With its stunning lake view, its magnificent temples, its Havelis and palaces turned into museums or hotels and Rajasthan’s largest palace, it made Udaipur to one of our favorite places in Rajasthan. The stunning view of Lake Pichola is what really got us hooked. It made such an impression on us when we stepped onto the terrace of our hotel! We simply held our breath. But there is a lot more to Udaipur…
- Lake Pichola – Boat Ride Into The Sunset
To discover and appreciate Udaipur’s real beauty, you need to move out onto the lake on a boat. Only the view from the water does justice to the huge palace with its innumerable copulas, towers and balconies and the light-brown Havelis gracing its shores. In former days, those Havelis were the residences of nobles and wealthy merchants. Now some are restored and trendy hotels, others crumbling and equally fascinating.
- Good Morning At The Cable Car
Karni Mata Temple is reached after a 360 meter long ascent in a cable car and is the place to be in the morning. It offers a completely different view on Udaipur, especially the City Palace, Rajasthan’s largest. We were the only foreign tourists there!
- Sunset At The Monsoon Palace
It is right across the valley from Karni Mata Temple, perched on a hill overlooking the city of Udaipur. This palace was the favored place of the Maharana & his family during the monsoon. The palace itself is nothing special, but the views of Udaipur and its surroundings at sunset are spectacular.
- City Palace – Rajasthan’s Largest Palace
This palace is a maze of narrow stairways that lead to rooms with amazing wall decorations and shady courtyards. The downturn? We have never seen that many groups in one place in Rajasthan, except maybe the Taj Mahal, but here it is all concentrated in a small area…
- Jagdish Temple
The vital point in Lal Ghat is Jagdish Temple: no matter where you walk, you always return to the steep stairs leading up to the temple grounds. Outside is chaos, traffic fighting its way, beggars, ladies selling flower garlands, and worshippers parking their motorbikes in the midst of this mad house. Once we stepped inside, it turned meditative, but not quiet. Ladies were sitting in a circle singing, taking their turn dancing. The few men present were providing the music by playing the drums.
- Saheliyon Ki Bari Garden
The “Garden of Maids” was were the queen and here closest servants escaped to from the heat. With its lush green lawns and marble fountains, even today it is a great place to flee from the bustle of Lal Ghat and enjoy a quiet and relaxing moment.
- Bagore-Ki Haveli
At the end of the 18th Century, Prime Minister of Mewar had this grand residence built. Later this Haveli with its 134 rooms, courtyards and terraces was converted into a museum. A great one, especially the puppet gallery is beautiful!
- India’s Great Wall – Kumbalgarh
The huge fortress of Kumbalgarh rests on a hilltop, 1.100 meters above sea level. Most remarkable indeed, but what makes it truly stand out among so many other stunning forts in Rajasthan is its 36 kilometer long wall. Absolutely unique! The walls of Kumbalgarh don’t just encircle the fort. No, the walls extend far into the hills. Very much like the Great Wall of China… Unfortunately, Kumbalgarh is no longer the well-kept secret we experienced it back in 2013. Back then an Indian family and a couple of foreign tourists crossed our path, but otherwise our only companions in this maze of a castle were some groups of monkeys. In 2015, we discovered that this place has become popular with Indian families. Consequently hotels pop-up like mushrooms in the surroundings. How long it will take until large tour groups arrive?
- Ranakpur – The Most Delicate Jain Temple
If you take the time to head out to Kumbalgarh, you should extend the loop to Ranakpur (or vice versa, of course!), a piece of magic carved from white marble. This Jain Temple exhibits the most delicate carvings, both on its walls and on its 1.444 (!) columns, each unique. Here in Ranakpur, unlike over-quiet Kumbhalgarh, the whole wide world was milling around…
- Driving Through Rural India
The two-hour drive from Udaipur to Kumbalgarh & Ranakpur (each way) on a windy road was very pleasant and scenic. What a change! A green, clean, airy rural India without the crowds and noise of cities big or small, embraced us. This area is so fertile that local farmers bring in two harvests, corn (after the monsoon) and wheat (after the winter).
- The Marble Pool Of Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel
One of the two luxury hotels inside the palace grounds – The decorous blue tiles gave the water the perfect color, and we did not want to be anywhere else. We know this sounds so very tacky. We did not even use the pool but simply dropped by for a luxurious breakfast. But being in this setting, embedded in a courtyard surrounded by bougainvillea in full bloom and shady trees and absolute tranquility is a little splurge one should indulge…
- Sunset Dinner At Jagat Niwas Palace’s Restaurant
Quite a few restaurants in Udaipur offer amazing views of Lake Pichola, but our first choice for a relaxing dinner on a rooftop terrace was Jagat Niwas Palace. Book ahead!