Udaipur! This city is just AMAZING! Often called as the Lake City, regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Udaipur never fails to astound you. You get a shock when you visit here, a pleasant shock when you see a city with lush green gardens, exquisite brown and purple ridges over the Aravalli, Shimmering Lakes, Magnificent mansions, Temples, Royal Palaces and what not. All this in the desert state of Rajasthan.
So here are details you’d want to consider before visiting Udaipur, the best time to visit, cheapest conveyance options, where to stay, everything.
Budget: Around 5-7k per head for a three day budget trip except for tickets to & from the city.
Best time to visit: Though being “The Lake City”, Udaipur has its fair share of Summers, so that isn’t the time you should visit. Travel there anytime around November to February, around this time you’d also be able to visit the famed Shilpgram Festival, which is organised around the last couple of weeks before New year’s.
Places to See:
Even if you spend all your time there roaming around the old city, you’d stumble on something that’d be a treat to you, be it the mansions or the gardens or the lakes or the food, But these are the must visits when you’re in Udaipur.
- City Palace: This palace complex built atop a hill, in a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles is as magnificent and awe-inspiring as it gets. This used to be the seat of the ruling Dynasty of Mewar since the 16th century, and now is a major tourist attraction of the city. It takes 2-3 hours to see the entire palace. It is at 10 min walking distance from any place near the lake.
Entry fee –Rs.400 for adults and Rs. 100 for students.
Camera fee (mobile or digital- Rs. 250/-, bags are checked so you cannot sneak in cameras but you can carry a phone and take pictures saving your 250 bucks).
- Lake Pichola: This pellucid lake with the City Palace complex stretching over its eastern shore, the old city on the western and a kind of make-do rainbow bridge to the south makes it one of the best spots to enjoy your mornings and evenings at. It has the Taj palace and Jug Mandir in the middle, which look gorgeous during evenings with yellow lights lit up in them.
Enjoy a delightful sunset, sipping tea from the eastern bank (Gangour Ghat), and then head to the opposite bank (Ambrai Ghat) and witness the sight of your life, the reflection of the magnificent City Palace in the shimmering waters of the lake.
Jug Mandir Boat ride: Rs. 400/- pax from 10 am to 2 pm and Rs. 700 from 3 pm to 5 pm. (The boat rides take around the Taj Palace to give a better view of it for the riders. You are taken to the palace only if you have a booking in the palace. )
- Sajjangarh/Monsoon Palace:
The monsoon retreat for the Royals and so the name. If you are a photography enthusiast then this place should be on the top of your list. Being at a height of couple hundred meters, Sajjangarh offers a staggering view of the city as well as the sunset from its backyard.
- Fateh Sagar lake– Built by Rana Fateh Singh, this majestic artificial lake with a surface area of around 5 km is ringed by hills and is a popular local hang-out, it has a tolerant, chilled-out vibe and a gorgeous evening skyline. Your visit to Udaipur wouldn’t be worth without taking a stroll along the lake, so it’s a must. We recommend to visit the lake in the evening to enjoy the serene lake and colorful fountains at various points inside the lake. One must enjoy the kulhad coffee (Rs. 30/-), momos and other snacks at the Chowpatty (Rs. 50+ ) around the lake. There is a small garden named Nehru Garden, which is right in the middle of the lake and can be reached by boats at Rs.30/- to and fro. One can also enjoy the motor boat, jet boat riding at Rs. 100/- per head.
- Jagdish Mandir: The wonderfully carved Indo-Aryan temple of Vishnu as Jagannath is just a 5 minute walk from the City palace and is practically the religious center of the old city.
- The City Palace Light and Sound Show: The light & sound show takes place in the City Palace complex. It is a great experience and an opportunity to capture the palace at night from within for about ₹200 per ticket, though the museum closes by 5 in the evening but it’s a surprising experience to see the complex in the original medieval lighting.
- Vintage & Classic Car museum: On the way to the City Palace complex, this museum houses the cars owned by the Maharanas of Mewar both past and present. Though the tickets are quite expensive, around 200-300 bucks but it still is worth every single rupee.
Where to eat:
Restaurants (Rooftop) are almost everywhere in and around Udaipur near Pichola lake, serving all types of cuisine. We tried Thalis (Rs. 100 to Rs. 150) and Daal Baati Churma (Rs. 100 to Rs. 150) to get the real taste of Rajasthan. You can also get Chinese, Italian and other fast-food very easily at a reasonable price.
Some other good restaurants would be:
- Udaipuri: A dimly lit restaurant with wonderful interiors and even better food. A vegetarian’s delight, it’s often called, Udaipuri is a stunning mid-range restaurant in the heart of the city. So it’d be around 500 to 600 bucks per head.
- Natraj Dining Hall: Wanna have the best Rajasthani thali? eat here! This is a nicely maintained budget property serving food in fixed Thali system. It’d cost you around ₹400-500 for two.
How to reach Udaipur:
- By Air: Udaipur has a domestic airport and flights from almost all major cities ply on a regular basis and the local autos, taxis, buses are available from the airport to the city (around-20-22kms).
- By Rail: All the major cities in India have a direct train to Udaipur, and the Railway station is right in the city so just get in an auto and head straight to your hotel.
- By Road: You could drive down directly to Udaipur, which in itself will be an amazing road trip or you can catch a bus.
- Most of the cities in Rajasthan are denoted by some color, so wherever you go try to get that view. For e.g: Jodhpur- blue city, Udaipur- White City.
- No matter where you want to go, the autos will ask you to pay Rs. 100/-. You need to be good at getting the fares down from Rs.40 to Rs.80 is fine. Most of the places are very close, some are even at a walking distance from all good hotels which can help save a lot of bucks.
- You will find excellent handcraft works everywhere in Udaipur such as clothes, wall hangings, good quality bags, leather bags and journals, bangles, earrings etc. These are all easily available in Udaipur near city palace, Hathi pol, Bada bazar, Sindhi market, so please make sure you bargain and buy all of these at a reasonable price.
- Udaipur near Pichola is the only place which gives the feeling of ancient times with its buildings in palace kind architecture and people in ethnic Rajasthani attire and therefore, it is highly recommended to visit and stay near Pichola if visiting Udaipur.
A single day in Udaipur is definitely not long enough to do this great city justice. So just head for this pristine city for a weekend or on a layover on your way to the rest of Rajasthan. Stay and admire the view as long as you like, the amethyst skyline remains forever alluring in a city that has a rustic glamour about it.