Udaipur, The White City, is the jewel in the crown of the Rajasthan region. It is considered the most romantic city in Rajasthan and is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East,’ or the ‘City of Lakes’ and feels seemingly frozen in time, filled with lots of historical charm. It is famously known for being the shooting location for James Bond’s adventures in ‘Octopussy’ as well as the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
The best time to visit Udaipur is during the winter season, between September and March. The temperature is more comfortable and bearable then as it can get into the mid 40’s!
Here are the top things to see and do whilst in Udaipur.
Lake Pichola is a man-made lake and is believed to be one of the most beautiful ones as well. A boat ride on Lake Pichola, which starts from Rameshwar Ghat in the City Palace, is highly recommended, and you can stop at one of its famed islands, Jagmandir Island to visit the popular palace, Jag Mandir.
Jag Mandir is a 17th century structure that stands gloriously amidst Lake Pichola on the Jagmandir Island. It is a three-storied structure and includes sections like Gul Mahal, an elegant façade, a Garden Courtyard and the Darikhana on its northern side, the Bara Patharon ka Mahal (palace of the 12 stones), the Zenana Mahal – a southern extension to the Gul Mahal and the Kunwar Pada ka Mahal. During the boat ride on Lake Pichola, you can stop to visit this beautiful place.
The City Palace belongs to the royal Mewar family and has exquisite architecture. It is the largest palace in Rajasthan and has cleverly designed interiors designed to protect the king and his people from the enemy back in the day. It has a breathtaking panoramic view of Rajasthan and I would dedicate at least half a day to exploring its various courtyards, gardens and museum exhibits.
Saheliyo Ki Bari Garden
Saheliyon Ki Bari, which means ‘The Garden of the Maidens,’ was constructed by Maharana Bhopal Singh for the maids who accompanied the Princess to Udaipur. It has striking features such as a lotus pool with elephants standing on corners spurting water from their trunks, as well as a central pool which showers water in a rain-like effect – a perfect respite from the scorching Rajasthani heat.
Experience staying in a Haveli
Al fresco dining
A lakeside meal is one of the experiences you must do when in Udaipur. I recommend lunch or dinner at Ambrai restaurant, also at Amet Haveli. It has views of both the Lake Palace and City Palace, and is the perfect spot to unwind with some good food and a refreshing drink.
A Day trip to Ranakpur to see the Jain temple
The Ranakpur temple is a stunning Jain temple, dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha, that is beautiful from the outside as well as spectacular on on the inside. It is worth visiting either on the way to Udaipur, or from Udaipur. Dress conservatively for this temple and you will have to bring photographic ID.
The entire temple is carved from white marble and over 1,444 pillars hold up the ceiling. All of the carvings are intricate in detail, portraying people, elephants, flowers, and geometrical patterns, and no two pillars are the same. You can visit with an audio guide and take as much time as you wish.
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