Before proceeding i want to state that this is not a sponsored post. Everything is based on our honest opinion ! Enjoy!
Welcome to the city of lakes: Udaipur ! This year (March 2021) I finally got to fulfill one of my long awaited wishes by visiting Rajasthan. And top of my Rajasthan itinerary was travelling to Udaipur. Famous among international travellers as one of the most charming and romantic places of India, Udaipur certainly won my heart. It is colourful and chaotic, with a lot of bohemian charm. Seeing the arty vibes, the ghats and the slow pace of life, I could totally understand why Udaipur is such a hit among young travellers particularly the hippie crowd. In case you need more reasons, we give you 5 !
5 REASONS YOU HAVE TO VISIT UDAIPUR
- We loved the vibrant, colourful and arty atmosphere that makes the city bohemian and charming
- The most romantic experience we have ever had in India (keep reading to find out !)
- The most epic sunrise spot we saw in Rajasthan (a little known secret gem)
- Plenty of history and culture to keep you engrossed in your few days there.
- The perfect place for slow travel with lots of rest and relaxation.
BEST TIME TO VISIT UDAIPUR
The best time is November to Early March. The heat is definitely bearable during this season. Be ready for peak season crowds. Summer starts from late March and the intense heat will make sight seeing unpleasant.
HOW TO REACH UDAIPUR
Udaipur is situated in the southern part of Rajasthan. It is 400 kms from Jaipur and 650 kms from Delhi.
- By Flights : Available from both Delhi and Jaipur. Pro: Travel time only 1 hour. Con: The price (around Rs 3000-4000 per person).
- By road: Book a taxi for this road trip. Pro: There are some famous site seeing spots on the way from Jaipur to Udaipur. Con: Cost approx Rs 8000-10000 and travel time of almost 8-9 hours.
- By Train: book an overnight train from Jaipur to Udaipur. Pro: Save time as well as money. Con: Needs planning and booking tickets from atleast 1 month before.
- By Bus: public transport buses are available. Pro: Cheapest option out of all. Con: Long travel time, might be uncomfortable for families and senior citizens.
HOW MANY DAYS SHOULD YOU SPEND IN UDAIPUR ?
How many days in Udaipur should you spend? Well ideally i would suggest 3 days, that’s what we did at least. If you want to discover the city at a slow pace, with some much needed rest and relaxation along with the explorations, I will suggest 3 days. But if you don’t have much time and are looking for places to visit in Udaipur in 2 days, this list should be doable, though your days will be packed.
WHERE TO STAY IN UDAIPUR
For all first time visitors to Udaipur, it is best to stay near Pichola Lake in the old city. This is the heart of the city and the place where all major attractions are located. The old city is colourful and charming but also congested. There are plenty of budget and mid range hotels which offer wonderful service. The Pichola lake, Udaipur City palace and Jag mandir are all located nearby.
- The Sierra
MID RANGE OPTIONS:
- Lake Pichola Hotel: We stayed here for 3 nights and loved the place. A great wallet friendly option with Balcony rooms facing Lake Pichola with a beautiful sunrise view (check the last picture of this blog post).
- Jagat Niwas Palace
- Amritara Gogunda Palace
LUXURY OPTION: Nothing better than the iconic Taj lake Palace Hotel. If you can shell out the cash, look no further !.
Select your accomodation using BOOKING.COM our favourite site.
WHERE TO EAT IN UDAIPUR
Restaurant prices can be higher in Udaipur compared to other places as this is a highly popular tourist destination. One of the best foodie experiences has to be a rooftop dinner overlooking the lake. Do note that prior booking is highly recommended for dinner, especially if you want good seats. The old city has plenty of rooftop restaurants but I am gonna recommend the best two:
- Upre : This is the rooftop restaurant of Lake Pichola hotel where we stayed (pictured below). One of the best rated ones with a great view of the beautifully lit up city palace.
