The city of Udaipur in Rajasthan is one of the top places to visit in India. Udaipur is popularly known as the ‘City of Lakes’ and very often as the ‘Venice of the East’ for the numerous artificial lakes around the city. The city is the former capital of the Mewar Kingdom and was founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559. Udaipur is home to beautiful lakes, ancient Havelis, museums and the grandeur City Palace which are amongst the top places to visit in Udaipur.
How to Reach Udaipur
The main airport in Udaipur is the Maharana Pratap Airport which is a domestic airport connecting all the major Indian cities including Delhi, Jaipur, and Mumbai. The nearest international airport to Udaipur is in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Ahmedabad to Udaipur is about 5 hours drive. One can also travel to international airports in Delhi and Mumbai and then take a domestic flight from Mumbai or Delhi to Udaipur.
The city of Udaipur also has a very good network of railway connecting all the cities in Rajasthan and other Indian cities. The luxury trains ‘Palace on Wheels’ and ‘Royal Rajasthan’ also have a stop in Udaipur. There are two direct trains connecting Delhi the capital city with Udaipur. We suggested plan a road trip to explore the best of Rajasthan cities, in this way you will get to explore more places than the main tourist places in Rajasthan.
Getting Around in Udaipur
The historic center around the City Palace can be easily explored on foot. If you want to go to places outside the city center then you can hire an auto rickshaw or a taxi. The rates are not fixed and you need to haggle a bit, so make sure to check with locals on the rates to visit the places before hiring them.
Places to Visit in Udaipur
Udaipur City Palace
One of the top places to visit in Udaipur is the magnificent Udaipur City Palace. The 16th-century palace houses a museum on the rich cultural heritage and history of Mewars and two heritage hotels Fateh Prakash Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace. The interior of the palace is lavish rooms decorated with paintings, mirror work, and intricate carvings.
The tour of the palace takes you through the richly decorated gates, beautiful courtyards offering amazing views of the city of Udaipur, City Palace Museum which holds a collection of armories and weapons, sumptuous rooms and the silver gallery which displays a wonderful collection of silver items. The spectacular part of the tour is the Manak Mahal and the Mor Chowk which has some of the fascinating artwork in mosaic, mirror and colorful glass work. There is an amazing light and sound show in the main courtyard of the palace after dusk. Read about the highlights and things to do in the Udaipur City Palace.
Bagore Ki Haveli
The Indian state of Rajasthan has a rich heritage and culture and one of the best ways to experience the same is to see a cultural program. If you have visited Jaisalmer and stayed in a desert camp you must have seen the folk dance and the other musical performances. Similarly, in Udaipur, the Dharohar Dance Show that takes place in the Bagore Ki Haveli offers its spectacular colorful traditional dances and musical instruments performances and a puppet show.
Bagore Ki Haveli is an 18th-century traditional mansion with an interior decorated intricate carvings, arches, and colorful glass work. The dance performances are performed by Rajasthani women wearing colorful traditional dresses accompanied by live music. The Chari Dance where the women carry an ignited brass pot on their head all through the performance will leave you spellbound. And the final performance by an old lady who performed with 11 pots stacked one over the other was breathtaking. The performances are held in the evening. A visit to the Bagore ki haveli museum is recommended if you are looking to learn more about the bygone times of Royal Mewars. Book a ticket here.
If you are looking to shop some rare handicrafts, handloom clothing, wood carved items, hand-made decorative items and more you should head to Shilgram. There are sections with huts housing local craftsmen at work like weavers, potters demonstrating their skill. Each of these sections represents different regions of Rajasthan and even the craft culture of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa. You can buy handicrafts directly from these skilled artisans.
Shilpgram is a fair where you will also find numerous fun activities like camel ride and carousels. There also dramas, folk dance, and cultural performances organized for the spectators. Performers demonstrate their talents like rope-walking, juggling, balancing, and more to entertain the visitors. You can also treat your taste buds with some delicious local delicacies and desserts.
If you are planning to visit Udaipur during the month of December then make sure to visit the Shilpgram Festival held annually from 21 December to 31 December which offers a great opportunity for shoppers with unique and fascinating handicrafts from all across India.
Saheliyon Ki Bari
Saheliyon Ki Bari is a beautiful garden built by Rana Sangram Singh in the 18th-century for his wife. ‘Saheliyon ki Bari’ means ‘Garden of the Maidens’ as the name suggests the queen would visit the garden with her maidens and enjoyed playing in the numerous fountains adorning the garden.
The garden is decorated with colorful flower beds, numerous pavilions, numerous sculptures, huge marble statues of elephants and a lotus pool.
The most amazing feature of the garden is the fountains fed by the Fateh Sagar Lake. The fountains are operated by a network of pipelines underground and work on pressure technique. There is also a small museum in the garden premises which houses stuffed toys, paintings, and artworks.
Tip: A visit to the garden can be combined with a visit to the Fateh Sagar Lake and Shilpgram which are located close by.
There are numerous cenotaphs in Rajasthan which are monuments built in the memory of the dead. Ahar Cenotaphs are the cenotaphs of the royal rulers of Mewar located in a small town of Ahar couple of km from the city of Udaipur. The site contains over 350 cenotaphs of the maharajas of Mewar built over a period of 350 years. There are 19 cenotaphs commemorating the 19 kings who were cremated on this site.
