The most romantic city in Rajasthan, Udaipur is also called ‘Venice of the East’. It boasts of three big lakes, two lake palaces and several mighty mansions and palaces. The city is built around Lake Pichola, and set amidst beautiful mountains on all sides. Very romantic and serene, Udaipur is a must-see if you plan to visit Rajasthan.
Udaipur is well-connected by air, rail and road. The local Dabok airport has daily flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Trains from many locations reach Udaipur. Also, it has well-maintained highway connectivity to Jaipur via Ajmer, to Chittorgarh, and Kota. We traveled on freeway NH-79- from Udaipur to Jaipur via Chittorgarh. The road is superb- perhaps one of the best in India- cemented, and has scarce traffic.
Udaipur, as goes for most of Rajasthan, is hot during summers. The best season to enjoy going there is, as obvious, winters, in the months of November till February. Most of the festivals and fairs also take place in that period, which adds to the itinerary, and enjoyment!
This city of lakes has all kinds of hotels- super-luxury 5-stars as well as cheaper 3-stars. Among the best ones here is Hotel Lake Palace, which is also the symbol of Udaipur. The magnificent Lake Palace stands inside Lake Pichola on an island, and has its own jetty for residents. Outstandingly beautiful, it offers lake view dining experience like no other can.
Hotel Oberoi Udaivilas, on the shores of Lake Pichola, gives genuine competition to Lake Palace. This masterpiece of domes, gardens and pools takes your breath away, almost instantaneously. The huge 30-acre complex gulped over Rs 3000 crore in construction costs, but offers unmatched luxury and comfort. The spa and four swimming pools deserve to be commended for their brilliance. The two in-house restaurants offer a serene ambience, and delicious food. Though it requires deep pockets to stay here, you’ll feel like a king here.
Moving on from luxury hotels to cheaper versions, the Trident Hotel gets a five on five. Much more affordable at Rs 7500 per night, the hotel offers lake view, swimming pool, spa, LCD TVs, well equipped Business centre, and hospitable staff. A very good option for group travelers and family vacationers, it gives you the best of both worlds- luxury and budget.
Though most hotels have restaurants, there are few very special places to dine in:-
Udaikothi, near Chandpol, is beautiful and famous for its on-the-terrace restaurant, next to the swimming pool. The food is delicious, the ambience; romantic, the lighting is dim; even the waiters seem intoxicated in the atmosphere. However, it may prove to be heavy for the pocket- dishes are costly, and size of breads is diminutive.
Jagat Niwas is the place to go for all you couples in love. We celebrated our Diwali night here, watching colorful skyrockets and relishing the food. The food is good and inexpensive too! The lake-facing balconies will have cool breeze brush against your face, and fill you with love and romance. More so, the whole atmosphere is calm and peaceful, and it fills you with strange kind of patience, somewhat missing in the metropolitans.
Another very popular food joint is Natraj Lodge in Bapu Bazaar. It has everything to offer in Gujarati food. Thalis cost Rs 55 (only!), the waiters are very attentive, and the food is worth a taste. You’ll love the food here and still be able to save on food expenses.
City Palace is the compulsory stop for all tourists. Built by Maharana Udai Singh and expanded upon by succeeding kings, it towers over the Pichola Lake. The main part of the palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. Down steps from the entrance, is the armory museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword. The very knowledgeable guide Kishan Das, who speaks Spanish, French and English as fluently as he speaks Hindi, guided us through the museum in supreme fashion. The Sun Chopar or Sun God gold emblem was a piece to watch, though now it hardly has any of the 24-karat gold it once stored.
Bagore ki Haveli stands on Ganghori Ghat and faces Lake Pichola. This Haveli (Haveli is a house built around a courtyard) was built by Amar Chand Bawa, the then Prime Minister of Mewar, in the eighteenth century. It houses a museum of traditional Rajasthani art and crafts, and organizes Rajasthani traditional dance and music shows in association with Dharohar- a dance group of national repute. Amazing hangout for people like me who adore this culture no limits, the evening folk dance show was sheer pleasure. Entry tickets at Rs 25, camera levy- Rs 90.
Udaipur is one city that no can never afford to miss while traveling Rajasthan. If you love a fun-filled atmosphere, and an escape from the metropolis madness is what you seek, Udaipur has it all for You.