Udaipur casts its spell and everyone gets mesmerized by it! It wouldn’t be incorrect if we label Udaipur as one of the most romantic places in India. Proffering a perfect mélange of culture, history and traditions, the gorgeous city makes for the perfect honeymoon destination, cultural centre and face of Rajasthan. I believe what gives Udaipur its pretty face is the brilliant architecture and the Mewars should be given the credit for it. These wise rulers literally created an oasis amid the desert, thanks to their love for leisure and passion for creation. There is so much that one can see in Udaipur and most of these attractions have been built and created by the Maharanas.
The true reflection of the grandeur of Rajasthan, City Palace is amongst the top places to visit in Udaipur. It is conglomeration of several buildings and towers and is better recognized as a Palace Complex. Belonging to the royal Mewar family, City Palace, Udaipur has a number of features that greatly attract tourist. Needless to say that the architecture is exquisite; there are a few structures that leave the visitor awestruck. The crystal gallery, the vintage car museum, Daawat-e-Aam, Daawat-e-Khas, Maharani Palace and the view of the city and Lake Pichola are the major attractions of City Palace. Visitors also like to stay up late for the Mewar Light and Sound Show that is organized every evening here. City Palace is the identity of the city, and it indeed adds to the exoticism of Udaipur.
Just about everybody knows about the gorgeous Lake Pichola; it’s like another vital identity of Udaipur. It is a 4kms long man-made lake and is believed to be one of the most beautiful ones as well. Visitors to Udaipur cannot miss out on taking a boat ride on Lake Pichola which starts from Rameshwar Ghat in the City Palace. The lake has two famed islands namely Jag Niwas and Jagmandir. At Jagniwas Island one has the opportunity to witness another famous place in Udaipur – the Lake Palace (Now known as Taj Lake Palace), whereas on Jagmandir Island, one can visit the popular Jag Mandir, the palace.
Marvelously built on Lake Pichola, Lake Palace is one of the most visited places in Udaipur. Situated on Jagniwas Island it is now run by the Taj group and is popularly known as Taj Lake Palace. With the Aravalli Hills in the background, Lake Palace makes one of the most romantic places to stay in Rajasthan. Even if one cannot afford to stay here, one should definitely consider taking a heritage walk of this hotel. Built by Maharaja Jagat Singh II, the palace is an exemplary of exquisite architecture that comprises gilt moldings, fretwork screens and sculpted marbles. At Lake Palace, romance gets redefined!
A 17th century structure that stands gloriously amidst Lake Pichola on the Jagmandir Island, Jag Mandir is an excellent place to visit on Udaipur tour. Jagmandir is an impressive set of structures with the central building being called Jagmandir, which can be recognized by the marble-made elephants positioned outside. It is a three-storied structure and includes sections like Gul Mahal, an elegant façade, a Garden Courtyard and the Darikhana on its northern side, the Bara Patharon ka Mahal (palace of the 12 stones), the Zenana Mahal – a southern extension to the Gul Mahal and the Kunwar Pada ka Mahal. During the boat ride on Lake Pichola, a lot of tourists make sure that they visit this beautiful place.
Jagdish Temple is an Indo-Aryan Temple built by Maharana Jagat Singh. The temple is located near the Badi Pol entrance of the City Palace and one can easily find a way up to it through the elephant-flanked steps. The deity of Lord Vishnu in black stone (in the form of Jagganath) presides over this temple. There is also a brass image of Vishnu’s vehicle Garuda facing the statue of Lord Vishnu in the main shrine. There are many small shrines other than the main temple and are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Sun God, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva. A large number of devotees throng the temple, especially to watch the Aarti that takes place at every sunrise and sunset.
The charm of Udaipur is incomplete without Fateh Sagar Lake, which is situated in the north of Lake Pichola and is connected to it through a canal. It is also one of the major tourist attractions in Udaipur. Taking a boat ride on Lake Fatehsagar is indeed a must-do activity in the city if you are looking for some fun in the city. There are three islands in the lake out of which Nehru Park is the most famous. It is also an ideal place for family outing as it has a zoo.
‘The Garden of the Maidens’ as it literally means, Saheliyon ki Bari was constructed by Maharana Bhopal Singh. Situated in the northern part of the city, this exquisite place was built for the maids who accompanied the Princess to Udaipur (reckoned to be part of the dowry). Saheliyon kI Bari was one of those places where the maids could make merry, sing, dance and indulge in recreational activities. The garden is festooned with well-maintained fountains, kiosks, marble elephants and a delightful lotus pool. It is one delightful place that is a must visit in Udaipur!
It is a folk-art museum in Udaipur that is situated in the Chetak Circle. Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum is a perfect place for the history lovers as it displays a collection of Rajasthani culture. Offering an insight into the lifestyle of the royal era in Udaipur, the museum has a fine collection of dresses, tribal jewellery, turbans, dolls, masks, musical instruments, paintings and puppets, which are the highlight of the museum.
It is one of the most attractive places to see in Udaipur. Bagore ki Haveli is situated on the Gangaur Ghat (on Lake Pichola) and thus offers a splendid view of the lake. Known for its architectural splendor, the Haveli is a massive structure that now offers a peek inside the royal life of the Maharajas and the Maharanis. This grand structure has 100 rooms and each room has fine decoration with mirror work. One can also take a look at the jewellery boxes, dice-games, hukkas, pan boxes, nut crackers, hand fans, rose water sprinklers, copper vessels, paintings of Mewar, and beautiful peacocks, which surely are reminiscent of one glorious era. The evening dance and music show is also quite popular amongst the tourists here.
