''The City within a City'' is a visionary, highly ambitious research project probing into the historic past of Udaipur (Rajasthan, India): the capital of the former princely state of Mewar since 1559. Founded, in that very year, on the banks of Lake Pichola and ringed by the Aravalli mountain range, the city, its palaces and island-palaces, its architectural grandeur, and its historical achievements are the starting points in understanding, preserving and communicating the continuity of a vibrant cultural heritage, rooted in one Asian city, but belonging to the rest of the world. In attempting to explore the continuity of Udaipur''s architectural heritage, ''The City within a City'', thus, seeks to provide a blueprint for the holistic growth of heritage cities. [This multidisciplinary project (begun in 1999-2000), claim the authors, has now become the focus of attention and the subject of discussion in universities, research institutions and funding agencies in India, US, UK and European Union].
This inaugural volume of ''The City within a City'' has its focus on the picturesque island-palace of Jagmandir on Lake Pichola, Udaipur, and how in this palace are gloriously manifested the Indian traditions of art, architecture and aesthetics. Built in the reign of Maharana Karan Singh (1620-28) and embellished by successive generations of the Maharanas of Mewar, Jagmandir is a spectacular summer palace: a swarg ki vatika (garden of heaven). The volume analyzes a spectrum of its historical records, including paintings, rare photographs, old maps, and architectural drawings, never presented before. Jagmandir on Lake Pichola is enriched with numerous exquisite illustrations.
The second volume in ''The City within a City''-series proposes to focus on the Mardana Mahal and the Zenana Mahal, Udaipur -- considered as one of the grandest, most spectacular palace complexes: in India, not just in Rajasthan.
Dipti Khera is an architect with passion for heritage conservation. She has had her graduate studies at Sir J J School of Art and Architecture, Bombay, and de Montfort University, UK. Raju Mansukhani is a former journalist associated, since 1988, with the House of Mewar. Dr Andrew Topsfield is curator of Indian art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.