For centuries, Udaipur has been the seat of Indian royalty.
Here we bring you nine ways to enjoy the regal city at its red carpet best.
1. Re-live history
Udaipur’s City Palace is arguably one of the most majestic palaces in India. Here, one after the other, you come across splendid quarters bedecked with exquisite architecture and mirror-work. The Surya Chopar, Rajya Angan, Manak Mahal, Moti Mahal (pearl palace), Chini Mahal (ceramic palace) are just a few of its treasures. The unending palace towers above beautiful Lake Pichola, which can be seen from its countless balconies and jharokhas. With breathtaking views of the lake and marvellous architecture, the palace is not just a popular tourist destination, but also a coveted location for private events hosted by the world’s who’s who.
2. Sleep to the sound of water
The city’s famous Lake Palace sits proudly on the Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola. Originally, the palace served as a summer retreat for the royal family, but now it stands as one of India’s most celebrated hotels. Its incredible location, ambiance and enviable reputation draw people from all over the world. A lovely boat-ride on Lake Pichola is the only way to reach the palace. But boats that take you to Jag Mandir and around the lake are also available every hour.
3. Chase a golden lining
Five kilometres from Udaipur is the Monsoon Palace. The palace is set at a height of 340m and provides an exceptional view of the city. But it’s most popular offering is nature’s very own light show. From the palace, you can see the sun as it sets over the city, turning the blue sky into magical shades of orange, pink and gold. On a cloudy day a brilliant golden outline peaks from the dark clouds, a sight that is known for bringing out romance.
4. Follow your faith
Some of Rajasthan’s most beautiful temples can be found just a short drive from Udaipur. Ranakpur, Nathdwara and Eklingji are all revered amongst locals but are rapidly gaining popularity outside Rajasthan as well. The Ranakpur temple is a peaceful house of worship and a beautiful example of traditional Jain architecture. Here, guests can also enjoy a communal lunch, where an array of rich vegetarian dishes is served for just 20 rupees! On the way back to Udaipur is the usually-packed Krishna temple, Nathdwara and Eklingji, a composition of 108 temples.
5. Find a hill station in the desert
Mount Abu is Rajasthan’s only hill station. It is popular amongst families and young couples looking for a quiet getaway or escaping from Rajasthan’s scorching sun. Here, people usually spend their time boating on Nakki lake or visiting Dilwara temple. Abu’s popularity has been heightened by the fact that a smooth highway has recently connected it directly with Udaipur. Now, even day tours to the hill station from Udaipur are easily available.
6. Fall in love with vintage cars
Within the Garden Hotel, you can enjoy a traditional lunch followed by a stroll through the classic cars museum. Here you can admire and pose with vintage cars that once belonged to the Maharajahs of Udaipur but were later donated by His Royal Highness to the museum for public viewing. The collection is frequently updated and some cars are still used in escorting exclusive guests of the royal family.
7. Hunt for a bargain
It’s hard not to fall for the vibrant handicrafts produced and sold in Udaipur. While they are sold all over the city, their quality and price varies from one place to another. Hathipole is one of the places recommended for bargain-hunters. But if one is looking for a lot of variety and superior quality, not to mention steeper prices, the city center should suffice.
Enigmatic cultural shows and quirky puppet-performers: that’s entertainment, the Rajasthani way. On a cool evening, puppets amuse you with magic shows and folklore. They’re followed by dancers from the hinterland, who will introduce you to joyful local dances and then astonish you by dancing on broken glass – all the while balancing up to nine pots on their heads.
9. Visit a village
Shilpgram (Craftsman’s Village) is a functional complex depicting India’s diversity through arts and crafts. The 70-acre village is set amongst the foothills of the Aravalis. Here, visitors can shop for traditionally produced goods and also learn about an average Indian villager’s life. In winters, a vivacious crafts’ festival fills the village with joy and gaiety.
Highways, punctual trains and domestic airlines connect Udaipur with all major cities in India.
It is advised to cover your head before entering temples.
If possible, leave you mobile phones and bags in your cab. Because they are not allowed inside some places.
Visiting Udaipur between late March and July is extremely ill-advised as the summers are harsh and unforgiving.
A boat ride of Lake Pichola costs Rs. 300 for adults and Rs. 150 for children. The boats operates from 9 am to 5 pm (Timings subject to change).
Some of the important distances are:
Agra – 630 km
Ahmedabad – 262 km
Jaipur – 406 km
Jodhpur – 275 km
Mount Abu – 185 km
Chittorgarh Fort is approximately 90 minutes by car from Udaipur and en-route to Ajmer.
Shilgram is 3 kms from Udaipur.
Eklingji is 22 kms from Udaipur.