Travel Tales from Udaipur: Legends of Floating Lakes

Udaipur, the historic capital of the former state of Mewar and also referred as the “Venice of East”. It is among the most romantic and scenic cities of India. Udaipur is situated on the banks of Lake Pichola. It is one of the most popular tourist destination among foreign travellers due to its historic background and scenic beauty.

Lake Pichola, Udaipur

After cancelling our trip thrice in a year, we (me and my 2 besties) finally made it to Udaipur in our Christmas holidays. We took an early morning flight from delhi and within 1 and half hour we reached Udaipur airport. Airport is 40 km away from Udaipur city and you will easily get a prepaid taxi from the airport.

Once you enter the city, you will realize that how beautifully the city is situated on the bank of the main lake, Lake Pichola. Almost all the buildings looks like a small Haveli, in fact the architecture of all the hotels are also very similar to Haveli and the city has still maintained its heritage and historic charm so well that no wonder the place is so attractive among foreign travellers.

There are more foreign tourists than Indian, in every street, in every corner, every restaurant and every hotel. They are to be seen everywhere.

We tried booking our hotel as close to lake as possible but we couldn’t get a room with lake view. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our stay in our hotel as it had a great terrace restaurant with an awesome view of the lake, especially sunset. You can sit there for hours and can watch the sun go down casting beautiful oranges across the sky. You will forget all the stress and hustle bustle of your regular life and will get lost in the calmness of this small city. It was a spectacular view!!

View from our Hotel in Udaipur

Next day woke up to a picturesque morning. You open your eyes and all you can see is the serene and blue lake, I can guarantee that you will marvel at the beauty of this place with every sip of your tea. You would just want to live in the moment. We didn’t wanted to move but after enjoying our breakfast at our open terrace restaurant we decided to head out.

On our first day only we planned to go for shopping. We are not shopaholics but we wanted to buy some traditional and famous stuff from here, so we straight away went to Bapu Baazar. This place is famous for bandhni suits, dupattas and sarees. As you stroll through the market, you will see the colourful suits in display on both the sides. It looks lovely to see so many colours. After enjoying and finishing our shopping we went back to the Lake Pichola side and started exploring the place by foot.

Shpiing in Udaipur

The whole city has narrow alleys, full of antique and painting shops, so it’s best to explore it by foot. If you are an art lover and want to buy some antique items or jewellery, then this is the place, but you need to be a good negotiator.

After strolling down the narrow lanes, we came back to our hotel and started looking out for good place to have dinner. We wanted some open terrace restaurant to have to good view of twinkling city. The city is so beautifully lit and you can enjoy your meal in this perfect view with some folk songs in the background. You can just sit there for hours without even feeling tired. It’s truly mesmerizing!!

Next day we planned to do some sightseeing of famous places. Morning we took auto for Fateh Sagar. Fateh Sagar is an artificial lake but very quiet and peaceful place. The lake is pear-shaped and bordered by hills. There is small island which has a park inside called “Nehru Park” but we avoided going there and choose to enjoy the walk on the winding road on the lake side.

Every lake in Udaipur looks so blue and picturesque. You can take a long walk or can hire a bicycle as per your own convenience and take a good look of this place. We always prefer to roam randomly and its fun sometimes, you never know, you might end up in place where not many people go, unexplored and untouched. It’s a good fun I can bet. After strolling along the lake side for a while, we got back to our hotel and got ready to see city palace and Jag Mandir, two of the most popular tourist attractions in Udaipur.

City Palace Udaipur

City palace is very famous for its style, a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. City palace is one of Rajasthan’s largest palaces, a collections of several buildings with towers, balconies and cupolas built all over, the City Palace also houses a crystal gallery, which showcases the royal artifacts and the world’s largest private collection of crystal. They also organise a sound and light show every evening to showcase the history of Mewar. We didn’t spend too much time here as it is always very packed.

We quickly had a look and moved towards our next halt which was Jag Mandir. You will get a boat from City palace for Jag Mandir and it will give you half hour ride of the Lake Pichola and you get to see a beautiful ethereal view of ghats, City palace, Lake Palace and the city surrounded with Aravali hills from the middle of the lake. Everything looks enthralling from the middle of the pristine blue lake.

After this small ride, we reached Jag Mandir which is situated in the middle of the lake, famous for royal events, film shooting and celebrity weddings. It’s a small heritage place, surrounded with garden and a restaurant which gives you a nice view of City palace. There is nothing much to do, you can just sit and enjoy the serenity. After finishing sightseeing we got back to our hotel and went straight to our terrace restaurant.

Morning in Udaipur

We took a perfect place and spent rest of the evening with some chilled beer and delicious food. Don’t forget to eat lal maas (mutton dish) and tawa maas (mutton dish) in Udaipur. This place is famous for mutton delicacies and also famous poha which you can get easily in any street corner.

There are many other sightseeing places in Udaipur such as Sahelion ki bari, Bagore ki haveli, Shilpgram and some famous museums but we skipped as we never go travelling with an agenda to see all the places. It was more of a relaxing trip, like just sit and enjoy the beautiful lake view or watch a sun go down.

Overall it was a great experience to see one of the most popular historic cities of Rajasthan. The beauty, authenticity and serenity of this place, random walk in the narrow alleys of the city, spending time by the lake side, watching spectaculer sunsets and beautifully lit city like they celebrate a festival of light every night, is definitely going to stay in our hearts forever. It’s truly one of the most romantic city of India as you can feel it in the air as well surrounding!!

P.S: Beware of the auto drivers, they charged more than double as auto is the only conveyance if you don’t have your own vehicle. We had a very bad experience and we had no other option then to pay as this one auto guy was ready to leave us in the middle of the road. So better check and then board. And also prefer to shop on your own, instead of going through a tour guide. They will charge you lot of extra money and also don’t pay it shopkeepers and the people (craftsman, painters or artists) who actually put all the efforts.

Travel Tips for Udaipur Trip Planning:

  1. How to reach: Udaipur can be reached from any major cities of India by road, train and plane. It is well connected. The Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Maharaja Express and The Indian Maharaja, some of the famous luxurious trains of India, also make a halt in Udaipur.
  2. Accommodation: There are range of accommodations as per the requirement of the traveller, price ranging from thousand to lakhs. From backpackers hotels to luxury lake palace by Taj. Udaipur is famous for luxury and heritage hotels, especially among foreign travellers but you can easily find budgeted hotels around the station as well as near Lake Pichola.
  3. Entry tickets of the monuments: The City palace is open from 9:00 AM to 5:30 in the evening for the visitors and entry fees is 250 for adults (Above 18 years) and 100 for a child (5 to 18 years); and from 7 p.m to 8 p.m for sound and light show with separate entry fees. The entry fees for camera and museums like crystal gallery, vintage car collections are also paid separately. A boat for half hour from City palace for Jag Mandir costs around 400. You can hire a charter boat as well for a sunset ride. Almost all monuments has an entry fees.

Weather: We went around Christmas and weather was expected to be cold but it was other way round. Evenings were pleasant and night little cold but day time was quite hot. You can carry few warm cloths but don’t forget to carry some light cloths as weather can be unexpected and you will end up with no choice, just like us.

Soecial Note:

This post has been contributed my my sister who loves to pen down her though, photos and travel experiences in her own idiosyncratic way. Watch this space to catch up with more of her travel stories.

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