‘Padharo Mhare Des’ is what you remember when it comes to Rajasthan. A state which is popular amongst Indian and international tourists alike. A state of tradition, kings, queens, palaces, camels, local artwork, desert and vibrant colors. This Diwali vacation, we decided to explore just one city of Rajasthan – Udaipur. Udaipur, as you know is called city of lakes or Venice of East. I am not going to cover a whole lot of details like packing and planning in this blog but will come straight to the point (or points). I am going to tell you all about the amazing things I did (or you can do) in Udaipur.
When in Udaipur do as royals do
While there are many places to stay at, when in Udaipur, living in a palace can be an unique experience. Even though these palaces are run by some recognized hotel chains, the grandeur is worth experiencing. We chose to stay at Fateh Prakash palace overlooking lake Pichola and it was a good choice for 3 main reasons –
- You get a free access to all city palace buildings and premises as a hotel guest. This let me explore the surrounding at odd hours and click as many pictures as I want without a single person in the frame. (Isn’t that an amazing feeling in a over populated country like ours?)
- You can imagine yourself as a king or a queen staying in the palace :).
- You can endlessly stare at lake Pichola from your room which has a nice sitting arrangement by the window.
Witness golden sunrises and sunsets
This is one thing you should not miss no matter where you are on this planet. Few locations in Udaipur were absolutely stunning for sunsets and sunrises.
- Lake Pichola – witness a golden sunset here. As I said, I was lucky to capture it against few old monuments at the city palace.
- Dudh Talai – Do not miss a sunrise here. It’s a small hike (takes up to 30 min from the base) to the top of Dudh Talai to Karni Mata temple. You get stunning views of Lake Pichola and sunrise from here.
- City palace premises – If you are an early riser, front side of the city palace offers a beautiful sunrise. I got few excellent shots from here. It being Diwali time, I could get a little more creative with my composition. For a traveler like me who goes by the saying ‘He vishwachi maze ghar’ (meaning – I call this universe – my home), a diya and lantern made of Sun was fairly appropriate I would say.
- Sajjangarh / Monsoon palace -The Monsoon Palace, also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, is a hilltop palatial residence, overlooking the Fateh Sagar lake It is named Sajjangarh after Maharana Sajjan Singh of the Mewar Dynasty. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built chiefly to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, appropriately, it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace
Explore local markets
There are many places for shopping in Udaipur. Every driver will have his own favorites. If you don’t really want to shop for anything (which I will heavily recommend) and just enjoy the bazar atmosphere while clicking some vibrant pictures, Hathipole is a great place to explore.
Get Heena done
Even though this is very common for Indians, as a tourists it’s a great experience to get Heena done from a local artists. While walking in the colorful aisles of Hathipole market, I saw a sign board for Heena designs. A cheerful lady named Asha greeted me at the shop and did a decent work while talking about many things regarding her culture, family and the lovely city.
Enjoy local food
No vacation is complete without tasting the local food. Leave all your diet plans aside – be it Divekar’s or Dixit’s and enjoy some amazingly tasty local delicacies. Here are few things you can do –
- Try some dal bati, churma at Krishna’s (its said to be number one in Udaipur. One thing I noticed that a lot of Maharashtrians visit this place for sure)
- Natraj thali at station road
- Pyaaz kachori (I got a recommendation for JMB, Gulabbagh road – but I ended up trying it for breakfast at one on the restaurants near city palace)
- Ambrai restaurant / Sunset restaurant by Lake Pichola – Try Laal Maas at Sunset restaurant.
- Kingly dinner at Jag Mandir palace clubbed with a Lake Pichola boat ride
- Shreekhand at Vasudeo (inside Suraj Pole)
- Ker Sangri at Gangaur restaurant, Chittorgarh
There are many places around Udaipur at a distance of 50 – 100KM. We chose to visit Chittorgarh. This place is a lot in discussion with the recent controversies regarding the movie ‘Padmavat’. Even though we know that the movie stories are flared up with all Bollywood masala, the stories shared by the local guide about Meerabai, Rani Padmavati, Johar and battles fought on / for this fort are way more interesting than any movie. All you need is a little bit of imagination. A local guide is must to make your trip worth it.
Visit key city attractions
Wondering why this is the last point in my list :)?? Probably because I have covered most of it if you will do #1 – #6. But just because this is a travel blog I will add this for the sake of completeness.
- City palace and crystal museum – hire a local guide or audio guide to enjoy the stories and let your imagination do the work.
- Lake Pichola – Sunset boat ride is recommended but doesn’t matter. It is just kind of a checklist thing and few mobile clicks with entire city palace view)
- Jag Mandir – very famous for destination weddings, film shooting etc etc.
- Fateh Sagar Lake – an evening walk around the lake and enjoy some not so local food here. (mostly like Mumbai chowpati – Pav Bhaji, Pakodas food stalls).
- Saheliyon ki badi – a beautiful garden with landscaped grounds, marble elephants and fountains.
- Gangaur Ghat – On the edge of Lake Pichola