Udaipur is one of the most picturesque places in India. Surrounded by lakes with the Aravalis in the backdrop, when the remnants of what was once this Capital’s boundary light up, the view is surreal! The sky changes hues and the birds flock back to their nests. The temples begin their evening prayers and the streets fill up with tourists who walk looking for places to eat and shop while rejoicing the splendid spectrum of colours in the bazaar. This place is a photographer’s delight!
I spent four days in Udaipur. It was perfect- neither short nor long. The Old Town (Gangaur Ghat and Jagdish Temple area) is the main touristic part. The touristic part is a small region but the entire city is big. There is not much to do in the new city part though. Udaipur is the land of Royals. You can spend hours looking around and marvel about the lifestyle of Maharajas.
My most memorable experience there was the tour of the “City Palace“. Like every other thing there, the entry fee for the beautiful palace is pretty high- 250 rupees for adults and 100 rupees for kids. For Indian Students (if you have an ID as proof), it is 100 rupees. And, if you wish to see the Jag Mandir, be prepared to dent a hole in your pocket! Luckily, for me, I had my university ID which made it possible for me and Nikita (a dorm mate) to see the place.
We spent the entire day there. The paintings and portraits displayed were intricate. On a painting depicting the “Battle of Haldighati”, we could see the faces of each and every soldier. Each of those faces had it’s own emotion and unique features. It was mind blowing! Our common interest in History made the tour very informative as well as long.
Taking Palace tours is like getting a peak into the life of Royals. And boy, did they have a lavish lifestyle!
Towards the end, there is a display of the kingdom’s silver possessions. Silver toothpicks, silver instrument for reducing the fizz in carbonated drinks (IS THAT EVEN A THING!?) and what not- you name it and they have it – IN SILVER!
Apart from the palace, there is the Jagdish Temple, Ambrai, Dudh Talai, Gulab Bagh, Lake Pichola and Lake Fateh Sagar.
Jagdish Temple has beautiful carvings on it’s outer walls.
Ambrai is a place I could have spent an entire day in- SPLENDID VIEW! It has a temple in it’s complex with an old man who is the care taker of the place. On asking, he told me that the temple had been built by the Queen when her husband- the King passed away. She began to live in the temple premises, devoting the rest of her life to god.
Dudh Talai is a 2 km walk from Gangaur Ghat. Though you can take a tuk-tuk to reach there, I’d suggest you to walk. Once there, you can walk around, explore the place or go for a boat ride. A man was performing some crazy stunts with his bicycle when I reached the lake side! His performance was followed by a magic trick by another person. When they were done, a man began playing his “Ravanahatha“. I wish I had recorded him playing!
From Dudh Talai, one can take the rope way to reach the Karni Mata Temple.
I had a chat with a local artist there. He makes the sculptures that are sold everywhere in Rajasthan. The sculptures are made up of stones found in the region. The shops buy the sculptures from the local artists like him but do not pay them on time. Moreover, the artists are charged for the amount of time the sculptures take to be sold!
It is my humble request to all the travellers to buy the local artifacts directly from the artists. Often, they are abused and under paid by the shop owners . Respect the artists and help them.
On the way to Dudh Talai is Gulab Bagh. It is a famous landmark of Udaipur. It has a small central garden in it’s complex which has a large variety of roses. Apart from that, it has a zoo and a toy train ride.
Fateh Sagar Lake is like the Marine Drive of Udaipur! It is 3-4 km from Gangaur Ghat. It is beautiful and huge! There are options for boating, horse ride, camel ride, horse tonga rides here.
I spent an hour at the pond that I saw on the way to Fateh Sagar Lake from Gangaur Ghat. The place was really peaceful and beautiful. There were no people there so I put on my favourite music tracks and sat, watching the birds fly and the ducks swim.
Lake Pichola is a nice place to sit by the edge and watch the view. You could also take a boat ride there. I spent quite some time at the Gangaur ghat, just sitting and thinking.
Apart from visiting these places, I took a stroll in the Bazaar every evening.
Interestingly, I was in Udaipur during the World Music Festival. Me and two other dorm mates attended it together. We caught the performance by – Niyaz ft. Azam Ali and Kailash Kher with his band Kailasa! It was pretty cool!
Personally, I found Udaipur a beautiful getaway to treat one’s eyes and I’d suggest everyone to take a trip there. However, I would not spend a very long time, say, a month there. It is more of a “sightseeing” destination. You won’t see the rural lifestyle there and the place is pretty commercial and touristic. If you’re looking for peace and a long term stay, I’d suggest Pushkar, Jodhpur or, Jaisalmer. Also, the food in Udaipur is slightly on the expensive side as compared to Pushkar.
Other Popular activities that tourists like to indulge in are- Silk painting, shopping and trekking around.
Some places worth visiting in close proximity to Udaipur (10-40 kms) are- Monsoon Palace, Haldighati, Eklingji Temple..
I’ll soon write a post on where to stay and eat in Udaipur – A Review Post! :D..
Feel free to comment your queries about the place or tell us about your experience in Udaipur.