Udaipur-the perfect itinerary
Udaipur, the city of lakes was the capital of the Mewar kingdom. It was once known as the most romantic spot in India, a claim popularised by Colonel James Todd of the East India Company in 1829. I don’t think it is the most romantic spot in the country, but its many ghats around the beautiful Lake Pichola, does have an incomparable charm to it.
You can spend a lot of time, exploring the ghats surrounding the lake, and each of its ghats have something different to offer. I spent a lot of time at a ghat that had a small yet beautiful temple on the side, a couple of local musicians, and street sellers.
1. Roam around the city taking in the architecture
There are some cities that you have to explore on foot, and Udaipur is one of them. Here the traffic rules make it impossible to see the Old town and its meandering streets if you are adamant you won’t walk. Since the old part of town has really narrow streets, four wheelers are not allowed past a certain point. I loved walking through the tiny bylines that extend into even smaller lanes, and others that open into the ghat with a magnificent view of the lake.
2. Eat at locals’ homes
Since Udaipur is one of the most visited cities in the country, there are many local women who have opened their homes & kitchen to public as a means of earning a supplemental income. If you want a home cooked meal, quite unlike anything that is on offer at the restaurants of the city, find a home kitchen to satiate your appetite.
I ate at the home of a lovely lady who has been serving travellers for over 10 years. Her food was different, and nice, but not the best I’ve had. But it is a place to meet other travellers, as it is family style seating ( at their dining table), so everyone who comes sits at the same table. She also encourages everyone to taste each others’ food, so it definitely is a different experience.
3. Take a cooking class
The lady I mentioned above takes cooking classes as well. Though if you are already familiar with Indian cooking it might be a little basic for you. The class is aimed at foreigners who know nothing about Indian cooking, but it might be a good experience to try if you have some time on your hands.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember her name, nor the name of her restaurant.
4. Relax at the ghats
The ghats are the best places to view the architecture of the city from, as the reflection of the buildings in the lake gives it another dimension according to me!
Also, it is the ideal place to watch life unfold- tourists being taken on cruise around the lake, locals washing their laundry, kids jumping in to the lake int he evenings, musicians and dancers putting on performances in the hopes of getting a little money from tourists, there is so much happening here, that it will be a shame to miss out on!
5. Go on a cruise along the lake
A sunset cruise along the lake Pichola is something you have to do here. The slow ride takes you around the serene lake, and is the best way to see all of the architecture surrounding the lake.
6. Visit the city palace
The city palace is a must visit when in Udaipur. It is beautiful with intricate carvings and mirror worked walls. It is very popular with tourists, so get here early if you don’t want to be exploring the palace with big crowds. The palace looks over Lake Pichola, and has a beautiful view of the Jag Mandir Palace from its upstairs windows.
7. Shop local- Hathi Pol Market
I loved shopping in Udaipur! It is so colourful, and has things that I couldn’t find in Jaipur or Jodhpur. The streets burst in colour with mirrorworked, vibrant jackets, that I absolutely loved! I ended up buying a dull green one, though the yellow and orange colours are what I loved. (reasoning being, the green I could actually wear, and the others were a little too bright for me to wear! )
8. Visit the Monsoon palace
The monsoon palace atop a hill gives grand views of the city and its lakes below. The palace itself is nothing spectacular to see-you are here just for the views. I was here during the day, as it is supposedly very crowded for sunset, but the sunset views are spectacular from here (I’ve seen pictures.) It is a long walk up the hill to the palace, but you can pay to be driven up and down by jeep at the entrance.
9. Saheliyon ki Bari Garden
This is NOT a must visit, it is on the list because I visited, so in case you have extra time on your hands like I did with nothing in particular to do, you can visit this garden. This is a garden which has fountains with marble elephants, and a lotus pond. It was built in 1734 as a relaxation space for the royal women. It is pretty, but you can definitely give it a miss if you are pressed for time, or you don’t want a busy schedule.
10. Jag Mandir Palace
Take a boat ride to the Jag Mandir Palace and get a tour of the beautiful property.
11. Ride the Ropeway to Karni Mata temple for sunset
The Karni Mata temple set atop a Machla Magra Hills is one of the best spots for sunset in the city. The view from the premises of the temple is of the entire city of Udaipur surrounded by all its lakes. There is nothing to beat this! You can choose to walk up the hundreds of stairs to get to the temple and viewpoint as well, but be lazy and just take the ropeway- which gives you a good view of the lake below too!
12. Eat at Ambrai
This was the best food I had in Udaipur, and what a view! The popular restaurant is on the banks of the Lake Pichola and grants views of the ghats and all of Udaipur!
Leave me a comment below to share your experiences of visiting or planning a trip to Udaipur!