Udaipur, India

Saturday, 15 April 2017


Udaipur was perhaps one of the cities I was most looking forward to visiting in India. After seeing countless beautiful pictures of lake Pichola on some of my favourite Instagram accounts, my expectations of this city were high, but I can safely say I was not disappointed! It is pretty hard not to fall in love with Udaipur and I would argue that even the most India sceptic travellers would adore this place.

Dotted alongside lake Pichola are a number of intricately designed Haveli's and palaces which boast incredible views of the layers of mountains that sit behind the lake. It is not surprising then, that Udaipur is often regarded as one of the most romantic destinations in the whole of India, as well being being known as the "Venice of the East".

How to get to Udaipur

Udaipur is located in the south of Rajasthan and even though it is a fair distance from the more major cities in this state, it is easily accessible by train, air or car.

We arrived via an 8 hour journey by private car (with no seat belts may I add) from Ranthambore National Park which cost just under £100. Seems a lot but it was one hell of a distance and it was our only option! There are however, trains that run from Pushkar, Jaipur, Delhi and Bundi as well as flights form Delhi/Mumbai if you're short on time!

Duration

You could do Udaipur in one day as it is relatively small, but because it is one of the few places in Rajasthan (from personal experience) that you really feel you can relax in, I strongly recommend staying at least 2-3 nights!

See & Do

The City Palace 
This palace is famed for being the largest palace complex in Rajasthan and is located right on the banks of lake Pichola, giving it incredible views of the surrounding hills as well as Udaipur city itself. The downside of this attraction is it is very busy, potentially the busiest tourist attraction we visited in India. This is made worse by large group tours congregating around the same time (mid morning) and the fact that the palace is full of narrow passages and small rooms. However, despite the crowds, you cannot go to Udaipur and not visit the palace as it is full of incredible architecture, beautiful courtyards, terraces, viewpoints, corridors and hanging gardens.


Take a boat trip around Lake Pichola 
 Another must as you get to experience Udaipur from a completely different perspective, making you understand why it is often deemed the "Venice of the East". I am pretty certain boat trips run all day but the one at sunset is the most popular and so you will need to go down to the ghat early in order to get a place on the boat. Although, the sunset trip was a pleasant experience, it was slightly sardine like and and gave me neck ache because of the awkward angle you have to sit in the boat. In the future, I will probably opt for a private boat tour which doesn't cost much more and you can leave at any time you wish (early morning would be incredible). For booking information it is best to head down to the boat booking office (located next to Rainbow Restaurant) to find out details because everything is susceptible to change in India!


Take daily visits to the Ghats
A ghat simply refers to a place where steps lead down to a river or lake. However, ghats are often associated with places of spirituality, areas to wash and be rid of sins as well as simply being places to connect with the beauty and peacefulness of water. Everyday consisted of a visit to the beautiful Gangaur Ghat, because it was always thriving with life and had an incredible energy.

It was a place where families would sell crafts and jewellery, children would swim in the lake, people would pay a visit to the small temple and tourists would be soaking up the atmosphere all the while admiring the beauty of lake Pichola and the surrounding architecture. It also helped that there were four puppies who had set up camp in this rather gorgeous location!


Watch the sunset from one of Udaipur's day beds
Udaipur is home to some of the most stunning lake side restaurants with impeccable views over lake Pichola. Many of these restaurants  are also home to day beds where you can eat and drink whilst admiring the stunning surroundings. Rainbow restaurant and Jagat Niwas were two places I discovered with incredible day beds and views over the lake, but I am certain there are plenty more hidden throughout Udaipur!


Go shopping for Fabrics, Art and Jewellery 
Udaipur is a hot-bed for shops aimed at tourists; filled to the brim with gorgeous fabrics, artwork, sculptures and jewellery. Although a little on the expensive side, Udaipur's shops are full of trinkets most people wish to buy on a trip to India and they are closely congregated making it very easy to spend half a day shopping!


Take a visit to Jagdish Temple
This is such a lovely temple which is located close to the City Palace and is definitely worth visiting in Udaipur as it is free of charge and gives you more of an insight into hindu religion and traditions. Remember to take your shoes off and walk clockwise around the temple!


Enjoy an Ayurvedic treatment 
Udaipur is a great place to experience Ayurvedic massages which are a huge deal in India as they contribute to the ancient healing system of Ayurveda. I treated myself to a very reasonably priced (£5) head neck and shoulder massage which helps to remove toxins and de-stress your entire body. Walk along the main shopping streets and there are many spas offering similar treatments - I only sampled one (the one pictured below) so I would not be able to say which spa is the best!


Other
Art, yoga and cooking classes are also commonplace in Udaipur which can be arranged when arriving in the city. It is also a great place to find henna artists who will paint your feet and hands in beautiful henna!

There are also other museums worth researching, for instance, another popular attraction is the crystal museum and the Bagore Ki Haveli. Plus, if you have more time, you could look into doing some day trips to Eklingji Temple and the Ahar Cenotaphs from Udaipur!

Sleep

I am going to do a more comprehensive blog post about where to stay in Udaipur, showcasing some of the best hotels available. So be sure to check that out once its online!

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Much love,

Lizzie xx
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