“The city of lakes”, Udaipur, famous for its scenic beauty and historical magnificence, boasts of its cultural and natural splendor. During the former “Rajputana Agency”, Udaipur was the capital of Mewar. The picturesque city with its charismatic Palaces, captivating temples, elegant gardens and tranquil lakes, Udaipur happens to be one of the major tourist attractions in Rajasthan. Also known as the “Venice of East”, the charm of the city is irresistible. The panoramic view of the lakes surrounded by seemingly distant mountains makes it an ideal honeymoon destination. Udaipur offers a plethora of tourist destinations, so here’s a list of 10 places to visit in Udaipur:
1. City Palace
Located on the banks of Lake Pichola, it is one of the major historical places of Udaipur- the City Palace. The palace, in the first look, creates an enthralling effect in our mind. This palace, built by Maharana Udai Singh, emblematizes the marvellous architectural grandeur and the art and culture of the Rajputana. An amalgamation of European, Medieval and Chinese architecture complemented by mesmerizing towers, balconies, domes, fountains, courtyards, gardens, terraces along with the intricate glass work can never fail to blow your mind. One of the most extraordinary and magnificent temples of the city, the Jagdish temple, is located near the palace. Parts of the palace are now converted into museums that boast of royal articles including weapons, coins, crystals, clothes, sculptures, paintings and more. One must sign up for the light and sound show that renders a colorful and exquisite history of Mewar. The palace opens at 9:30 am and closes at 5 pm. You can enjoy the light and sound show from 8 pm to 9 pm.
2. Fatehsagar Lake
A visit to the city of lakes is incomplete without a visit to the lakes, isn’t it? Originally built by Maharana Jai Singh, this serene lake was then reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh. The lake houses three islands – the island is the Nehru Park consisting of a lush garden, a boat-shaped restaurant and a zoo, where people often like to organize picnics with friends and family, the second island consists of a fascinating garden with bewitching water jet fountains and the third island is the Udaipur Solar Observatory. The hills surrounding the lake enhance the scenic beauty of the place and attract several tourists and locals throughout the year. The hypnotizing blue water must be taken advantage of by indulging in boating activities in the lake. Various boating options are available including speed boats and motor boats. The magic and charm of the lake are best experienced in the boat rides complimented by the cool breeze and panoramic view of the place. The boating charges are minimal, starting from 15 rupees. The speed boat charges are 200 rupees per person.
3. Lake Pichola
Lake Pichola is the oldest, an artificial freshwater lake in Udaipur. Enveloped by temples, palaces, hills, Lake Pichola offers a majestic retreat into the calm and placid nature. The lake is approximately 4 km in length and 3 km in width. The two prominent islands in the lake – The Jag Mandir and the Jag Niwas- are sure to mesmerize every visitor. The Heritage Lake Palace is situated in the Jag Niwas and the magnificent Jag Mandir palace is situated in the Jag Mandir Island. Lake Pichola, with its alluring view and undisturbed waters, is ideal for boating. One can witness the greenery surrounding the lake and the gorgeous city palace and hotels situated on the banks of the lake while enjoying a wonderful boat ride. It has a foreign touch to it, making the city look even more elegant. One can have a great panoramic view of the city palace from the lake.
4. Saheliyon ki Bari
Saheliyon ki Bari or “the garden of maids” is an exotic garden consisting of splendid lawns, enchanting fountains, cool and maintained walking lanes, lotus pools, attractive flowers and trees, and majestic marble architectures. Originally built by Maharaja Bhopal Singh for the maids of Mewar who accompanied the Princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry, this exotic and unique garden was meant to offer refreshment to the ladies, where they could participate in recreational activities. The rain fountains, kiosks, bird fountains, marble elephants and the lotus pool are the major attractions inside the garden. It is beautifully adorned with various trees and flowers and offers a visual retreat. It opens daily at 8 am and closes at 7 pm. A minimal amount of 5 rupees is to be paid to enter the garden. The extremely romantic setting often attracts filmmakers to shoot in this garden. The movies like Guide and Phool Baney Angarey were shot here.
