Udaipur, aka the City of Lakes, is a princely city located in the bordering region of Rajasthan. It’s a historic city filled with cultural heritage, ancient palaces, and one of the most sophisticated lake cities in the world. The sheer beauty of the construction of the city earns the nickname “ The Venice of East”.
As a person who loves exploring the known and unknown, this city always allured me into its deep roots to the Rajputanas and Mughals, who ruled the land, before The British took over. The first thing I did was finalised a date, planned out things to do, and booked accommodation at one of the comfortable hotels. Read on to know more about the thighs that I and my gang had indulged in after reaching Udaipur.
Fateh Sagar Lake
Fateh Sagar Lake, spreading across 4km2 It is one of the largest water bodies created artificially. Reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh, it has a beautiful blue colour, with the backdrop of green mountains. It also hosts a variety of National and International events, with the World Music Festival hosted here in 2016. It’s still a freshwater source and replenishes the groundwater table. A must visit place here.
The trip to Udaipur will never be complete without a visit to the monsoon palace. Located atop a hill, it’s a white marble giant, overlooking Lake Pichola. The palace was originally built to track the monsoon clouds and as a hunting lodge. The grand hallways, pillars immaculately carved with detailed flora left a distinct impression on me. No wonder this palace was featured in the James Bond movie ‘octopussy’. At night time, illuminated rooms bounced off the lights in courtyards, as if it’s something straight out of a Disney movie.
The Gulab Bagh is the largest flower garden in Udaipur. Named after the rose flower, it is spread across 100 acres of land, while the Gulab Bagh zoo inside the premises houses some rare animals. When I got tired of moving around, the Saraswati library gave me a quiet place, filled with antiques and relics of the past, plus the collection of 32,000 books and scriptures will provide a small read if one desires it.
Any human culture is often defined by the art it leaves behind. The shilpgram, located about 3 km from the city of Udaipur serves as a museum of the tribal and folk of the people who once lived here. Traditional huts across the area display various household items made of clay, bamboo, terracotta. Depicting the early life of settlers, there are a number of artists, performers working with contemporary visionaries, keeping the tradition alive. Moreover, the arts and crafts Bazaar has souvenirs on sale.
Vintage and Classic Car Museum
For the automobile enthusiast, the Vintage and Car museum is a place they will feel at home. Managed by the HRH group, I was in awe, to see so many beautiful cars maintained in such pristine condition. As the city is famous for its rulers and maharajas, some of these vehicles were gifted as a token of gratitude. Porsche, Rolls Royce, Morris Garages, Ford are some of the automakers whose history and legacy is preserved here. Apart from these, there were some e-rickshaws, a solar-powered car representing the modern strides in the automobile industry.
Ahar Cenotaphs and Archaeological Museum
Taking a deeper look into the history of Udaipur, the Ahar town was once a cremation ground for the rulers of Mewar. Now, archaeologists and tourists visit the place to admire the 372 cenotaphs built more than 400 years old. I could not take off my eyes from the delicate yet robust art each of these was constructed with. There is a small holy pool, called Gangobhava, believed to be of great historical significance. The nearby Ahar archaeological museum has a number of antiques, made of copper and terracotta, with some of these dating over 3500 years.
Jag Mandir Palace
A palace on an island is what the Jag mandir palace can be described as. But, there is always more to see than what meets the eye. Built around the 15th century, its construction was led by Maharana Amar Singh, then passed on to Maharana Karan Singh. Legends say that Gul Mahal, one of the ancient parts of the Jag Mandir, had housed Mumtaz Mahal, with her two sons, when Emperor Shahjahan rebelled against his father, Jahangir. The three-storeyed structure includes the Gul Mahal, Jag Mandir, a garden Darikhana and Bara patharon ka mahal.
Cuisine of Udaipur
The one thing that separates and brings together the human race is its cuisine. Udaipur, with its selection of Rajput, Mughal foods, gave me a culture shock I did not expect but welcomed it wholeheartedly. Whether it was the sweet, sweet balushahi, the crumbly dal-bati churma or the fiery laal maas, I enjoyed every bit of it. Famous street foods like kachoris, mirchi vada filled my hungry stomach as I visited each of these places.
So, there it is. Not a comprehensive tour guide, just a rebuttal of the things I did and the places I visited while staying in Udaipur. If you are interested, don’t forget to plan your trip beforehand, check out some of the Udaipur hotels that fit your budget, and have a safe trip, to the city of lakes