Udaipur draws its name from its founder, Rana Udai Singh II. In the mid-16th century, he shifted his capital from Chittaurgarh to this place for better protection from enemies. The site was suggested and blessed by a hermit who ensured that the place will be safe from attacks. Later, in the early nineteenth century, it became the princely state of the British India.
Today, Udaipur is a loved tourist destination in India. It has everything that travelers seek for – natural beauty, rich heritage, delicious food and plenty of shopping opportunities. Its easy accessibility from Delhi as well as other major towns makes it convenient for people to reach it. As for accommodation, there are plenty of options for all kind of travellers – from budget to luxury. October to March is the best time to visit the city; however, monsoons bring with it a greenery that is really beautiful.
How Many Days For Udaipur Trip?
A couple of days is fine to explore Udaipur, but, if you want to explore Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Nathdwara & Ranakpur too, keep a day or two extra. All these destinations are worth exploring if you have time in hand.
In Udaipur itself, there are certain attractions that should not be missed. If you have just one day in hand and you are visiting for the first time, make sure to take a boat ride in Lake Pichola, explore the City Palace, Crystal Gallery, Jagdish Temple and Vintage Classic Car Museum. Keep the evening for a cultural show at Bagore ki Haveli and shopping.
If you have another day in hand, visit more of Udaipur tourist attractions – go for another round of boat ride (may be speed boat this time) in Fateh Sagar Lake, enjoy a ropeway ride in Mansapurna Karni Mata Ropeway and explore the Monsoon Palace, Moti Magri/Maharana Pratap Memorial and Saheliyon ki Bari, Sahastra Bahu Temple and Eklingji Temple.
In this post, I will cover the attractions to be covered in the first day.
Attractions of Udaipur
Start your day with a boat ride in the Lake Pichola. The lake is the biggest of all lakes in Udaipur and houses the world famous Lake Palace on Jag Niwas Island. Another island is home to Jag Mandir. Though entry to Lake Palace is restricted to its guests only, you can enjoy watching it from a close quarters.
Forming a picturesque backdrop for your boat ride are the Aravallis. Then there are the views of City Palace, Oberoi Udai Vilas, Gangaur Ghat, etc that keep you engaged throughout. For those who enjoy the beauty of the setting sun, a boat ride in Lake Pichola in evening during sunset is also a beautiful experience. The lake appears mesmerising when the reflection of the illuminated buildings fall on it from all around.
You can hire boat exclusively for yourself or choose to share it with other passengers. The boat ride begins from different points like Doodh Talai and Lal Ghat. Alternatively, there is also an option to book & start your ride from the City Palace.
A small tip. If you have time, you can start your day from a cable car ride Mansapurna Karni Mata Ropeway and then proceed towards Lake Pichola followed by a visit to the City Palace. The two are pretty close by.
The City Palace
Apart from a pleasant weather of the morning, the reason why keeping City Palace second in the trip itinerary is a good idea is because of the amount of time it requires to explore it thoroughly. Once you are done with a boat ride in the lake, you have all the time in your hand to go around the City Palace at your own pace.
The palace complex is huge and the grandeur of it is amply evident as you stand at the Manek Chowk and take a look around. There are palaces, restaurants, gateways, gardens and pathways – all contributing to the royal appeal of this heritage structure. For any first time visitor, the palace is big, beautiful, intriguing, challenging and informative – all at once. Numerous stairs take visitors up and down the various palaces, galleries and chowks that exhibit paintings, photographs, weapons, palanquins, statues, etc. Prominent amongst these palaces and galleries are Maharana Pratap Gallery, Badi Mahal, Badi Chitrashali, Mor Chowk, Silver Gallery, Sheesh Mahal.
The displays are interesting; however, some of these far easily stand out and catch attention like the surya chopad, the carrier pigeon cages, weighing scale used by Maharana Bhupal and statue of Maharana Pratap with Chetak. The peacock mosaics at Mor Chowk are simply brilliant and the exhibits at Silver Gallery – ornaments of royal horses and elephants, a royal baggi, a palanquin and a mandir – are wonderful. Not to forget the Sheesh Mahal which with its glittering beauty becomes a favourite for a number of visitors easily.
Taking a guide or an audio tour is the best way to make the most of your visit. If you decide to explore on your own, follow the marks for easy navigation.
It is important to remember that the ticket to enter the palace complex does not give you access to the palace museum. A separate ticket, which is slightly expensive, needs to be bought from the counter. There are also separate charges for cameras and audio tour, if opted for.
Durbar Hall & Crystal Gallery
Though housed within the City Palace Complex, in Fateh Prakash Palace (which is now a heritage hotel) you will need to purchase a separate ticket to visit the Durbar hall & Crystal Gallery, and the tickets again are pretty expensive. So, if you are not a lover of either crystal or history, you might want to just skip it. However, if you have even a slightest interest in the two, the two place can really be a good place to visit.
The Durbar Hall is on the ground level and was originally called Minto hall. It is, in every sense, lavish and royal. Huge portraits of the rulers of Mewar are displayed on the walls while humongous crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings along with velvet canopies. It is a view that oozes royalty. Along one side of the hall, a gallery with small windows, offers beautiful view of Lake Pichola.
The Crystal Gallery is housed on the first floor of the Fateh Prakash Palace and has a good collection of crystal items – from bed, throne, chairs, tables and footrest to flywhisks, perfumes bottles, dinner sets and varied coloured decanters. The collection was ordered by Maharana Sajjan Singh from the Oslers; however, it was Fateh Singh who finally opened it for public viewing. The audio guide is highly helpful in understanding the relevance and significance of the exhibits.
Vintage & Classic Car Collection Museum
This is a good place for automobile enthusiasts. It is where you can see the vehicles used by royals of Mewar in the past. Housed in the in the original palace Garage, this museum has on display two Rolls Royce, a pair of Cardilacs, models of Mercedes Benz, Buick, Ford and Morris. Other than cars, a Chevrolet truck and old school bus, a carriage, a couple of American army jeeps are also on display.
One of the Rolls Royce on display has bagged a couple of prestigious awards while the other one was used in in James Bond movie ‘Octopussy’. If you are there around lunch time, go to the Garden hotel to enjoy a delicious meal.
One of the most famous temples of Udaipur, Jagdish Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in the middle of the 17th century. The image of Lord Vishnu here has been carved out of a single piece of black stone and is a beautiful sight. Noteworthy in this 3 storey temple are the huge statues of elephants at the entrance which is reached after ascending 32 steps. There is also a brass statue of Garuda, the protector of Lord Vishnu. The temple also has beautiful carvings and paintings to admire.
Bagore ki Haveli
Located at the Gangaur Ghat, this haveli served as the residence of the Prime Minister of Mewar when it was built and later as the residence of the royal family. Today, the haveli is a heritage structure housing a museum. On display are items that showcase the culture and heritage of Mewar like weapons, costumes and turbans.
Numerous tourists visit the haveli to explore these displays; however, the haveli is more famous for the cultural show it hosts every evening for an hour. Singers, with their instruments, fill the air with the folk music of Rajasthan while the dancers entertain the audience with the energetic folk dances of the state. Then there is a puppet show as well. It is a fun filled one hour watching the performances after which you can stroll around the Gangaur Ghat and enjoy Lake Pichola along with the various illuminated buildings around.
If you wish to explore the museum, try to reach little early. The museum closes early by 5.30 PM while the show starts a little late, by 7 PM. It is also a good idea to book your tickets online before so as to avoid standing in long queues.
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