Famously known as “The City of Lakes”, Udaipur is one charming destination in Rajasthan. The city has its own pace and vibes which are quite unmatched to the royal image of the cities like Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. It is quite peaceful. The towering and layered Aravalli hills in the surrounding and the calming effect of the beautiful lakes in the city make it quite enchanting and inviting at the same time. The royal places, temples, old Havelis, countless narrow lanes, the ancient ghats and the traditional houses, along with that, the hustling of the markets, buzzing streets with locals and tourists and somewhere the soothing and pleasing vistas of the lakes add to the charm of the timeless beauty of Udaipur. It doesn’t give you the feel of quintessential Rajasthan. The common sights like camels on the road, men clad in their typical Rajasthani attire, and Haveli styled traditional royal hotels, are rare to find in Udaipur. It has a more modern approach in comparison to the other cities. Udaipur is also considered a great location for the destination wedding, which is why you will find top notch luxury hotels flaunt the big lawns, lake view rooms, and other facilities and allow you to live your royal dream.
This was technically my second visit to Udaipur, but it was my first trip wherein I had the opportunity to explore the nook and corner of the city according to the itinerary designed by me. I spent three nights and four days in the city of lakes and visited top tourist attractions. It also includes places around the city as well.
Day 1: Three Days Perfect Udaipur Itinerary
- City Palace
- Lake Pichola
- Lok Kala Kendra
- Fateh Sagar Lake
I decided to take an early morning flight from Delhi to Udaipur to utilize the whole day. It took hardly an hour and half to land at the Maharana Pratap Airport. Since my stay was at Justa Sajjangarh, it took 50 minutes’ drive to reach the hotel from the airport. The temperature was soaring high outside. So, I decided to step out after lunch. Since I was going to explore the city in the afternoon, I carefully decided the destinations which are located and easily covered within a few kilometres. I started with the City palace, followed by the Lake Pichola, Lok Kala Kendra for the puppet show and finally sunset at Fateh Sagar Lake.
City Palace, Udaipur
The city palace of Udaipur is one of the top tourist spots in the city. You will always find tourists throughout the year here. Located on the eastern bank of Lake Pichola, the magnificent palace is a great blend of wonderful Medieval, European and Chinese Architecture. Bathed in the bright yellow sunlight on the bank of picturesque Lake Pichola, the view of the spectacular palace is a sight to behold. The City Palace houses numerous gateways, courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens.
It is one of the largest palaces in Rajasthan. It was Prince Udai Singh who established the city of Udaipur and later moved his capital from Chittorgarh to the newly built city and started living in the City Palace. The construction of the City Palace took nearly 400 years by the 42 rulers of Mewar dynasty. Due to which the architectural style of the place has seen a rich blend of different influences from various countries. The palace is constructed of marble and granite.
Inside the Palace, you will find Manek Chowk, Badi Mahal, Amar Vilas, Chini Chitrashala, Choti Chitrashali, Dilkhusha Mahal, Durbar Hall, Fateprakash Palace, Jagdish Mandir, Krishna Vilas, Laxmi Vilas Chowk, Manak Mahal, Mor Chowk, Rang Bhawan, Sheesh Mahal and a museum. There are several gateways that provide entrance to this glorious Palace. The Main gate is named ‘Bara Pol’, which leads to ‘Tripolia Pol’. You will find numerous shops and stalls of antiques, book-binders, miniature painters, textile shops and a restaurant inside the Palace complex.
You can’t miss Lake Pichola which has become an identity for Udaipur. Encircled by the elevated Aravalli hills, Lake Pichola is one of the most beautiful sights in the city. Named after the nearby village Picholi, the alluring lake is flanked by islands, palaces, temples, mansions, ghats and restaurants.The White marble structured gorgeous Taj Lake Palace Hotel in the middle of the lake gives it a dream like view. You can opt for boat rides on the lake. The sunrise and sunset rides are costly compared to the day rides. The enchanting views of the sunrise and sunset from the bank of the lake are something you should not miss. It has four main islands namely Jag Niwas, Jag Mandir, Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas. The Jag Niwas which was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1740 has now been converted into a Heritage Hotel belonging to the Taj Group and is one of the top attractions of Udaipur . The Jag Mandir is home to the famous Lake Garden Palace. Mohan Mandir was the place from where the king used to witness the Gangaur festival celebration held annually. Arsi Vilas was basically served as an armoury and is now a sanctuary housing a variety of birds.
Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal
If you want to watch a puppet show and the traditional dance performance of Rajasthan, you can visit Bharatiya Lok Kala Kendra. It houses one of the famous museums in Udaipur.
It has an extraordinary collection of Rajasthani ornaments, masks, puppets, musical instruments, dolls, Rajasthani folk artifacts, apparels, paintings and deities.
