Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, is the crown jewel of the state of Rajasthan. It is surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli Hills in all directions, making this city as lovely as it is. This ‘Venice of the East’ has an abundance of natural beauty, mesmerising temples and breathtaking architecture which makes it a must-visit destination in India. A boat ride through the serene waters of Lake Pichola will be enough to prove to you why Udaipur is the pride of Rajasthan.
Located in a valley and surrounded by four lakes, Udaipur has natural offerings with a grandeur multiplied by human effort, to make it one of the most enchanting and memorable tourist destinations. It justifies all names ever offered to its charm from ‘Jewel of Mewar’ to ‘Venice of the East’. And though the entire city’s architecture is flattering, the Lake Palace hotel is something that offers the city a visual definition. The revered Nathdwara temple is about 60 km from Udaipur.
Places to Visit
Lake Pichola is an artificial lake located in the heart of Udaipur, Rajasthan. The oldest and one of the largest lakes of the city, the Lake Pichola observes lakhs of tourists because of its tranquillity and beauty. Flanked by lofty hills, heritage buildings and bathing ghats, it is a dream come true for peace and nature lovers. A visit to Lake Pichola is incomplete without a boat ride, especially in the dawn. During evenings, it seems the entire place has been dipped in gold as you can see the heritage buildings and the pristine water turning golden with the sun’s reflection. The enthralling views will take you to a different world of stillness and will also bring out your romantic side.
Built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha in 1362 AD, the Pichola lake is 3 miles in length, 2 miles in width and has a depth of 30 feet. Maharana Udai Singh, enchanted by the charm of the lake enlarged it and also constructed a dam on the shores of this lake. The lush green hills in the backdrop with many royal palaces along its banks is a cherry on the cake. The beautiful City Palace of Udaipur adorns the eastern banks while the Mohan Mandir is situated in the north-east corner. The renowned Lake Palace is perfectly perched in the middle, and there is the Jag Mandir on Jag Island.
Built on the banks of Lake Pichola, the City Palace in Udaipur is considered to be the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. The magnificent palace was built in the year 1559 by Maharana Uday Singh and served as the main seat of power, where the Maharanas lived and administered the kingdom from. Subsequently, the palace was made even more splendid by his successors, who added a number of structures to it. The Palace now has an assortment of Mahals, courtyards, pavilions, corridors, terraces, rooms and hanging gardens. There is a museum here as well that showcases some of the finest elements of Rajput arts and culture – from colourful paintings to the typical architecture found in Rajasthani palaces.
Nestled in the bosom of the Aravallis, the granite and marble edifice of the City Palace stands in contrast to its quaint natural surroundings. The intricate architecture of the regal palace is a subtle mix of medieval, European as well as Chinese influences and is embellished with numerous domes, arches and towers. The City Palace itself lies on a bed of lush green garden and is quite an imposing sight to behold. The regal beauty of this attraction has quite a few fans in the film industry as well, and several movies such as ‘Guide’ and ‘Octopussy’ have been shot here. A gentle amalgam of architectural genius and rich heritage, the City Palace of Udaipur is a wonderful trip down the pages of history.
Fateh Sagar Lake
Lying to the north-west of Udaipur, Fateh Sagar Lake is a sparkling lake which is one of the major tourist spots in the city. Surrounded by the Aravalli Hills, it is the second largest artificial lake in the city and is known for its scenic beauty. The atmosphere here is calm, and tourists are bound to find themselves enthralled by the blanket of tranquillity the place warms them up with. One can witness the circumference of the Fateh Sagar Lake by driving on the Moti Magri Road and get a fantastic view of the entire lake. Apart from enjoying a laid-back afternoon in the serene beauty of this destination, you can also try your hand at boating and a number of other water sports that are available here for the visitors.
The Fateh Sagar Lake is sprawled over an area of one square kilometre and is divided into three distinct islands. The largest of these is called the Nehru Park and houses a boat-shaped restaurant and a small zoo for kids. It also doubles as a famous picnic spot. The second island has a public park with water-jet fountains. The third island comprises the best solar observing site in all of Asia, the Udaipur Solar Observatory. Being one of the four lakes in the city, people often flock here to enjoy boating on the surreal blue waters and look at the scenic beauty. Its surreal beauty and quaint charms have made it one of the most popular weekend destinations and is a must visit for anyone touring the city.