The royal cremation ground in Udaipur, Ahar is situated about 3kms away from the city. Like the palaces, the Mewar Kings have put effort to make the cremation area look resplendent as well. With 372 cenotaphs of the maharanas and queens of Mewar, Ahar is a spectacular place of snowy domes. Amongst all the cenotaphs, Maharana Sangram Singh’s cenotaph has been the most attractive and popular with the tourists. Ahar is one calm and quiet place and is thus visited by people who either love history or are in search of peace.
Located on the bank of Lake Pichola, Ambrai Ghat is a wonderful place for photographers. City Palace and Lake Palace overlook this beautiful ghat, which means one gets an exclusive view of the two palaces from here. Ambrai Ghat often remains crowded with a large number of local couples coming here in the evening as the place is quite romantic. Sunset is the best time to be here as one can click the most beautiful pictures at that time.
Located at a distance of about 9kms from the Old City of Udaipur, Monsoon Palace was once the favoured destination of the royal family during the monsoon season. The palace is perched upon a hill and from a distance looks like one of those castles from a fairy-tale. The palace is now famed for the sunset view. One can also visit the nearby Sajjangarh Wildlife sanctuary if you want to add to the fun of visiting the Monsoon Palace.
If you are someone who likes to learn about culture, Shilpgram in Udaipur is the right place for you! This Craftsmen’s Village is situated at a distance of 3kms from the main city. Shilpgram is a wonderful place to see the different traditions and culture of India as this government-owned complex showcases the rural life of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa. Other than buying the traditionally made items here, one can also enjoy horse and camel rides along with traditional dance and music.
It is a hilltop that has the famous Maharana Pratap Memorial. The hill overlooks Lake Fatehsagar and also has one of the earliest palaces in Mewar called Moti Mahal, where once Maharana Udai Singh lived. The delightful Japanese Rock Garden and the Pratap Smarak are the highlight of Moti Magri. The height of the hill allows tourists to click some of the best pictures of the city. A light and sound show is also organized in the evening here showcasing the thousand years of rule of Mewar.
Another peek at royalty can very well be taken at the Vintage Classic Cars Museum, which has a car collection of the Maharaja. Housed in the former state garage are 22 vehicles, which includes a seven-seat 1938 Cadillac; 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom, which was used in the famous James Bond movie, Octopussy; and the Cadillac convertible that once whisked Queen Elizabeth II to the airport in 1961. This museum is situated at a short distance of 1km from City Palace and is indeed one of the best sightseeing places in Udaipur.
Kumbhalgarh Fort is about two hours drive from Udaipur and is truly majestic! It was built by Rana Kumbha during the 15th century and so far it is considered the most important fort of the Mewar kingdom after Chittorgarh. It is believed that the legendary Mewar warrior Maharana Pratap was born here in the fort. Kumbhalgarh Fort is yet another tourist attraction in Udaipur that one must not miss out on. Along with the fort, one can also visit the famous Haldi Ghati where the great battle involving Maharana Pratap took place.
Eklingji Temple is one of the most famous temples of Rajasthan and is located at a distance of 22 km from Udaipur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built in 734 A.D. by Bappa Rawal. The architecture of the temple is worth praising; it is a double-storied temple that looks magnificent with its pyramidal style of roof and distinctly carved tower. Inside the main temple is a huge pillared hall or ‘mandap’ and on entering the hall one can see a silver image of Nandi. The temple also boasts of a four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) which is made out of black marble and is of the height of around 50 feet. The Shivlinga (The phallic form of Lord Shiva) is garlanded by a silver snake and is also the major attraction for devotees.
A popular tourist attraction, Mansapurna Karni Ropeway is enjoyed by almost everyone who visits Udaipur city. This cable car is installed between two mountains on the bank of Lake Pichola. Tourist admires the view from the Gondolas and clicks a lot of photographs as from here you can get the best view of Udaipur. Lake Pichola, Lake Fateh Sagar, City Palace complex, Sajjangarh Fort and the Aravali mountains on the other side of the lake can be seen from here clearly.
It is renowned as one of the largest artificial lakes in India and located at a distance of about 48 kms from Udaipur. Jaisamand Lake, which is also known as Dhebar Lake, was built in 1685 by Maharana Jai Singh. It sprawls across an area of 36sq km, which makes it quite massive. The dam on this lake is the major attraction as it is about 1202 feet in length, 116 feet in height and 70 feet in width at the bottom. Another attraction here is the Shiva Temple. The lake is a great place to sit by or to be with a loved one; it is also an ideal place to contemplate nature.
Situated on an island in the Fateh Sagar Lake, Solar Observatory of Udaipur is considered as the best solar observing site in India. It was designed as per the model of Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake in Southern California and was established by Dr. Arvind Bhatnagar. Favourably surrounded by water, it offers a great atmosphere for solar observations. The only way to reach the observatory is by taking a boat and that definitely enhances the fun and adventure here. If you are in Udaipur it is one place that you should pay a visit to!
Udaipur is full of surprises, so do not consider this list the gist of the city.. There is still much left that you can discover on your own in this gorgeous city BUT for that you have to visit this place. Make sure you book a hotel well in advance and try and pick the hotel that offers a view of the Lake Palace or the City Palace from the room, that way your stay will be more pleasant. There are also some great places near Udaipur like Ranakpur that one can visit; so make sure you research a bit more before travelling to Udaipur.
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