Fateh Sagar Lake
The Fateh Sagar Lake is an artificial lake and one of the top tourist attractions in Udaipur. The lake comprises of three small islands and the largest of all is the Nehru Park, which is quite popular amongst tourists. The second island also houses a park and the third one has Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO). The stunning Fateh Sagar Lake was built by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678 AD, but it was washed away during the flood. Later Maharana Fateh Singh built the Connaught Dam on the lake and then it was named after him.
The locals generally go for their morning and evening walk around the lake. The tourists prefer to be around the lake in the evening as the sunset view is spectacular there. If you like boating, you can go for it. Apart from that, there are buzzing street food scenes in the evening. Walking around the lake in the evening, watching the Sun hiding behind the layers of Aravalli hills, is certainly blissful. I saw the best sunset view on the Fateh Sagar Lake.
Day 2 : Three Days Perfect Udaipur Itinerary
- Kumbhalgarh fort
- Ranakpur Jain Temple
- Hathipol market
On the second day, I decided to explore places that are around Udaipur which can be covered in a day trip. Since I wanted to visit the Kumbhalgarh fort, which is around 100 km away from the Udaipur city, I included Ranakpur Jain Temple on my itinerary as well. Both the spots can be easily covered in a day from Udaipur. Also, if you want to do shopping in Udaipur, one can visit Hathipol market while returning from your day trip.
Kumbhalgarh fort is one of the famous tourist attractions in Udaipur. Located in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, this fort was declared the UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. The fort has the second largest wall, which stretches to about 36 kms, after the Great Wall of China. Situated on the western Aravalli hills, the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Because of the topography , inaccessibility and strategically built, this place was not easily conquered by anyone. In fact, the fort used to serve as refuge shelter for the Mewar kings during the war period. It has a great significance for the people, being the birthplace of Mewar’s legendary king Maharana Pratap. Once you climb up the fort, it gives you the panoramic views of the surroundings and the ruins inside the forts. The fort houses Jain Temples, baoris, chhattris, water reservoirs, Badal Mahal, Kumbha Palace, and Brahmanical in the fort premises. .
Ranakpur Jain Temple is one of the highly recommended places in Udaipur. While returning back from the Kumbhalgarh fort, I decided to do a detour to explore one of the architectural wonders of India named Ranakpur Jain temple. Built in the 15th century by the Jain businessman Seth Dharna Sah with the help of the Maharaja Rana Kumbha, the Ranakpur Jain Temple is one of the most sacred and important pilgrimage sites for the Jains. It took 50 years to complete this magnificent structure. The very first look of the white marble architecture was breathtaking. The exquisite details, marble carvings and the spectacular craftsmanship will amaze you once you step inside. Whether it is the high ceilings, lofty pillars, miniature sculptures on the pillars and the intricate carvings, it makes a beholder dazed in awe.
It is astounding to know that the Ranakpur Jain temple is believed to have 1,444 pillars and not a single pillar is similarly carved. You can spend hours admiring those minute carvings on those pillars. More than anything, I loved the heavily carved and designed high ceilings of the temple. Once you look up, you will be lost in the immense sea of creativity and skillfulness of those sculptures. The Ranakpur Jain Temple is a sheer example of architectural brilliance. The distance between Kumbhalgarh Fort and Ranakpur Jain temple is 60 km. It is easily doable if you are visiting Kumbhalgarh fort on a day trip from Udaipur.
If you are a Shopaholic and love buying local handicrafts, souvenirs, dress materials, silver jewellery, Mojadis or jutis, bandhani print outfits, etc., you must visit Hathipol market in the city. This is one of the prominent markets for all kinds of shopping. You will be amazed to find a variety of things in this market. If you are good at bargaining, you can actually get things at amuch cheaper price. I got a bandhani dupatta for myself. The market is closed on Sundays.
Day 3: Three Days Perfect Udaipur Itinerary
- Badi Lake
- Vintage and Classic Car Museum
- Saheliyon ki Badi
- Bagore Ki Haveli
- Gangaur Ghat
- Monsoon Palace
- Ambrai Ghat
On the third day, I started the day quite early. Since I wanted to explore the Badi Lake (Read more about Badi Lake) early in the morning, I left the hotel by 7 am. It was followed by the other attractions like Vintage and Classic Car Museum, Saheliyon ki Badi,Bagore Ki Haveli, Gangaur Ghat,Monsoon Palace and ended at Ambrai ghat.
If something excited me more than anything in Udaipur, it was Badi Lake. The best part of the lake is that it has still not come under the tourist’s radar. Located 12 km away from the main city, the Badi Lake is still not explored by many. I reached the lake quite early in the morning since my hotel was located in close proximity. For the best views, one has to trek up to the Bahubali hills. The aerial view of the crocodile hump look alike rising hills in the middle of the lake gives the most spectacular scenery around.
