The last stop of my tour around Rajasthan was Udaipur and its surroundings. Udaipur is also known as the City of Lakes due to the several interconnected lakes surrounding the citadel and the outskirts. These lakes together with the encircling green hills make this small city an idyllic setting for romance and fairy tales. No wonder it was the capital of the Mewar kingdom where beautiful palaces and impressive forts were constructed, such as the City Palace and the near-by Chittorgargh Fort. The many terraces, roof tops and restaurants by Lake Pichola make for a perfect sunset watching stop or simply to enjoy the serenity and love this setting evokes. This is definitely a city not to be missed in your Rajasthani tour.
What cannot be missed in a visit to Udaipur?
Surely, there are many places to see and activities to do in Udaipur but if time is short or you want to make a pick between the choices, these are my top 5:
1) City Palace Museum
The interiors of this palace are very well-kept with some magnificent stain-glass windows and intricate tiled-walls in some of the rooms. The many courtyards and rooms are connected by narrow passages and a decent amount of staircases, so be prepared to walk and exercise!There are a few museum rooms containing silver and gold ornaments, weapons, paintings and historic documents.
2)Boat tour around Lake Pichola
It is a nice relaxing boat ride around the Lake Palace and Jag Mandir (where you could get off to walk on its arty grounds), contemplating the City Palace from the lake and the many Havelis and buildings on the water-front. There is a possibility to book this tour at the ticket office of the City Palace Museum when purchasing the entrance for the palace (if done like this, ask for the schedules to avoid waiting for a long time at the dock).
3)Saheliyon ki Bari
This beautiful retreat is a breath of fresh calm air with its nicely kept gardens, fountains and colorful flowers. It was originally built for the queen of Udaipur and its maids, and hence, the name meaning the “Garden of the Maids of Honour”.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vast fort complex perched on a high hill overlooking the green plains below. Its walls protect a series of temples, palaces, water reservoir, memorials and 7 gates. Its size, complex access and significant historic events make this fort one interesting site to visit when in this region.
It will take about two hour-drive to reach this site from Udaipur as it is located about 115 Km north-east of the city. It is worth getting there early to avoid the crowds and fierce midday heat.
5)Ranakpur Jain Temple (not exactly in Udaipur but in its surroundings)
Ranakpur Jain Temple is not located in Udaipur but on the road between Jodhpur and Udaipur, closer to the latter. It can be seen on the way to either city as a break stop for about one hour. The wide variety of white marble-carved ornaments on ceilings, walls and pillars make this temple and architectural jewel. Its exteriors are deceiving as they look simple and unimpressive, so do go inside to be mesmerized by its beauty and spectacular art work.
Again, as mentioned already in my previous 2 posts on Rajasthan (Jaipur post and Jodhpur post), there are several ways to visit the different cities of this western state: by train, by airplane and by car (my most recommended means for this tour). If you are doing this tour in private transportation (whether hired or owned), you will be able to customize your itinerary to your taste and reach interesting sites difficult to get to with public transport otherwise. Just remember, some of the streets inside the city centre are narrowed and a car won’t go through them, so you will have to either walk or take an auto-rickshaw.
Most likely, you will either start your tour around Rajasthan here and proceed northwards or you will end it here after visiting Jaipur/Jodhpur. Either way, if you are doing it by road, don’t forget to squeeze in an hour on your way up to (or down from) Jodhpur at Ranakpur Jain Temple. This was my last stop after which I took a flight back to Delhi so as to avoid the long road trip back.
How many days to spend in Udaipur?
As always, it depends on how much you want to do per day and how many breaks you want to take in between activities. Keep in mind, most tourist sites are open to the public during the day/afternoon but they shut before sunset or dark (around 6-7pm). I recommend staying a minimum of 2 complete days or, 3 days if you are planning to visit Chittorgarh Fort.
You will need 1 day to visit the City Palace museum, take a boat tour around Lake Pichola, visit Jag Mandir and immediate surroundings of that part of the city (including a myriad of shops selling beautiful art and hand-made leather journals and very narrow streets where cows/dogs/auto-richshaws and people happily co-exist). You will need a second day to visit other city sightseeing points like the Saheliyon Ki Bari, Fateh Sagar Lake and other palaces if desired like the Monsoon Palace or Lake Palace (if you are not accommodated here). If planning a visit to Chittorgarh Fort, add an extra day for an early morning drive to the Fort, lengthy visit and drive back to Udaipur.
Udaipur changes faces from day to night, when the water-front buildings´ lights are reflected on the lake and the City Palace and Lake Palace are nicely lit. So at least, spend 2 nights to enjoy the atmosphere and perhaps one of the famous puppet-dance shows.
Udaipur is a city not to be missed in your tour around this indian state. It is a fantastic opportunity to see both beautiful architecture and landscapes and indulge on some relaxing romantic sunset moments over the hills and Lake Pichola.
If you want more information, please drop me a comment or an email! I will try my best to help!
Happy travels! 🙂