Located just on the outskirts of the city of Udaipur, perched atop a hill, Sajjangarh Palace is a former royal residence belonging to the Mewar dynasty, who ruled over this place for centuries. The palatial complex is named after its patron, Maharana Sajjan Singh, who ordered its construction and had it erected in 1884. It was originally intended to be a nine-storeyed astronomical observatory to note and assess the arrival and patterns of monsoon clouds, which could be easily perceived from the palace because of its location at a strategic vantage point at one of the hilltops of Aravalli, called Bansdara Peak. For this reason, it has also earned the name Monsoon Palace. It would have also created employment opportunities for the subjects.
However, due to the premature death of Maharana Sajjan Singh, that did not turn into a reality. His successor Maharana Fateh Singh transformed it into a place of recreation. During his tenure and after that, the Monsoon Palace was primarily used as a hunting lodge for the royal family of Mewar and their guests. Staying true to the contemporary styles of that time, Sajjangarh Palace displays a fascinating Rajput architecture, complete with high towers, turrets, balconies and pillars. It even had the facilities to harvest rainwater in unique scientific techniques.
Eklingji Temple is one of the most popular temples of Rajasthan and is sited at a distance of 22 km to the north of Udaipur. Eklingji Temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva of the Hindu religion and its brilliant architecture drives several tourists here every year. This double-storied temple looks magnificent with its pyramidal style of roof and uniquely carved tower. The outer walls of the temple are stretched with steps that lower touching the serene waters.
Established in 734 A.D. by Bappa Rawal, Eklingji is purported to have been the ruling idol of Mewar rulers. On entering this hall, you would see a beautiful silver image of Nandi and inside the temple, there are two other images of Nandi carved in black stone and brass respectively. This temple is filled with an enthralling fragrance and is known for a striking four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) that is made out of black marble. Its height ranges around 50 feet and its four faces depict four forms of Lord Shiva. The Shivlinga garlanded by a silver snake is a major tourist attraction.
Vintage Car Museum
Located just a few kilometers away from the magnificent City Palace Vintage Car Museum is an awesome place for automobile and car lovers.
Moving away from the grand forts, castles and pristine lakes that Udaipur is so well known for, the Vintage Car Museum makes an interesting diversion. The museum is a collection of many vintage automobile models used by the Mewar dynasty of Udaipur. The Mewar dynasty happens to be one of the most opulent Rajput rulers, leading plush and luxurious lifestyles. Here at the Vintage Car Museum, you will get a tiny glimpse of it in the Rolls Royce and Mercedes models, which were previously custom-made and owned by the royal members of the Mewar family.
The premises of the museum was originally the Mewar State Motor Garage, or the Palace Garage, now under the HRH group owned by the current heir of the Mewar family, Rana Shri Arvind Singh Mewar. The museum was inaugurated by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, the founder of the National Motor Museum of England on February 15, 2000. Among the most popular displays of the Vintage Car Museum are the 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom which was used in the famous James Bond movie Octopussy and the Cadillac convertible that escorted Queen Elizabeth back to the airport in 1961. There are around 20 more antique pieces here that you can feast your eyes on if you are a motor lover, like four more Rolls Royces, one MG-TC Convertible, two Cadillacs, one Ford-A Convertible, one Vauxhall-12 and solar-powered rickshaws.
Spanning across an area of about 100 sq.km., Jaisamand Lake is the second largest artificial lake in the country after Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar. It is surrounded by the Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to a variety of rare animals and migratory birds. The summer palaces of Queens of Udaipur also form a beautiful backdrop. Situated in seamlessly beautiful surroundings, it is a place to rejoice. On its marble dam, there are six cenotaphs and a temple dedicated to Shiva at the centre. The temple is proof that the people of Mewar were conscious of their worship rituals. Locals know it by the name of Dhebar Lake as well.
