)
All the roads from Udaipur to Dewali run from south to north direction but there is one that runs in west direction and cuts across other roads. So it is called Aadi Sadak.
Amal Ka Kanta
During the time of Mewar state, the excise and custom check post was located here. All kinds of narcotic medicines and imported goods were weighed and custom charges were paid at this place. Opium that was produced in large quantity in Chittorgarh, Vallabhnagar, and Nimbahera area was weighed here. Opium means ‘amal’ and ‘kanta’ is a means of weighing and this is why the name Amal Ka Kanta.
Baddu Bhaktan Ka Darwaza
While going to Lal Ghat from Jagdish Mandir, there is an entry gate. Adjacent to this gate is a ‘haveli’ in which lived Baddu, the dancer of Mewar court. Those days, it was a big honour to be the court dancer.
Here lived Bhadbhujas who
roasted cereals, etc. in Bhaad, that is a non-combustion high temperature
furnace. Maize, rice, ‘jwar’, ‘bajra’, ground-nut, ‘til’, gram, moong, etc.
were roasted without using oil.
It is located between Bada Bazar and Mandi ki Naal.
Dand Pol is located near Aswani Market. Criminals were punished here. Punishment is Dand. Hence, the name Dand Pol.
Dhankooton Ki Gawadi
The cereals, (‘dhaan’) that were used in royal palaces were thrashed in this ‘Gawadi’ (locality).
It is located inside Suraj Pol. The overflow water of Picchola lake used to flow through this area leaving behind fine sand (Jhini Ret).
Situated on the road to Shrinathji Ki Haveli, it was the first beautifully engraved black stone Gokhra of Udaipur.
The crossroad from where roads lead to Suraj Pol, Lokhara Chouk, Mukharjee Chouk and Amal Ka Kanta, has been named after freedom fighter Master Choga lal, who was also called Marshal. He started a newspaper here.
This was the locality of persons who built boats and rowed them. It is also said that young men of Mewar used to come here to exercise and play games like Malkhamba. It has been named after Mallas who row the boats or after the game Malkhamba that was played here.
At this place on Bhamashaha Marg there used to be a gate without door and this is how it got the name of Phoota Darwaza.
When the city was being extended, the trucks of transporters of Ret (sand) used to stand near Aawri Mata area.
The place was given to the Sindhi Community when they came to Udaipur after partition of the country. As the market had a large number of shops of Sindhis, it was named Sindhi Bazar. For a long time it continued to be a fashion market of the city.
Amrud Ki Gali
It was the only place in the city that had Sitaphal (custard apple) and Amrud (guava) trees.
Earlier Thokar Chouraha was visible from Ahad side and there was a steep road, suddenly gaining height at the chouraha. This position was called Thokar in Mewari language. During Mevar state time, Rana Pratap Sagar was the last railway station. The last part of the railway line was raised to stop the train, so that it would hit this part and stop. So the place came to be called Thokar Chouraha. The water from Udaisagar flooded village Kanpur and hit the rocks at the place where this Chouraha exists now. The Mewari word for hit is ‘thokar’ and so the ‘chouraha’ came to be known as Thokar Chouraha.
Utoon Ka Karkhana
The goods used by the Mewar rulers were brought on camels that rested here.
There is a place called Siphon at the northern entry point of Udaipur city. The road towards north from Fatehpura gets bifurcated here. One leads to Badgaon and the other to Bedla.
Siphon is a device through which liquid is conveyed from one point to another through a U-shaped or reverse U-shaped tube or structure usually passing an obstacle. The outlet point is to be lower than the inlet points to cover the friction losses of the tube.
An irrigation canal, off taking from Fatehsagar was passing through this location and there was a syphon structure to pass the water below the road. The canal water level was about three meters higher than the road level. There were two circular wells on both the sides. Water was conveyed across the road from the upper well to the lower well through a barrel below the road connecting the wells. By this structure, the desired canal water level was maintained even after crossing the road.
As cement was not available then, the system was built using stone masonry in lime-surkhi mortar in 1889 with the dam and canal system during the reign of Maharana Fatehsingh. The conduit to carry water under pressure below the road was also of round shape stone masonry like a double arch, that made it strong enough to bear the load of the road traffic.
About 440 hectares of land was irrigated every year from Fatehsagar, most of which was through this canal and so it used to run almost through out the year. People used to take bath at the top of both the circular wells. It was a popular landmark called ‘Kotha’ in Hindi and Siphon in English. There was lush greenery and guava and mango farms on both sides of the road.
With gradual increase in supply of water for drinking purposes from Fatehsagar, availability of water for irrigation was reduced year after year and finally had to be stopped by the year 1980. So this structure with the canal system became obsolete.
With the rapid expansion of the area, there came up buildings, complexes, and shops where there used to be guava and mango farms. The ten-metre wide road was widened from time to time as per need. The upper well was dismantled about twenty years ago and lower one about ten years ago. No one knows what happened to the barrel below the road. Recently, the approaches were also dismantled in parts and the remaining structure is also in a very bad shape and is full of encroachments.