- Ambrai: Another top rated rooftop restaurant with beautiful views.There are also plenty of other places for you to indulge your taste buds. Some of the popular ones are:
- Rainbow Cafe
- Jheel Cafe
- Sun and Moon Cafe
- Nataraj Dining Hall
- Neelam restaurant
- Jagdish Mistana Bhandar
GETTING AROUND IN UDAIPUR
As I mentioned earlier, the old city is congested and it is best to walk through the little alleys. Plenty of tuk tuks are available that do a super human job manovering through those tricky lanes ! Currently, 4 wheelers have been banned in the old city to lessen the congestion.
For locations that are situated further away like Fateh Sagar lake and Bahubali hills, tuk tuks are again the best choice. Its best to use one driver for the duration of your stay. They are generally available within minutes of a call.
THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN UDAIPUR
1. UDAIPUR CITY PALACE
The best place to start your sightseeing and get a sense of the history is the Udaipur city palace. Out of all the palaces and forts we saw in Rajasthan, this was my absolute favourite. The large complex was constructed in the 15th century by Maharana Udai singh 2 and houses a number of palaces. A couple of them, Fateh Sagar and Shiv Niwas have been converted into heritage hotels and another is the home of the royal Mewar dynasty. There are a lot of beautiful rooms inside with plenty of insta famous spots. Some of my favourite parts here were:
- Badi Mahal or the Garden palace and Amar Vilas: situated on the 4th level with a beautiful inner courtyard having an elevated garden. This is the highest point in the palace. Take note of the corridors with beautiful pillars surrounding it: that’s a beautiful photography spot.
- Krishna Vilas: the walls are covered in beautiful miniature paintings and artwork depicting royal history and mythological stories.
- Mor Chowk or Peacock Square: the walls here are decorated with 3 peacocks representing the three seasons (summer, monsoon and winter). These peacocks have been crafted with coloured glass and incorporated into the niches of the jharokas/windows.
- Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of mirrors: Another stunning room decorated with glass pieces all over giving a dazzling effect.
- The Blue Room: Situated directly opposite and one floor above Mor Chowk, this room has become famous all over instagram thanks to its beautiful blue walls.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE UDAIPUR CITY PALACE
- HIRE A GUIDE: I recommend hiring a guide whenever you visit any historical place or monument. Not only will you get to know the history behind it, but also lots of tips for the palace and the city. Our guide gave us lots of helpful information about the things to do and see. Bonus: We got someone to take our pictures ! Official guide charges are Rs 300.
- TIMINGS: Opening hours for entry are 9am to 5 pm. For the museum, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Set aside time to explore the palace. We took 2.5-3 hours to see the entire complex in a relaxed way.
- ENTRY FEES: Rs 30/pp just for the entry. For entry to the actual palace complex and museums Rs 300/pp. Guide charges extra. Light and Sound show happens every night from 7-8 pm. Charges extra.
- BOAT FEES: Boats run hourly from the pier of the city palace to Jagmandir (Lake Gardens). Tickets cost Rs 400/pp till 3pm and Rs 800/pp after 3pm.
2. SUNSET BOATING ON LAKE PICHOLA
This was our favourite experience in Udaipur as we got to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen in India. If you have time for only one thing in Udaipur, make it this ! To make it even more special, book a private boat. It is will rank as a super romantic moment for sure. We hired a 30 min private boat ride and don’t have any regrets over the extra money shelled. The setting sun over the lake with the Aravalli hills in the background is truly a sight to behold. Most hotels can do the booking for you. The boat ride will take you past many of the iconic places like the Taj Lake Palace hotel, Jag mandir (Lake Gardens), Hotels Oberoi, Leela and Taj Fateh Sagar.
TIPS FOR THE BOAT RIDE
- TIME: Make sure to choose your time slot carefully that matches with the actual sunset instead of before or after. How to do that: Simply search in google for the sunset time. A time slot of 6-6:30 pm worked well for us during mid march. We got to see the sky turning a kaleidoscope of colours during golden hour (just before sunset) and then the actual sunset. During winter, sunset might be earlier.
