Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559 as the capital of Mewar region. In 1586, Mugal Emporer Akbar tried to invade Udaipur but being surrounded by the natural walls of Aravali hills it became difficult for the Mughals to travel to Udaipur with their huge army, horses and heavy armored forces so it remained safe.
Udaipur is 400 km southeast from Rajasthan’s capital- Jaipur. It’s set around a series of artificial lakes and is known as the “City of Lakes”. It is also known for its lavish royal residences and place to get married. Many renowned Hollywood and Bollywood stars have hired these palaces for their wedding functions!
Good to know
We visited Bhilwara (125 km from Udaipur) for a friend’s wedding and had a weekend to explore Udaipur post-wedding.
We booked our flights 4-5 months in advance. Mumbai Udaipur return was ~INR5000. Two days in Udaipur (Zostel INR 500, food INR 500, tuk-tuk 600, entry fees 300) cost us ~ 2000 per person
We visited in July because of the wedding. Best time to visit will any time of the year apart from summers which are from March to June. A minimum of 3-4 days are required to enjoy Udaipur without hurrying.
How to reach Udaipur?
By Air – Udaipur Airport is the nearest airport which is 22km from the city. You have tuk-tuks and cabs waiting outside the airports. You can take one of those, bargain as pe the prices you see in Ola / Uber. Or hire an Ola / Uber.
By Train – Udaipur City is the nearest railway station
Things to do in Udaipur
Constructed over a period of 40 decades, the City Palace is a majestic sight. The City Palace is built on the east bank of the famous Lake Pichola by King Uday Singh II. Perched on a hill, it is a beautiful example of both Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.
Entry fee: Adult- INR 300/-
Timings: 9:30 AM- 5:30 PM. Open Monday to Sunday.
Guide Cost: INR 300 (TOTALLY worth it)
All this decor is hand made and hand plastered by the workers.
These tiles were purchased from The Netherlands! Also, those circles are gold plated! These tiles constitute one entire wall of the massive palace!
This peacock is entirely made of glass pieces. The fine and minute lines in the feathers are ALSO GLASSES! Again, hand made!
Lake Pichola is the biggest lake here and makes for a gorgeous sight at any time of the day. It is easy to spot Lake Pichola from City Palace and numerous other parts of the old city.
A lake which contains four islands, viz. – Jag Mandir, Jag Niwas, Mohan Mandir, and Arsi Vilas. Taking a boat cruise around the freshwater lake during sunset is one of the most blissful and relaxing things to do in Udaipur
Entry fee: Adult- INR 300/- per hour, Children- INR 150/- per hour in the morning. Adult- INR 900/- per hour, Children- INR 300/- per hour in the after 4 PM. The rates are higher because of the jaw-dropping views of the hotels and lake in the evening.
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
Bird’s eye view of Lake Pichola from Mata Karni Temple Cable Ride.
Situated atop a hill, the Monsoon Palace is also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace. It overlooks the beautiful Fateh Sagar Lake. This palace was built in 1884 and offers one stunning view of the lakes in the city, other palaces, and the serene environs. The palace was earlier owned by the royal family of Mewar and opened to the public only after it came under the Forest Department of the Government of Rajasthan.
Another breathtaking lake beside Lake Pichola. It is in the city center and easily accessible.
Mata Karni Temple
There is a ropeway from top of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Park, which takes tourists to the Karni Mata temple. This ride is at a height of around 500 meters and runs over a fixed-grip mono cable. A 4-minute ride, gives a beautiful view of the city including Lake Pichola, magnificent City Palace complex, Sajjangarh Fort etc.
A cable ride is a must for gorgeous views of the city.
Badi Lake – Trek here!
You can trek here! Even I was astonished when I heard this. It is a doable trek for a beginner. So, not to fret! It is least crowded with tourists, so ensure you add this in your TO Do List.
It is another artificial freshwater lake in Udaipur. It was built by Maharana Raj Singh I in the village of Badi. It gives a view of a never-ending expanse providing a serene and calm atmosphere to the visitors.
DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE AT ANY COST!
Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. The construction of the palace was started in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh, continued by Maharana Karan Singh (1620–1628) and finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628–1652). Hence the name – Jag Mandir. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort.
Emporer Shah Jahan sought refuge in this place. Also, it is said that he drew inspiration from this palace for the Taj Mahal.
Sahelio ki bari
Saheliyon-ki-Bari or Garden of the Maidens is a garden. It has fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. It was built by Rana Sangram Singh for his royal ladies. The queen with her maids used to spend leisure time here. There is also a museum here.
Fateh Sagar Lake
The lake was first built in 1678 AD to the north of Lake Pichola. Amidst hills and forests lies this beautiful artificial lake. The arch pillars surrounding these lakes are extremely gorgeous!
Vintage Car Museum
This museum gives a golden chance to all car lovers to get a rare insight into the maintenance and upkeep of the cars of old or those which had appeared in our favorite movies and television shows.
Bagore Ki Haveli
This Haveli was built by Amarchand Badwa, one of the Prime Ministers of Mewar dynasty. This place hosts Rajasthani folk dance show which should be witnessed. It also houses a lot of puppets. Absorb the ethnicity of Rajasthan in this haveli!
Art Class at Jagdish temple
Madan teaches (near Jagdish temple) ethnic Rajasthani art and charges merely around INR 300 for an hour. Stop by if you want a different, non-cliche experience in Udaipur.
These tombs were made for the Kings of Mewar over 350 years ago. These Royal cenotaphs are in a state of disarray because barely any tourists visit the site.
Accommodation options in Udaipur
You have options ranging from an extremely affordable backpacker’s hostels to lavish Five-star hotels in Udaipur.
The hostel’s range begins as low as INR 300 for a night! Udaipur houses Rajasthan’s MOST EXPENSIVE hotel – Taj Lake Palace which can be seen from the City Palace. The most expensive rooms are around whooping ~INR 300,000!
We stayed in Zostel paying ~INR 600/- per night.
Distance from Zostel to major Attractions and things to do:-
● City Palace- 10Min,700m
● Jagdish temple- 8Min, 650m
● Sunset point/cable car- 31Min/2.5km
● Bagore ki haveli, 550m
● Fateh sagar lake- 1.5Km
● Saheliyo ki bari 3.5 km
● Vintage car collection at garden hotel
● Sajjangarh fort/monsoon palace- 13Km
● Shilpgram- 8km
● Badi lake 16 km
Other hostel options are:
Hostel Options: GoStop , Bunkyard, Moustache Hostel , Banjara Hostels , The Hostelcrawl. You can find more options on Hostel World.
Mid Range options: Mewar haveli, Hotel Swaroop Vilas, Hotel Aashiya Haveli, Fateh Niwas, etc.
Luxury Hotels: The Leela Palace, Taj Araval Resort and Spa, The Oberoi Udaivilas, Lake Pichola Hotel, etc.
Eateries in Udaipur
Udaipur has options ranging from street side to luxury even in food!
Street food – Kachori, Chaat, Dal Baati, Aloo Bada, Jalebi, Kulhad coffee etc. You can find these in most of the streets in Udaipur! We had delicious Kachoris in a small stall 200 meters from the City Palace.
Cafes- Oladar Village, Stories Less Told, Apple Delight Cafe, Z27, Jheel Ginger Coffee Bar, Chandani, Amrai, Mayur Rooftop Cafe etc
Dine-in Royalty – Sheesh Mahal, Charcoal by Carlsson, Myra, Aravalli, Aangan etc.
Do let me know if I have added Udaipur to your bucket list!
Got any more doubts? Drop them below in the comments and I’ll answer them right away!