Grand palaces, sparking lakes, temples, and monuments are just some of what awaits the curious traveller in Udaipur. Known as the “Venice of the East,” Udaipur is a colourful city filled with beautiful architecture, and the setting, amidst the Aravalli Hills, can’t be beat. Whether navigating ancient, winding streets, bargaining in bazaars, or taking a sunset boat ride on pretty Lake Pichola, Udaipur is a tough city to get bored in. Read on for everything you need to know about visiting.
Your best and most efficient bet for getting to and from Udaipur airport is to get a pre-paid taxi. The trip to the centre of the city should cost between INR 500 and 750.
Conveniently, a lot of the city can be covered on foot and many of the things you’ll want to see are located fairly close together, making walking a good sightseeing option. The narrow alleyways in the old city can also make any other form of transportation a hassle. You will need a taxi or an autorickshaw to reach further sites, like the Monsoon Palace or the wilderness park. If you do want to give your legs a break, you can hire an autorickshaw for a day of local sightseeing for around INR 600 (for five to six hours). A short trip within the city will cost around INR 50, but as is often the case in India, expect to haggle over the price.
Make your first order of business in Udaipur to visit the impressive City Palace complex, known as the largest palace in Rajasthan. Situated on the banks of Lake Pichola, the massive complex actually contains 11 palaces in total so be prepared to spend some time exploring the many aspects, which include courtyards, gates, temples, arches, and towers. The grounds alone make a visit worthwhile. There is also a museum on the premises.
Another palace in Udaipur you might want to check out is the Monsoon Palace. Perched high on a hill above the city, the palace is a popular sunset spot due to its photo-worthy views over Udaipur.
Udaipur is known as one of the most romantic cities in India thanks to its abundance of lakes and palaces. Two of the most popular man-made lakes in the city are Lake Pichola and Lake Fatehsagar, which are connected by a canal. You won’t want to miss an evening boat ride on one of the lakes. Rides last for about an hour and offer a whole new way to experience the city. A ride on Lake Pichola also allows you to get an idea of just how sprawling the City Palace complex really is.
Bagore ki Haveli is an 18th-century building that has since been carefully restored and turned into a museum. There are over 100 rooms here, set around beautiful courtyards. In addition to interesting cultural displays, Bagore ki Haveli is also home to the world’s largest turban. Whether you spend time at the museum of not, you might want to consider coming to see the Dharohar, a traditional Rajasthani folk dance show. The show starts at 7pm, but tickets are first come, first served, so it’s best to arrive around 6:30pm if you can.
Get some fresh air and sunshine with a visit to Saheliyon Ki Bari (garden of the maidens). This is one of the most visited gardens in Udaipur and makes for a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours when you don’t feel like being in a museum or palace (hey, it happens). The ornate gardens are home to fountains, marble elephants, flower beds, a small museum, and beautiful lotus pond.
There are many markets and bazaars in Udaipur, but one of the best and biggest to visit if you want to do some souvenir shopping is Hathi Pol. This is where you can pick up local folk art and handicrafts, including the unique Rahjasthani miniature paintings. This is also a great market to score some jewellery (especially earrings). Hathi Pol is also known to be frequented more by locals than tourists, making it potentially easier to get a bargain on what you buy.
If you’re looking for some pre-trip reading before heading to Udaipur, add Life’s Like That by Prashant V Shrivastava and Cycles of Udaipur by David Brookes to your reading list.