When one is in Rajasthan and is looking for a perfect destination to unwind, Udaipur, which is surrounded by Aravalli Ranges, seems to be a dream getaway for many. Not only the hills but the picturesque lakes, massive forts, marvellous palaces, lush green gardens, contribute to the beauty of the city. No doubt, Udaipur-also known as the city of lakes, is considered as one of the most romantic cities of the World. And once you land in Udaipur, it instantly reminds you of the City of Venice with the alluring lakes reflecting the hypnotising forts, palaces and never ending Aravalli hills stretched in all directions.
So, tired of my daily routine, I decided to plan a trip to the city of lakes to lighten up my nerves and awakenBEST TIME TO VISIT UDAIPUR
One cannot think of enjoying the landscape of Udaipur in summers because of the high temperature and scorching heat. So it is advisable to travel Udaipur during winters in the months from September to March since the climate remains fairly pleasant in this period and I adhered to it.
WHAT TO DO IN UDAIPUR
Udaipur is indeed Magical with its rich cultural heritage. It offers many options for people with different tastes and interests. Those who want to dig in the past can plan to explore the museums, forts and palaces. For those willing to spend time in the lap of nature, the serene gardens and shimmering lakes with breathtaking view of the hills is sure to cast a spell that will haunt you for the days to come. Various sacred and artistic temples in the city grab the attention of the people who are spiritually inclined. The tempting delicacies sold along the roadside stalls, the ancient shops luring with beautifully carved artefacts, handicrafts, pottery, block prints and tie n dyes is a must visit for food lovers and shopping freaks like me. As for me, the most perfect refreshment was to sit by the lake, and gaze at the beauty of the earth all around because I find it boundlessly healing.
The city can be explored by Auto Rickshaws, Cabs, Buses or one can even go cycling around the colourful streets and maybe even opt to walk down to nearby attractions, like I did.
WHAT TO SEE IN UDAIPUR
There are plenty of beautiful lakes surrounded by the Aravallis in Udaipur and a boat ride in the evening with such a picture perfect backdrop is sure to leave a tranquilizing effect even on the sore and lonely souls.
I made a point to spend some quality time at the oldest, largest and most beautiful Lake Pichola- located in the centre of the city. Jaisamand Lake and Fateh Sagar Lakes are breathtakingly beautiful artificial lakes while Udai Sagar Lake and Rajsamand Lake are also considered as strikingly famous lakes of the city. There are other smaller lakes too such as Jiyan Sagar, Doodh Talai and Swaroop Sagar which were built to deal with the problem of water in the bygone ages.
Udaipur has lush green gardens which is again a real retreat in Rajasthan. I went to Gulab Bagh, one of the largest gardens, and found it full of beautiful and rare variety of roses. There is a beautiful island in Fateh Sagar Lake and well maintained Nehru Park which soothes all your five senses. Saheliyo ki Bari (Garden of Maids) is one of the most popular and beautiful gardens in Udaipur built specially for the royal women back then. My next destination was Rock Garden and Moti Magri Park famous for its beautiful view of sun setting behind the Aravalli hills and the golden reflection of which is seen in the Fateh Sagar Lake.
Many tourists from across the globe are attracted towards the lavish palaces and monuments known for their beautiful architecture, so how could I miss on that.
I visited Lake Palace first, which is situated in the middle of the beautiful Pichola Lake and is considered as one of the most romantic spots on this planet. It provides a lovely view of the hills and majestic palaces on its sides.
Next was City Palace which is the most visited architectural marvels, resting on the banks of Lake Pichola. There is a museum inside the palace with a huge collection of armours. The entry of the museum is through Ganesh Deori which means the door of Lord Ganesha.
Then I went to Jag Mandir Palace made of yellow sandstone and marble, situated on an island in the south of Lake Pichola. These magical palaces of Udaipur truly exhibit the rich taste of Royalty.
Situated at the top of Pearl Hill and overlooking Fateh Sagar lake is the monument of Maharana Pratap Memorial which is famous for its life size statue of Maharana Pratap Singh is worth visiting and should not be missed.
FORTS IN UDAIPUR
Once you enter the premises of the fort, you are bound to be attracted to the regal walls of the opulent architecture with brilliant work inside as well as outside. The aura simply takes you back to the glorious history of the Mewars. I am talking about ancient structures of
Chittorgarh Fort and Kumbhalgarh Fort which are 112kms and 64 kms from udaipur respectively. The walls of Kumbhalgarh fort runs over 38 km, and is considered to second-largest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. Kumbhalgarh Fort has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These prominent forts are worth watching for their spectacular location and dominant structure.
Shilpgram Fair (Craftmen’s Village)
Shilpgram Crafts Fair is famous for its handicrafts, artwork and culture of different states of India and is held once in a year. It is also famous for the beautiful terracotta work and wood carved show pieces and furnitures. I added some very beautiful paintings, show pieces and jewellery to my collection.
Collection of Vintage Cars
The collection of luxurious vintage cars of the Royals of Udaipur which are more than 80 years old is displayed in the courtyard of Garden Hotel. Classic Cars like convertible Cadillac, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Rare Chevrolet and Mercedes models, Morais, Austin, Limousines etc., adorn the museum and are up and running. I still am in awe of these royal and antique machines.
PLACES TO VISIT AROUND UDAIPUR
Haldighati is another important destination 40 kms from Udaipur famous for the Battle of Haldighati. There are various temples worth visiting like Nathdwara Temple, Ranakpur Temple, which were easily covered in a day from Udaipur.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary was interesting and will definitely give you a high if you are adventurous and a jungle safari lover like me.
WHERE TO STAY IN UDAIPUR
Although Udaipur has many options to choose from but my personal recommendation is to opt for the alluring heritage hotels with five star facilities, at beautiful locations, serving different cuisines and traditional Rajasthani food in a proficient and skilfull manner. Their professional and personalised services and the way they treat their customers will make you feel Royal in every sense. Almost all of the rooms of the luxurious palaces that have now been converted into heritage hotels offer spectacular views of calm and tranquil lakes, lush green gardens and the Aravalli Ranges. And when you peep out of the window to this awesome view you can feel that Love is in the Air and Love is everywhere around.
HOW TO REACH UDAIPUR
One can easily reach Udaipur from the all the capital cities of India since it is very well connected by rail, road and air.
Udaipur Railway station is well connected with almost all the cities in India. The frequency of the trains makes your journey hassle free.
The Maharana Pratap airport in Udaipur is very well equipped and provides quality air services to major cities of India on a regular basis.
There are AC and Deluxe buses provided by Rajasthan Roadways which makes commuting economical and convenient. The excellent network of roads between the cities makes the journey quite relaxed and comfortable.
I chose to travel by road and enjoy the breathtaking view all along the route. I shall always cherish the unforgettable time spent in the romantic city of Udaipur.
Memories Treasured forever!