Udaipur is located in the south of the province of Rajasthan and is known as the city of 100 lakes, the Venice of the East or the most “romantic place on the subcontinent” according to the British James Tod.
Founded on the shores of Lake Pichola by Maharaja Udai Singh II, from whom it takes its name, this city continues to exude elegance and class, typical of a past of Maharajas and princesses.
What to see in Udaipur?
- The first thing that struck me when I arrived is the tranquillity that was breathed compared to other cities that I had visited until then (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Agra …).
- The second thing I thought… OMG the lake water is not brown !!! Now you will be thinking: «But what does this crazy woman say? How is the water not brown ??? ». Yes, most rivers, streams, lakes, swamps (the sea I did not see but it scares me) in which I was in India had the water more brown than chocolate, so as to give you a dip come on!
- The third thing: this city is cool.
Once settled in your hostel, hotel, shed or palace of the Maharaja … What can you do in Udaipur?
Udaipur City Palace
The city palace is an architectural complex that Louis XIV already wanted for him; Composed of 4 palaces, it is the largest in all of Rajasthan.
The palace can be accessed through two entrances, at the north end through the Badi Pol gate or through the Sheetla Mata gate to the south. The most common is to access through the north door where the 8 arches are observed, which commemorate the 8 times that the Maharajas distributed their weight in gold and silver to the population. I crossed my fingers several times to see if such an event took place a ninth time but na, no luck :-).
Pichola Lake Palace: Taj Lake Palace
The Lake Palace was built on Jagniwas Island some 250 years ago as a summer residence for the prince, Jagat Singh II.
Today it houses the luxurious Taj Lake Palace hotel and can only be enjoyed by people staying at the Hotel.
If you have indulged yourself and have been lucky enough to visit it, first, I am dying of envy and second, tell me about it !!!.
Lake cruise to Jagmandir Island
Next to the City Palace, you can take a boat that takes a walk around the lake with a stop on Jagmandir Island. The island is home to the Jagmandir Palace that was built in 1620 by Maharaja Karan Singh. Currently, part of the palace has been converted into a Hotel (these Indians do not waste time) and a restaurant. They leave you half an hour to see if you lose the rooms with a coffee / Coca Cola and again to the boat back to the jetty. The visit is good to have another view of the City Palace and take good photos of the sunset.
Dance and puppets at Bagore Ki Haveli
Yes, it is a recommendation from the Lonely Planet and yes, you will be surrounded by tourists. Even so, it is worth going to this spectacular Haveli and enjoying the typical dances of Rajasthan.
The show lasts 1 hour and the Rajasthani dances alternate with the traditional tales of princes and princesses told with puppets. (Here once again they will nail you twice for the entrance that an Indian tourist … take it with humour and live reggae) .
Lunch or dinner in Ambrai
Ambrai Restaurant is the typical restaurant with impressive views of Lake Pichola and the Hotel Lake Palace. When you combine views with restoration we all know the result: an expensive place full of tourists.
However, I recommend it, you are not going to try the best Indian food nor the best Indian price the sunset views are spectacular. Better to call to reserve if you want to impress the relative with a lakeside table.
Where to sleep in Udaipur?
Heritage Hotels: HAVELI
One of the joys of visiting India, especially when touring Rajasthan, is staying in one of its suggestive Havelis, hotel establishments in buildings that are historical heritage.
I usually travel as a backpacker on a more or less tight budget but once in a while, you have to treat yourself… and in Udaipur, it was clear wherefrom the good comments on TripAdvisor: the Madri Haveli.
On their website they tell us a little about their history:
«Madri Haveli has a history of more than 300 years. Haveli is the term used to designate, in India, those private mansions with historical and architectural significance. The word is derived from the Persian word hawli meaning “a closed place.” In the Rajasthan region, Havelis were status symbols for the Marwaris, as well as dwellings for their extended families that provided security and comfort. They usually contain a courtyard with a fountain in the center and two to three stories high.
Madri Haveli originally belonged to Maharana Swaroop Singh Ji and was passed down from son to son throughout the years.
In July 2006 César Chuffart and Monish Paliwal became the new owners of the Haveli and dedicated 6 years to its renovation to make it the beauty it is today.
The price is around € 45 for a double room with breakfast included. Breakfast is served on the upper terrace of the Haveli from which there are magnificent views of Udaipur.
- Mind you, something you can NEVER miss if you travel for free is travel insurance. Yes, I have also travelled in the past insane thinking that nothing would ever happen to me but … “it happens to those who walk.” This is like vaccines, please take insurance, the one that angers you the most but always carries one. If you book it from here, you have a 5% discount for being a reader of this blog.
- Flights: Book flights to Delhi before they get on!flights to Delhi
- Accommodation: Take a look at the hotels in Udaipur.