Authored by Shweta Singhal
The tag of ‘the most romantic spot on the continent of India’ sits well on Udaipur. Formerly the capital of the Mewar Kingdom, it is known as the city of lakes and palaces; a city in the western Indian state of Rajasthan set around a series of shimmering lakes and known for its lavish royal residences.
It is a city which exudes romance and luxury; majestic palaces sit against a backdrop of craggy green hills, whitewashed havelis and bathing ghats are clustered around the waters of the lake, and bustling bazaars and tempting food only add to the city’s natural charms.
Old-world charm and hospitality make Udaipur one of India’s top destinations for the discerning traveller. The city is “far from unspoilt or undiscovered, though remains a richly rewarding place to visit”. While many people spend at least a week, it is possible to take in the main attractions of Udaipur in just a couple of days. Here are the best places to visit.
Places to Visit in Udaipur, India
City Palace & Museum
This is the largest palace in Rajasthan and a must-visit on your Udaipur visit. It was constructed by Maharana Udai Singh II, the city’s founder in 1599. Several smaller palaces and extensions were added by later kings.
Its imposing facade overlooks the serene Lake Pichola, which makes for stunning photo opportunities. You can enter the complex through Badi Pol at the northern end, or the Sheetla Mata Gate to the south. You need to buy tickets to the City Palace Museum, which is available at both entrances.
Wear sensible shoes. The Palace is built on several levels, and the old-construction stairs are steep, especially for kids. I had visited this complex with my 2-year-old daughter, and I needed to pick her up several times during the excursion.
The Museum is nothing but the main Palace; think lavish rooms with varied artefacts and historical paintings, pretty courtyards with gardens and fountains and stellar views of the city.
Vintage Car Museum
The vintage car collection belonging to the royal family is a treat for eyes.
Some of the treats include a 1938 Cadillac with curtains, a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom used in the Bond film Octopussy, and the Cadillac convertible that was used by Queen Elizabeth II to go to the airport in 1961.
After seeing the collection of 22 splendid vehicles, enjoy a vegetarian thali (local food with several dishes served on a large plate) at the Garden hotel within the complex.
Thanks to the foresight of the city’s founder, Udaipur is one of the greenest cities in Rajasthan. Maharana Udai Singh II organized for the lake to be enlarged with the foundation of the city.
Taking a boat ride on Lake Pichola with the view of the City Palace on one side, and Jagniwas island (now Taj Lake Palace) on the other is a fabulous way to spend an evening. Sunset excursions are popular with couples and families.
Udaipur has several other large lakes, and you might consider an excursion to Lake Fatehsagar or the Jaisamand Lake or the Udai Sagar Lake.
Leela Palace by gags9999 via Flickr.
The palace on Jagmandir Island was built by Maharana Karan Singh II in 1620. The royal family used the palace as its summer resort and for hosting parties. It has been partly converted into a hotel now.
If you take a boat ride on Lake Pichola from Rameshwar Ghat within the City Palace complex, it makes a stop at Jagmandir Island. You can see palace built on the island at leisure, and take a boat back.
Also Read: Incredible Palace Hotels in India
Monsoon Palace or Sajjan Garh
This 19th century palace is located just outside Udaipur, and offers panoramic views of the city and the area around it.
It was constructed by Maharana Sajjan Singh originally as an astronomical centre, and later became a monsoon palace and hunting lodge. Sunset is a good time to visit this site for the city views.
Bagore-ki-Haveli is located by Lake Pichola, at Gangaur Ghat. This 18-century Haveli is massive and has138 rooms set around courtyards.
The rooms display period photos of Udaipur, cultural artefacts, wonderful costumes and local art.
Also Read: Places to Visit in Jodhpur
How to Reach Udaipur
There are daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Dabok airport (also known as Maharana Pratap airport) in Udaipur.
Udaipur is well-connected by trains to several cities in India including Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Ajmer and Sawai Madhopur. The road network between these cities is also very good.
Where to stay in Udaipur
If uber-luxury is your style, you certainly have come to the right city. Consider The Oberoi Udaivilas; spread over 50 acres, adjacent to Lake Pichola and regularly listed in one of the top hotels in the world. ➡ Check availability.
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