The lake was constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 17th century, to be more precise in 1685, while he was building a dam across the Gomti river. The ‘Ocean of Victory’, as its name suggests, was inaugurated on June 2, 1691. It has three islands which are inhabited by the tribe of Bhil Minas. The two bigger islands are called Baba ka Magra and the small island is known as Piari. To its north, the lake has a palace with a courtyard and a pavilion of 12 pillars to its south. There is also a massive bund at the height of over 1200ft on the lake. The Jaisamand lake is clean, beautiful and a nature lover’s real paradise. Away from the turmoil of the city, this place of utmost peace is a must visit.
Jag Mandir Palace
Jag Mandir Palace (or ‘The Lake Garden Palace’), is a glorious palace located on the southern island of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The palace is three-storied and the structure is made out of marble and yellow sandstone. It would be a delight to see eight life-sized elephants carved out of pure white marble that seems to guard the palace. It was completed in the early years of the 17th century by Maharana Jagat Singh. The construction was started in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh and continued by Maharana Karan Singh where it served as a hiding place for Shah Jahan and was finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I.
On the trip to this palace, some of the most famous places to visit are Gul Mahal, where Shah Jahn lived with his family. This place is made in the style of Islamic architecture. A mosque was created here to serve the religious needs of Shah Jahan. Bara Patharon ka Mahal (made out of 12 slabs of marble), Kunwar Pada ka Mahal(palace meant for the enthroned prince), and the Zenana Mahal (chambers for the Royal ladies) are other must-visit pavilions. Jag Mandir Palace also has gardens embellished with roses, jasmine flowers, palm trees, frangipani trees, and bougainvillaea. The palace currently comprises a restaurant called ‘Darikhana’ that serves lip-smacking Rajasthani food. You can also check out the museum where the history of the place has been reserved.
Doodh Talai Musical Garden
Doodh Talai Musical garden is a rock and fountain garden which is a great place to enjoy the sunset and one can see the wide expanse of the city. Also, there is an Aerial tramway (cable car) connecting a garden of Doodh Talai and the Karni mata Temple.
Dedicated to the preserver of the universe, Lord Vishnu; the Jagdish Temple is a grand and majestic structure that stands in the City Palace Complex of the breathtaking city of Udaipur in Rajasthan. Jagdish Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, also known as Lord Laxmi Narayan and is reputed for being the most significant temple in the entire city of Udaipur. In fact, the gateway to this grand temple can be seen from the Bara Pol of the City Palace. Beautiful carvings, numerous appealing statues and an atmosphere of serenity make this place of worship an ideal choice for seekers of solace and faith.
The main shrine houses the striking four-armed statue of Lord Vishnu, which is carved out of a single piece of black stone. The main shrine of Lord Jagdish is centrally located, encircled by four smaller shrines. These shrines are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Sun God, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva respectively. The atmosphere inside the shrine is enveloped with utter calmness and serenity and is an experience that you definitely should not miss.
Must Try Food in Udaipur
1. Khamma Ghani Restaurant
2. Yummy Yoga
3. Kanak Dining Hall
4. Cafe Cook Hook
5. Cafe Grasswood
6. Being Fit Kitchen & Cafe
7. Yessar Restaurant
8. Syah Udaipur
9. Sunset View
How To Get Here
The Maharana Pratap Airport is nearly 24km from the main city. The city is connected by air with all major cities of India (3 – 4 daily flights from Delhi & Mumbai). There are many trains that stop at the Udaipur Railway Station as well. You can reach Udaipur by road (by bus, cab or car) too.
The Maharana Pratap airport, also known as the Dabok airport is situated at a distance of 24km from Udaipur. Cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur have flights scheduled every day from here, which makes the travel quite convenient.
Nearest Airport: Udaipur
The city lies midway between Delhi and Mumbai, at the intersection of NH 8, Golden quadrilateral, East west Corridor and NH 76. Road travellers can drive down to the city either from Ahmedabad through NH8 which takes approximately 5 hours or from Jaipur which is a 6-hour journey via the Golden quadrilateral. It’s also a 4-hour drive from Kota through the EW corridor.
There are two railway stations in Udaipur- Udaipur City railway station and Rana Pratap Nagar railway station, both well networked to most of the cities in India like Kolkata, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Agra, etc. Both the stations are located within a distance of 3km from the city centre.