Udaipur, often described as – City of Lakes, Venice of India, Kashmir of Rajasthan, the most romantic destination. The land of Maharana Pratap was the capital of Mewar and was founded by Rana Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap.
With its palaces, gardens, temples and lakes, it is a splendid location which lures many tourists every year. A three day holiday was sufficient to experience the history of Mewar, shop and cover exciting sites.
City palace is rich blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture with an accumulation of magnificent palaces, impressive havelis and luxury hotels on the bank of Lake Pichola. We passed through numerous rooms, verandahs and courtyard to experience the greatness of this palace, which includes Amar Villas, Darbar Hall, Mor Chowk, Zenana Mahal and Krishna villa.
All the rooms were nicely decorated with mirrors, tiles, original paintings, painted glasses and diverse collection of artifacts. Nothing could be more attractive than Mor Chowk with peacocks, beautifully created with glass pieces adorning the walls. From upper terrace of this edifice, one can have a majestic and panoramic view of Udaipur and the famous Lake Pichola.
The largest and the most beautiful lake of Udaipur. It houses the Lake Palace and Jag Mandir and boating on this lake during evening is an experience that should not be missed. This is the place to go for exquisite views of the setting sun, and also to witness the glimmering evening lights at the City Palace.
The story of Moti Magri is heart-breaking. It is said that Panna dai, mother of Moti, sacrificed her own son by placing him in place of Prince Udai Singh II to protect him from getting killed. An impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap on his favorite horse Chetak, stands at the top of Moti Magri overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake. The administration also conducts light and sound show which is worth watching.
Saheliyon Ki Baari
Away from the city noise, this place is loved for its elegance and is the favorite spot in Udaipur for hanging out. It is a garden of maids of honor which brings the unique life style of royal ladies. Our last stop of the day was Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal. It’s a traditional art museum promoting the rich collection of puppets, dolls, masks, folk dresses, and ornaments. This place is admired for its exciting cultural performances. They also conduct puppet show in its auditorium.
Exhausted after a day spent in the sun, we went back to the hotel to rest and ventured out again next day.
Breakfast with a stunning view of the lake in the morning, parrots chirping and the dust still low enough to see the monsoon palace high on the hill. We drove 1 hour towards Haldighati. The pride of Rajsamand District, “Haldighati” is a mountain pass in the Aravalli range located 44 kms from Udaipur. The Haldighati museum piques our interest into the history of the great warrior Maharana Pratap through an animated film.
It is the highest fort in Rajasthan built by Rana Kumbha to protect his family against the invading Mughals. The fort houses many temples inside the complex. The fort also boasts about the continuous wall that stretches for 36 kilometers. It’s the longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. It was a heck of a climb to reach the top of the fort but the moment we reached there we realized that the pain endured didn’t go in vain.
Jain temple at Ranakpur
Located in the village of Ranakpur near Sadri town in Pali district of Rajasthan, this temple lies at a distance of 95 kilometers in the north of Udaipur city. There are over 1000 pillars and no two pillars have the same carvings on them. The architecture of the temple is fabulous and unmatched. There are about 155 stone pillars, but it is said that one can never count the exact number of pillars, no matter how many times you count. We did not even tried counting as we couldn’t stop admiring the awesome carvings on the pillars, walls and ceiling. The evening Arti is a unique experience but we couldn’t attend it due paucity of time.
Bagore Ki Haveli
It is an ancient haveli, converted into a museum right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangaur Ghat in Udaipur. The upper courtyard makes a spendid atmosphere to enjoy the mesmerizing “Dharohar” performances of Rajasthani folk dance and puppet show. Out of all the dances, Terah taali and Bhavai dance were spell binding. The ticket price is very less compared to the skills presented by the artists during their performances. It is a must visit place in Udaipur. It was an evening well spent and we thoroughly enjoyed.
Formally known as Sajjan Garh Palace, this was a hilltop palatial residence of the royals in Udaipur. The building is nice but quite dilapidated. Perched on the Aravalis, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, it provides a panoramic view of the city of Udaipur. One can see all three lakes (Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola and Udai Sagar Lake) from the palace. It is said that the Maharaja Sajjan singh built the palace to get a view of his ancestral home of Chittorgarh. The palace is now promoted as a good sun set view point.
Centre’s Shilpgram- the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex, is situated 3 kms west to the famous Fateh Sagar Lake in Udaipur near the Havala village. At the entrance you will find traditional Rajasthani dancers welcoming you. Mud huts with thatched roofs make out the splendid village scene. Camel rides are available to make the experience more authentic. From pottery, to indigenous toys to fabric to local handicrafts, name it and it’s all available here. The products are well-priced but of course one needs to bargain!! It’s a place where you get to see the cultures of 4 states i.e. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra.
We spent the evening of the last day of our visit by tasting the local Rajasthani cuisine. The restaurants like Natraj and Ambrai are worth a mention due to their finger licking food and exceptional ambiance.
So, although Udaipur is a small city, but its historical and cultural heritage definitely makes it worth exploring. The prices are genuine and not too hard on pocket.