The history of Udaipur is a rich and charming tapestry of lakeside palaces, forts, temples and gardens which reflect the varied influences of centuries past. The erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Mewar, the city was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh. From its magnificent palaces to its vibrant bazaars, the city is probably the best example of romantic and alluring Rajasthan at its finest.
My journey began on the 7th October as I frantically catch a moving train from Bandra Terminus, which I nearly missed. Funny enough when I think about it now, it reminds me of the starting train scene from Jab We Met. Total Bollywood style !! I arrived next morning on the quaint little Udaipur station where an old family friend from Pune was already waiting for me.
A quick sumptuous breakfast and 2 cups of tea later we headed out to the City Palace.
The balconies, cupolas and towers of the palace give a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding city. This complex actually consists of four major and several minor palaces that collectively form the magnificent City Palace. The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying ancient artefacts.
Post lunch we headed off to Karni Mata temple, located on the Machla hills which was a 15 min walk and a ropeway ride away. Alternatively you can also walk up by a zigzag path from the park on the east side of pretty Dudh Talai lake, which you pass en route to Sunset Point. The small sunset point park has dazzling views over Lake Pichola, Jagmandir Island and off toward the Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace).
A 5 min walk from the ropeway is the beautiful lake Pichola. It is popularly believed that Pichola was the name of a village that was submerged and lent its name to the lake when it was expanded. The islands of Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are housed in this lake. Along the eastern banks of the lake lies the City Palace. A boat ride in the lake around sunset offers a breathtaking view of the Lake and City Palaces.
After watching the beautiful sunset we headed off to Baghore Ki Haveli for the cultural show which lasts an hour, usually comprising of magic show, puppet show and Rajasthani folk music and dance. You will be truly amazed by the skill and imagination of the beautiful dances!
Was fortunate enough to be in town during Navratri which meant that the whole city was dressed up for dandiya. All you need are sticks and some new friends to have fun !!
Day 2 was full of energy and enthusiasm as we headed off to Sajjangarh – Monsoon Palace which is situated just outside Udaipur on top of Bansdara Mountain. Used as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge, it is still an awe-inspiring sight on the Udaipur skyline and offers spectacular views of the city and the areas around.
The rest of the day was spent on a 90km bike trip to Ranakpur, a renowned Jain Temple in the heart of the remote and enchanting valley of the Aravallis.
That’s it from Udaipur !! Next destination – Pushkar
Stay in Udaipur – Hotel Udai Niwas, Near Jagdish Temple
Best time to visit – September to March
Must visit – City Palace, Lake Pichola, Karni Mata Temple, Baghore ki Haveli, Jag Mandir, Fateh Sagar Lake and Doodh Talai Lake.
Tips – If you wish to see the show at Baghore ki Haveli, make sure you arrive before time as there are limited tickets on sale. The show begins at 7pm. Sunsets in Udaipur are best enjoyed at Lake Pichola or any of the rooftop restaurants and cafes. You can also arrange a boat ride under the stars on the beautiful Lake Pichola and surrender to the charms of this magnificent city.