UDAIPUR | Udaipur, known to some as the Venice of the East, is one of the most romantic cities in India. With magnificent palaces, temples, gardens and lakes, the city is steeped in history and culture, and is a must visit tourist destination if you are traveling through Northern India. We have visited Udaipur a number of times over the years, and have compiled a list of our favorite things to do in, and around the city.
Enjoy a scenic boat ride on Lake Picchola
Lake Picchola is a man made lake created over 600 years ago, which lies in the heart of Udaipur. Several islands, palaces, mountains and marble temples surround the lake, which is known for its clear blue waters and fantastic views. The heritage-listed Lake Palace, where James Bond’s Octopussy was filmed, sits in the middle of the lake, with its white walls glistening in the sunshine. We enjoyed a lovely mid-afternoon cruise over the lake, but sunset cruises are particular popular with tourists and run for about an hour.
Visit The City Palace
Built over a period of 400 years by the Mewar Dynasty, The City Palace is located on the eastern banks of Lake Picchola, and comprises of a complex of impressive gardens, courtyards and buildings. Upon entering the palace gates, we were immediately struck by the sheer scale of the complex, and the beauty of the architecture, which exquisitely combines Mughal and Rajasthani styles with Chinese and European influences. Our favorite part of the palace was the Peacock Square located in the inner palace because of its vibrant colours and its chequered flooring.
We highly recommend you hire a guide to show you around the palace because it is very easy to get lost in its narrow corridors, which were deliberately designed to confuse enemy combatants in surprise attacks.
Marvel at the intricate carvings of the Rankpur Jain Temples
Although the Ranakpur Jain temples are located about 95 kilometers away from Udaipur city, we highly recommend you include them in your itinerary, as they are truly spectacular. There are four Ranakpur temples, of which the Chaturmukha temple is the biggest and the most important temple to visit. Constructed wholly of marble, this temple is supported by 1444 ornate pillars, and is truly an architectural masterpiece.
No two pillars are alike, as the carvings on each pillar are unique in design. There is a sense of spirituality, tranquility and harmony within this temple that makes it very special. It is an easy and very picturesque drive to get to the Rankpur temples, and buses leave regularly from Udaipur city.
Visit the beautiful Saheliyon Ki Baari Garden
‘Saheliyon Ki Baari’ literally translates to ‘Garden of the Maidens’ and was laid for a group of forty-eight women who accompanied a princess to Udaipur after she married a Mewar prince. The garden is lush and green with many beautiful fountains, lakes and marble pavilions, and offers a cool respite from the dryness of Rajasthan. We thoroughly enjoyed the delightful lotus pool and marble elephants within the garden, and recommend it as a great place for a picnic.
Savour the flavours of Rajasthan’s most famous dish – Dal Baati Churma
Your experience of Rajasthan is incomplete if you haven’t tasted the flavours of Dal Baati Churma. This dish is made up of three parts:
- Baati, which is a flaky round wheat bread that is baked over firewood and then deep fried;
- Daal, which is made of yellow lentils, ghee and masala; and
- Churma, which is a sweet dessert made of sugar and jaggery
In order to eat this dish, you break a piece of the Baati off and dip it into the Daal and then into the Churma. Some people like to add mild garlic chutney and melted butter onto the Baati, however this is completely optional.