The best part of the location is that the terrain is covered with wild tall cactus trees. Built by Maharana Raj Singh I (1652-1680) to eliminate the devastating effects of a famine, the lake was the source of water during the drought. He named the lake as Jiyan Sagar after his mother Jana Devi. This is one of the biggest fresh water lakes in India.You can visit the lake throughout the year. But, the monsoon is arguably the best time to see the spectacular beauty of the lake.
Vintage and Classic Car Museum
Another top attraction in the city is the Vintage and Classic Car Museum. If you are into vintage cars, a visit to this museum is worth your time. It gives you a few glimpses of the royal lifestyle of the Mewar dynasty back then. Your eyes will pop up seeing a great collection of vintage and classic cars, used by the royalties of past and present. The Vintage Car Museum was initially a Mewar State Motor Garage, which belongs of HRH Group.
The museum was inaugurated on 15th February 2000 where Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, founder of National Motor Museum England was present as a Chief Guest. The museum also houses a shell petrol pump which is still in working condition. All the cars are in working condition and also used in the vintage car rally. The collection includes a Buick (1946), a pair of Cadillacs (1938/39), a Ford A (1930), a M.G. TC (1946), a Morris Minor 100 (Traveller) (1959), and a Vauxhall 12 (Deluxe) (1947).
Saheliyon ki Badi
This is one of the top places to visit in Udaipur. The Saheliyon ki Badi means “the garden of maids”. It is said that Maharana Sangram Singh built this garden and gifted to his queen. According to the legends, the queen was accompanied by 48 maids in her marriage. These Royal women used to come to this garden to relax, away from the political chaos. I personally did not find anything great about this place. But if you like gardens, fountains, lotus pond, etc., you might like this place.
Bagore Ki Haveli
Bagore Ki Haveli used to be the residence of the Prime minister of Mewar kingdom and is now converted into a museum. Built by Amar Chand Badwa in the 18th century, it is a must visit place in Udaipur. Located on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat, Bagore Ki Haveli is famous for its puppet dance show in the evening.
The Haveli houses a huge collection of puppets and the largest turban in the world, along with a lot of artefacts like jewelry, utensils paintings, etc., from the bygone era. The museum also has weapons and wedding sections. The Haveli houses three chowks namely Kuan Chowk, Neem Chowk and Tulsi Chowk. If you enjoy traditional Rajasthan dance and songs, and also puppet show, you must attend the famous Dharohar Dance Show which starts around 7 pm in the evening at the beautiful courtyard called the Neem Chowk.
The view of Lake Pichola from the Gangaur Ghat is simply stunning. Sitting at the Ghat in the evening, seeing the old city passing by and the calming effect of the water makes it worth spending your time at the Ghat. This is one of the main ghats of the city. The lanes are narrow around the ghat, so it is advisable to explore the area on two wheeler or by walking. It has that old world charm and I loved wading through those tiny alleyways. The Gangaur Ghat houses a lot of traditional houses along with the Lake Pichola. One of the famous landmarks around this area is the Bagore ki Haveli. You will also meet folk singers at the ghat who sing soulful Rajasthani songs on request. You are encouraged to pay whatever you feel like. You must visit the Gangaur Ghat during the famous festival of Mewar called the Gangaur Festival.
If you want to enjoy the best sunset and the aerial view of Udaipur city, a visit to Monsoon Palace is mandatory. This place was highly recommended for its breathtaking views. So on the last day, I decided to see the Monsoon Palace, located on the hilltop. It is a palatial residence. Maharaja Sajjan Singh used to stay at the palace during the monsoon to enjoy the stunning views of the city and the monsoon clouds. The sunset view from the palace is absolutely breathtaking. The palace is known as Sajjangarh Palace.
I spent around an hour at the palace, exploring the lawn and the terrace. It also houses a restaurant in the palace premises. Though, the palace needs some serious restoration. Sitting on the terrace, watching the sun leaving the sky, painting it orange with its sharp strokes make such gorgeous scenery. If you are looking to spend a perfect evening, admiring nature and its surroundings in the rugged landscape of Udaipur, the Monsoon Palace is a perfect choice.
Apart from Badi Lake, if I have to choose one more place in Udaipur where I would like to spend time, I would go for the famous Ambrai Ghat. You must visit Ambrai Ghat after sunset. With the shimmering City Palace dazzling in golden colors, the reflections of the same in the Lake Pichola, the astounding white Taj Lake Palace in the middle of the lake and the dancing cold breeze, I could spend the entire evening, sitting there and admiring the breathtaking views of the surroundings. It is surreal out there. Wading through the narrow alleyways, when you reach the Ambrai Ghat and sit there, it just relaxes your body, soul and mind. I loved this ghat so much that I visited twice in the same day. If you are a photographer, capturing the serene beauty of the ghat along with the towering palace and the surroundings is nothing less than a visual treat. You can also enjoy watching people taking a boat ride on the lake. The sunset view from Ambrai ghat is something else. It is mesmerizing. This place is one of the most preferred hangout places for the younger generation in the city. Ambrai Ghat is also most loved place in the city of lakes.
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