Udaipur, the city of lakes is one of its kind cities in not only Rajasthan but all of India. Founded in 1558 C.E. by the Maharana Udai Singh II, Udaipur continues to mesmerize its visitors with its understated beauty and a slow pace of life. Today fortunately many royal palaces and temples have been opened for public. The lavish palaces offer a glimpse into the flamboyant lifestyle of the erstwhile royal family of Udaipur. There is no dearth of activities to do in Udaipur. You can visit the palaces or spend some quiet time at one of the lakes or just enjoy the local delicacies.
1. Peep into the royal past of Udaipur
Udaipur City Palace which is enveloped with Aravali mountain range, is a lavish building constructed over 400 years. Maharana Udai Singh II started its construction in the year 1553 C.E. Even after so many years, the palace is in great shape. The 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy was also shot here.
2. Let time stand still in the lakes of Udaipur
Udaipur is called city of lakes for a reason. There are many big and small lakes across the city.
Fatah Sagar Lake
Fatah Sagar Lake, for example is an artificial lake christened after Maharana Fatah Singh of Udaipur and Mewar. The park has 3 islands. One island has a tourist attraction called Nehru Park. The other one has a water jet fountain and the third island is home to Udaipur Solar Observatory. These islands can be accessed via motor boats. The lifestyle and economy of Udaipur revolves around its 4 big lakes.
Pichola Lake was created in 1362 C.E., this artificial lake was christened after the Picholi village which is located nearby. The four islands present on the lake are Jag Niwas, Jag Mandir, Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas. The lake and the nearby areas were developed over many centuries. Some of the notable features of the lake are marble temples, flamboyant palaces, bathing ghats, family mansions, chabutras etc.
Badi Lake is an offbeat destination not visited by many tourists due to lack of information. This stunning lake is an artificial reservoir built by Maharana Raj Singh I. Located 12 kilometers away from Udaipur, it was built in the Badi village. It is a massive lake which spans 155 square kilometers. Ornate pavilions can be found here. It is untouristy and comes as a fresh breeze from the usual places in Udaipur.
3. Soak in the Sunset at Jag Mandir
Jag Mandir is the best place to enjoy sun set in Udaipur. Colossal sculptures of 8 elephants welcome you as you enter the Jag Mandir built on an island of Lake Pichola. Also called Lake Garden Palace, you can reach here via the motor boats available from Udaipur City Palace. Its construction began in 1551 C.E. by Maharana Amar Singh and was continued by subsequent heirs. The Jag Mandir served as a summer resort or a venue for holding royal parties.
4. Go on a dreamy sun set Boat Ride
The boat ride will take you around the Pichola lake offering you a close view of ruins, island palaces, temples and the ghats bathed in the evening light.
5. See the one of its kind – Doodh Talai Musical Garden
Located on the banks of Pichola lake, it is popular with tourists and locals alike. People love to spend some time here during the sunset. The serene atmosphere and tranquil water attract those who look for some solace from the city traffic. The other nearby attractions include Manikya Lal Verma Garden, Karni Mata temple and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park.
6. Go Off the beaten track
There are many hidden gems in Udaipur. Visit the Gulab Bagh and bird park. This heritage park was constructed in 1862 C.E. Avoid the zoo nearby. Ahar Museum and Cenotophs houses a museum and a royal cremation ground built over 400 years ago. The compound has a museum known as Ahar Archaeological museum. The museum houses terracotta pots, iron instruments, seals and other ancient artefacts. Saheliyon Ki Bari, a beautiful garden built by Rana Sangram Singh has decorative pavilions, water fountains, manicured gardens, marble elephants and a lotus pool. Not many tourists know about this secret gem of a place. Do not miss this offbeat place. Thank us later!
7. Visit old havelis and mansions
Bagore Ki Haveli was built in eighteenth century. It is located at Gangori Ghat near Lake Pichola. You can appreciate the Mewar style paintings, modern art and the costumes from a bygone era. There are more than 100 rooms located here. The monsoon place located on a hill top in Sajjangarh is also worth a visit!
8. Udaipur Solar Observatory – Great for Astronomy freaks
Located on an island of Fateh Sagar Lake, it is where you can participate in solar observations. It was built in 1976 on the lines of Solar Observatory at Big Bear lake in Southern California.
9. Party in the local style at Aapni Dhani
Located on a serene hillock, you can enjoy Rajasthani culture, food and music here under one roof. It recreates a typical Rajasthani village. You can sample distinctive Mewar thali here.
10. Visit old temples of Udaipur
Hindu devotees have been offering prayer in the old Jagdish Temple since 1651. Do notice the beautiful carvings of elephants and human statues on the walls. It is a huge temple located in the heart of the city. Many devotees visit it daily. There are many old temples in Udaipur.
11. Enjoy bird’s eye view on a ropeway
This ropeway connects Sri Karni Mata Temple with Deendayal Upadhyay Park. It offers panoramic views of Udaipur city and lakes from above.
12. Enjoy the lip-smacking delicacies on a Food Trail
Udaipur is known for its delicious food. You can binge eat mirchi vada, daal baati churma, pyaaz kachori, dabeli, tandoori chai, ker sangri and much more in Udaipur.
13. Take a stop at Sukhadia Circle
It is a picturesque roundabout where people stop for a breather while traveling to Ranakpur and Mount Abu. There is a kid zone and fast food outlets here located near a pond.
14. Go Shopping
There is a lot you can buy in Udaipur. From Rajasthani shoes, mojdis, to traditional wooden puppets, traditional handicrafts, local shelf food, Rajasthani clothes, there is a lot you can buy here.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Udaipur is from October to February. It gets very hot in Udaipur March onwards.