The cenotaphs are made of marble are built on raised platforms. The architraves and the pillars supporting central domes have intricate carvings and elaborate ornamentations. The stone slab at the center of the cenotaphs shows a picture of the king with his ‘Satis’ (his wives, who immolated in his cremation flames). The two most stunning cenotaphs are of Maharana Amar Singh and King Sangram Singh with 56 pillars.
Ahar Archeological Museum
Another attraction to visit here is the Ahar Archeological Museum which houses numerous items, artifacts and relics found during excavation, some of which date back to the 10th century and even from earlier periods.
Best Things to do in Udaipur
Go on a Pichola Lake Boat Ride
One of the top things to do on your visit to the Udaipur City Palace is to go on a Pichola Lake Boat Ride. Pichola Lake is a freshwater lake created in the year 1362. A boat ride on the beautiful lake offers incredible panoramic views of the Udaipur City Palace and the four islands located on the Pichola Lake.
The 2 most famous are Jag Niwas where the Lake Palace, a Luxury heritage hotel is located and the 16th century Jag Mandir Palace which houses a museum, garden, and restaurant. The palace is decorated with intricate carvings and latticework in marble and its interior is adorned with murals making it a must visit Udaipur attraction. The garden and courtyard are decorated with sculptures and colorful flower bed is striking.
Shopping in Udaipur
One of the top places to go shopping in Udaipur is Shilgram where you will find a variety of handicrafts and handloom clothing. The city center of Udaipur also has numerous market with shops selling traditional Rajasthani dresses, textiles, handicrafts, jewelry, and other items.
If you are looking for unique souvenirs to take home from Udaipur you should look for miniature paintings and wood carved items which you will find these in Hathi Pol Bazaar near City Palace and in Bapu Bazaar. Printed sarees, textiles, and bedsheets are also very popular, the colors are organically prepared. Also, try some colorful traditional Rajasthani Juttis (shoes).
Stay in a Heritage Hotel
Udaipur is home to numerous traditional Havelis and mansions which have now been converted into heritage hotels. Staying in these heritage hotels in Udaipur is a unique experience. The interior of the hotels and rooms are decorated with arches, intricate carvings, colorful murals, glasswork, and lavish antique furnishings. Most of these heritage hotels have in-house restaurants which serve delicious Rajasthani cuisine.
During our visit to Udaipur, we stayed in Poonam Haveli close to the Udaipur City Palace. The spacious rooms and halls were decorated with murals. There is a courtyard with a garden and bougainvillea trees. The terrace of the hotel has a restaurant which served Rajasthani food and offered great views of the Pichola Lake, Lake Palace, and Jagmandir Palace.
Enjoy Sunset at Ambrai Ghat
Ambrai Ghat also known as the Manjhi Ghat is one of the popular ghats in Udaipur on the shores of the Lake Pichola. It is close to the Gangaur Ghat and is about 15 minutes walk from the Udaipur City Palace. Ambrai Ghat is popular for the sunset views over the Aravalli mountains. The promenade at the ghat has many benches where you can relax and take in the surrounding views, it is a popular hangout spot for the locals as well.
On the opposite shore of the Ambrai Ghat is the magnificent Udaipur City Palace which looks beautiful illuminated in golden lights after the sunset. And the reflection of the golden illumination in the calm Pichola Lake is captivating. The ghat also offers impressive views of the island palaces of Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Palace.
The Ambrai restaurant on the Ambrai Ghat serves multi-cuisine delicacies.
Plan Trips to Places Near Udaipur
Kumbhalgarh (~ 2 Hours 30 Minutes)
Kumbhalgarh is a Mewar fortress and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the magnificent forts in Rajasthan Kumbhalgarh dates back to the 15th century. The perimeter walls of the fort span 36 km making it one of the longest walls in the world, the fort also features 7 gates and over 300 temples.
Inside the fort is the double-storeyed Kumbha Palace built in remarkable Rajput style. The highest point of the fort is the Badal Mahal which is the birthplace of Maharana Pratap and can be reached by a steep hike. There is also a light and sounds show on the history of the fort after dusk.
Ranakpur (~ 2 Hours)
Ranakpur is a beautiful 15th-century Jain temple dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha. It is located on the way to the Kumbhalgarh Fort. The temple is made of white marble and is decorated with elaborate carvings on pillars, walls, and ceilings which reminds of the Jain temples in Jodhpur Fort and the Dilwara temples.
Chittorgarh (~ 2 Hours 30 Minutes)
Chittorgarh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest forts in India. The fort dates back to the 7th-century when it served as the capital of Mewar Kingdom. There are numerous historical palaces, temples, gates and water bodies in the fort premises.
Top places to visit in the fort are the Padmani Palace where Alauddin Khilji was allowed to see a glimpse of Padmini in a mirror which led to the battle between Alauddin Khilji and Rana Ratan Singh ( husband of Rani Padmini), the grandeur Rana Kumbha Palace and the Fateh Singh Palace museum. The 12th century seven storied Kirti Stambha and the 15th century 9-storied Vijay Stambha are two striking towers decorated with intricate carvings.
Best Time to Visit Udaipur
The best time to visit Udaipur is the winter months from November to March. During this time the weather is very pleasant but might be really cold at night so carry warm clothes. The Shilpagram festival is held in the month of December so you can plan to visit the same. One of the top Indian Diwali which is the festival of lights falls in the month of October or November when the entire city is lit up with lights is spectacular to behold.
Summer months from April to June are months to avoid when it gets very hot and humid. Rainy months July and August may be convenient to get around in the city though it does not rain heavily so plan accordingly.
Udaipur City Tours
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