- BOAT FEES: For group rides the cost is usually Rs 500/pp. Private boat rides especially during sunset will cost more, approx. Rs 2000-3000 depending on your negotiation skills.
- BUDGET OPTION: Government boats are also available from the ghats at much cheaper prices.
- GET DROPPED AT GANGAUR GHAT: To maximize your sightseeing time, get dropped at Gangaur ghat after 6.30pm and catch the Dharohar Folk show which starts at 7pm. (Deets on that coming up below)
- GET CLICKED BY THE BOATMAN: Most of them know how to take pictures at the best spots on the lake. So make sure to ask them to stop the boat for a few minutes and take your picture.
3. DHAROHAR FOLK DANCE SHOW
One of the best performances you will get to see in Rajasthan is the Dharohar folk show of Udaipur. A highly entertaining show full of various traditional Rajasthani folk dances like Ghoomar and puppet shows performing to live music. There is plenty of humour and the host did a great job keeping the audience involved. We loved this and highly recommend if you are in Udaipur.
- ENTRY FEES: Rs 100/pp and extra Rs 100 for photography and videography. Please pay the extra money. It makes me mad when people click pictures without buying a camera ticket.
- TIMINGS: 7-8 pm daily.
- LOCATION: Bagore ki haveli that is located just besides Gangaur ghat. The haveli itself is a museum that can be visited during the day time. Entry fees separate.
- Puppets are available for sale after the show.
4. AHAR CENOTAPHS
If you are looking for an extra dose of history, visit Ahar. This is a little known gem around 10-12 kms from the old city that is a treasure trove of forgotten monuments. The cenotaphs are basically the burial monuments of the long line of Udaipur’s rulers, locally known as Chattris. There are probably around 30 of them packed within a little space with no tourists. Only a lone caretaker who tried to shoo us away. No entry fees.
- It is best to visit either early at 6-7 am or during sunset. The place can get really hot in between.
- Please remove your shoes before climbing on any of the chattris. There are signs specifically mentioning this. Also remember that this is a memorial so show some respect.
- There’s an Ahar museum nearby 5 mins away for any interested travelers. Entry Rs 25/pp.
5. TAKE A CABLE CAR RIDE UPTO KARNI MATA TEMPLE
This your chance to enjoy a cable car ride if you haven’t already done so. Karni Mata temple is located atop a hill and the only way to visit is via cable car or hiking. The first ride begins at 9am. Ticket prices vary from Rs 150-500 depending on the one you choose. Again we choose a couple cabin that cost us around Rs 450 for 2. The views from above are great. The temple itself is a great place to catch a beautiful sunset.
6. WANDER THROUGH THE GHATS AND ALLEYS
One of the best things to do in Udaipur is to just walk around the old city, taking in the chaos, the colour and the craziness that defines it. The old city has a very bohemian vibe which you will feel once you explore the place by walking. The town square with Jagdish temple is a great spot to wander around and check out the little shops dotted with souvenirs. And while there, don’t forget to try out the famous Dal Kachoris of Jagdish eating house. Apart from the alleys, visit the various ghats. Gangaur ghat is the largest and one of the best places to observe the lake, while Ambrai ghat is the one with a great view of sunset.Apart from the alleys, visit the various ghats. Gangaur ghat is the largest and one of the best places to observe the lake. Ambrai ghat is the one with a great view of sunset.
7. BAHUBALI HILLS AND BADI LAKE
The find of this trip ! We had seen a couple of pictures online while planning but Bahubali hills isn’t really well known in the insta world. Good for us as we got to enjoy an epic sunrise without anyone to disturb us. Badi Lake turned out to be much more gorgeous than Lake Pichola and the surrounding scenery with the Aravalli hills was simply stunning. We had to wake up at an insane hour to catch the sunrise but it was absolutely worth it. This will rank amongst our best travel memories.