5. Lake Palace
Situated on the Jag Niwas island on Lake Pichola is the renowned Lake Palace. Originally built as a royal summer palace, this Palace, with its intricate marble designs and iconic location, is now a luxury 5-star hotel in the name of The Taj Lake Palace. The majestic and shimmering hotel surrounded by composed and clear waters of the lake Pichola and enveloped by the distant hills is a major tourist attraction in Udaipur. Originally built by Maharaja Jagat Singh in 1734, the grandeur and aura of the place are irresistible. A number of films have been shot in this palace including the classic James Bond film, Octopussy. The ornate decoration and architecture of the palace are sure to leave you spellbound. It resembles a magical land, once witnessed from the banks of the lake. This place is particularly popular for lavish weddings.
6. Bagore ki Haveli
It is an ancient haveli situated on the banks of Lake Pichola, on the Gangori Ghat. This haveli, constructed in the 18th century offers a magical image of the life of ancient royal families by displaying their traditional costumes, paintings and glassworks and consists of over 100 rooms. The giant doors and windows, spacious rooms and corridors, the furniture used in those days as well as items of regular use like Jewellery boxes, hand fans, copper vessels, hookah and several other items are well preserved in the haveli in order to render a royal essence of the life of the former rulers and Rajputana. The Haveli stands as a reminiscence of a glorious past. One must not miss the cultural shows organized by the haveli, which includes brilliant folk dances and performances. The dancers perform a variety of enrapturing dance forms from Ghoomar to Gauri to Gorband. This cultural show called “Dharohar” takes place every evening from 7 pm to 8 pm but the haveli remains open from 10 am to 5:30 pm every day.
7. Moti Magri
Moti Magri is a memorial of the great Rajput warrior Maharana Pratap. It comprises of a stupendous statue of Maharana Pratap on his loyal horse Chetak. Overlooking the beautiful Fatehsagar Lake, this memorial situated on the top of Pearl hill is often visited by tourists and locals to pay gratitude and homage to the great warrior. The local shopkeepers and saints are always willing to narrate the story behind the statue and its historical significance. The place also offers a great view of the city from the top. You can listen to various stories related to the horse of Maharana Pratap when you visit this place.
A visit to any place is not complete and fulfilling if you don’t explore the tradition and culture of the place. Shilpgram is a craftsmen’s village in Udaipur that proudly displays the local art, handicrafts, and culture of Rajasthan. A number of interesting items like hand woven clothes, camel leather items, handicrafts, mirror work, embroidered cloths are available for sale here. This place brings out the rich cultural heritage of the city ensuring nothing other than admiration from the visitors. It is the center of the Shilpgram Mela held every year in November or December, and many more cultural fairs. The traditional huts display many beautiful handicrafts and a number of workshops are held here for people interested in learning about the local art of Rajasthan. It is a paradise for artists and also allows one to enjoy the traditional dance performances, music and camel rides. This is the best place to buy souvenirs for your friends or relatives. Many cultural festivals are organized here and one can proudly say that this place is sure to fascinate one with its extraordinary local color.
9. Jag Mandir
It is a majestic palace situated on the Jag Mandir Island in Lake Pichola. This palace used to serve as the summer resort for royal families of Mewar. The construction of this place was started by Maharana Amar Singh in 1551 and completed by Maharaja Jagat Singh in 1652. The brilliant marble architecture of this eye-catching palace justifies the time taken to build it. The architectural excellence in the marble elephants and the stunning structures in black and white marbles make it a popular tourist attraction. The Jag Mandir is symbolic of the Mughal-Rajput friendship in those days. The palace houses impressive sections like the Gul Mahal, Zenana Mahal, Darikhana, Garden Courtyard and more. The Bara Patharon ka Mahal, a palace made of twelve stones, is also present in Jag Mandir. The spectacular palace surrounded by the magnificent lake Pichola is a must visit in Udaipur, particularly for photographers and history enthusiasts.
10. Doodh Talai musical garden
The Doodh Talai musical garden is a rock and fountain garden situated near Lake Pichola. One can enjoy the picturesque view of Lake Pichola, Lake Palace, City Palace and Jag Mandir from the top of the garden. It is an ideal place to witness the sunset from, enjoying the glorifying beauty of the light that falls on the lake. The visiting hours are from 8 am to 10 pm. It is a very less crowded place as compared to the other tourist spots in Udaipur and therefore, is an ideal place to spend some quality time in peace. It also offers a delightful view of the Doodh Talai Lake. Moreover, an Aerial Tramway connects Doodh Talai to the Karni Mata temple, making it convenient for tourists to visit the temple as well.
Contributor: Medha Chakraborty