Arriving in UdaipurUdaipur has good connectivity with other cities in Rajasthan by road and railway. You can also reach from Ahmedabad by road in around 4-5 hours.
We arrived in Udaipur at around noon and found the city to be welcoming and friendly. Truly speaking, in a new state, in a new city, with a different language, you are kind of lost. When we stepped down from the bus, we weren't sure where to go. A rickshaw driver offered us to take us to our hotel and we were apprehensive if he would take us where we wanted to go. But we could reach safely and our adventure started.
Where to Stay?
|Our room in The Little Garden guest house in Udaipur|
Apart from such small guest houses, there are innumerable hotels where you can find good accommodations. They also usually have their own restaurants which are good enough.
If you are planning to go in the peak tourist season, it is better to book hotels well in advance.
What to See in UdaipurThere's so much to see in Udaipur. Do not attempt to cover everything in a day. You need at least two days to see the various attractions in Udaipur. Here are some of the things that you can see:
- City Palace
- Lake Palace
- Jag Mandir
- Jagdish Temple
- Lake Pichola
- Lake Fateh Sagar
- Gulab Bagh and Zoo
- Karni Mata Mandir and Ropeway
History of UdaipurBefore I proceed to talk at length about the City Palace, it's better to know the history of Udaipur.
Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II as the capital of the Mewar kingdom. Udai Singh was the father of the famous Maharana Pratap. Maharana Pratap fought the Mughals and defeated them in the Battle of Haldighat. Maharana Udai Singh II built the City Palace and subsequent generations have added rooms and other structures to the palace.
Udaipur dynasty is one of the longest running dynasty in the country. The current king, Maharaja Arvind Singh Ji is 68 years old, and still stays in the newer wings of the palace.
City Palace, Udaipur
|Udaipur Palace as seen from Lake Pichola|
|Windows of the palace|
The palace has gateways or big entrances called Pol. As you enter into the palace from the Bara Pol, you enter the courtyard. The courtyard has numerous shops and kiosks lined up owned by craftsmen, miniature painters, cloth dealers, and antiques. The huge courtyard was a place to alight from and climb elephants, and view elephant fights. From this courtyard, you can get a beautiful view of the city of Udaipur.
From the Ganesh Deodhi you can enter the main palace. Here again is a courtyard that leads you up to the rooms of the kings and queens. It's here that you can enter the palace museum which contains a showcase of armoury, Sheesh Mahal, and Rang Mahal along with other rooms and attractions. There is a nice courtyard called the Mor Chowk that has peacocks depicting three seasons made out of coloured glass and fitted into jharokhas.
The museum starts with the display of armoury, takes you through the different private rooms of the Maharanas, and then through the Zenana Mahal, the dwellings of the queens. It is an interesting walk through the past and definitely enjoyable.
I would also recommend taking the audio tour of the whole palace. It gives a lot of information about the architecture, history, and use of the different rooms of the palace. The audio tours are made with full sound effects and transport you back in time.
|One of the hotels in Lake Pichola|
From the lake, if you take a boat ride, you can see the breathtaking view of the palace along with the shore line. Because those are heritage hotels, the prices even in the restaurant are exorbitant and it's better not to buy any food items there.
Once you come back to the shore, do make a point to enjoy the beautiful sunset on the lake. I have experienced one of the most beautiful sunset there. You'll certainly enjoy it.
|Sunset at Udaipur|
The timings of the palace are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Do make sure of checking the timings before you go.
Despite the money that you shell out, the palace is extremely beautiful and enjoyable.
Vintage Car Collection, Garden Court Restaurant
Again, the entrance fee to the car collection is Rs. 150 per head (no wonder!)
Around 15 cars can be seen in working conditions. The cars are attended by specialised mechanics who have a whole workshop set up there for each of the car. The cars are really beautiful if you are interested in vintage cars.
Other Attractions in UdaipurOther than this, you can visit the Bagore-ki-Haveli that stages a dance show every evening at 7 p.m. You can also visit the Karni Mata Mandir using the ropeway. Other places that you can visit are the Jagadish Temple, other lakes, Shilpgram depending on how much time you have.