- LOCATION: Around 15-20 kms outside the old city. Take a tuk tuk or drive your car. Park and then a moderate hike of around 15 minutes to get that epic view.
- TIME: Best to arrive at 6-6.30 am. There will be no one and you can catch the sunrise and experience your moment in peace. We arrived at 6.30 and for half an hour, we were the only ones. Few local people start coming after 7am. (See the difference between the pair of pictures below)
BEWARE: The place is a hot spot for pre wedding photo shoots. So it starts getting crowded with couples and their photography entourage after 7.30am. I did have a lot of fun getting to see girls struggling to hike in their bridal finery and high heels before giving up and continuing barefoot.
- Do not forget to have some tea and maggi at the top. There’s a tiny stall that opens up after 7 and serves these.
- PICK UP YOUR TRASH: Be responsible.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN UDAIPUR
More sightseeing options if you still have time left:
- Sajjan Garh / Monsoon Palace: located on top of a hill, this is a good option for watching sunsets
- Saheliyon ki bari: Popular garden with fountains
- Fateh Sagar lake
- Doodh Talai: you can check this out on your way from Bahubali Hills
- Jag Mandir (Lake gardens): Houses a garden and a luxury restaurant. Can be visited only by boat ride from the city palace.
- Vintage Car Museum: at the city palace
- Hathi Pol Bazaar
- Shilpgram: a local handicrafts fair
- Neemach mata temple: hike to get a beautiful view
- Bharatiya Loka Kala Mandal: puppet shows
DAY TRIP OPTIONS FROM UDAIPUR
There a number of options to visit places near Udaipur. some of the best ones are:
- KUMBHALGARH FORT : One of the most important forts in India, its a world heritage site built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. The chief attraction here is the 38 km long perimeter that is second only to the great wall of China. Located 90 km away from Udaipur. timings 9am to 6 pm. A light and sound show takes place for a few minutes every evening.
- RANAKPUR JAIN TEMPLE (Pictured below): A beautiful temple with intricate details, this Jain temple of the Swetambara sect built in the 14th century is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha. We highly recommend a visit here. Located 90 km from Udaipur. Its convenient to make a stop here while you are on your way to Jodhpur. Timimgs: Entry for tourists begins after 12 noon.
- CHITTORGARH FORT: the largest fort in India, this Unesco heritage site was the early capital of the kingdom of Mewar. Today it is mostly in ruins but still worth a visit considering it’s historical importance. Located 120 km away from Udaipur. Timings 9am-6pm. Light and sound show takes place at 7pm.
- HALDIGHATI: Site of a very important battle between the kingdom of Mewar led by Maharana Pratap and the Mughal Army led by Man Singh in 1576, Haldighati holds a lot of historical importance. the name ‘Haldighati’ literally means Yellow soil of the valley. Located 40 km away from Udaipur.
- EKLINGJI TEMPLE: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple built in the 8th century is regarded as the personal temple of the royal family of Mewar. Located 20 km away.
TRAVELLING DURING THE PANDEMIC: THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- With the pandemic still present, it is highly important for you to take safe decisions. Look up the latest updated travel advisory and rules regarding testing and quarantine. Do not travel if:
- You have not been fully vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine. Protective immunity starts around a fortnight after receiving the second dose.
- You have children or senior citizens at home.
- You live in a shared space with others.
- There are high number of cases while you are planning your trip and local restrictions.
If you do not fall in any of the above categories and plan a trip when the time is better :
- Make sure to wear a mask at all times
- Practice social distancing as much as possible
- Sanitise your hands all the time
Just to make it clear: We travelled during mid March 2021, when the cases in India were pretty low and Rajasthan was very safe. We had received both the vaccine doses before our trip and we live alone.
I think i have covered pretty much everything in this travel guide on all the best places to visit in Udaipur for your future travel plans. Hope you find this blog post informative and helpful for planning your future trip. Comment below if you have any extra questions.
Happy planning !