India Tips

4 Days in Magical Udaipur

Mar 05

udaipurDelicious food, striking sunsets, and rooftop patios are a few of my favourite things, and Udaipur happens to have an abundance of all three- so it’s no surprise I immediately fell in love with it. Surrounded by lakes, Udaipur is perfectly picturesque, and I was instantly charmed by its narrow lanes, beautifully crumbling architecture, and alluring waterfront vistas. The sunsets are some of the best I’ve ever seen, and the rooftop restaurants provide the perfect vantage point to watch the sun slowly dip behind the surrounding hills.

DSC01222DSC00972DSC01083Everyone in Udaipur appeared to be a little more laid-back, and one shop owner I spoke with confirmed that my observation was accurate- the people in Udaipur are indeed more easy-going. I often spotted groups of people walking down the street in some sort of celebratory parade; men carried drums and sang loudly, and a bevvy of sari-clad women followed close behind. I passed a group of women having a small dance party in the street one afternoon, and they seemed happily oblivious to the small group of curious bystanders who gathered nearby. The happiness must have been contagious because I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I was in Udaipur.

DSC01139DSC01259In terms of attractions, some might say there’s not a whole lot to see, but I found Udaipur to offer a nice mix of indulgent activities, historic sites, and natural attractions. Udaipur’s laid-back atmosphere also makes it an ideal place to momentarily escape from India’s larger and more chaotic cities.

Wandering around the city

Much like my beloved cities of Melbourne and Edinburgh, Udaipur is easily walkable and it’s the type of city that beckons visitors to aimlessly explore its winding streets.

I spent time browsing the market stalls, admiring buildings adorned with beautiful murals, photographing the lake from various vantage points around the city, and stopped every so often for a hot masala chai.

DSC00984 Udaipur DSC01153Hiking to Monsoon Palace

This former royal summer palace is located 5km from Udaipur, surrounded by Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary and perched on a hill with sweeping views of the city and lakes below. The palace itself isn’t particularly impressive, but the views from the top are worth the exertion.

You can hire a taxi, but I chose to walk up the gradually steep and winding road, which takes roughly 40 minutes. I foolishly decided to go during the mid-afternoon heat, but with no-one else in sight, I had a peaceful walk to the top- apart from the incessant honking from cars warning oncoming traffic of their presence around every bend, that is.

It was rather hazy by the time I reached the palace, but I can imagine how beautiful the views must be on a clear day.

DSC01010 DSC01019*At the foot of the hill you must enter through Sajjan Garh Wildlife Sanctuary, which has an entry fee of ₹100.

Self-indulgence

Udaipur is the perfect place to unwind and there are plenty of options for self-indulgent activities. Ayurvedic massages are offered just about everywhere, and I paid ₹550 ($9) for a 45 minute massage from a shop on Lal Ghat Road.

You could also take an art class, get a henna tattoo, or try a yoga class.

DSC01033Boat ride on Lake Pichola

While most people choose to take this boat ride at sunset, I opted to go around 5:30, just before the sun went down. Not only was it less expensive, but I think the sunset views are much better from any of the rooftop restaurants.

The ride is roughly 30 minutes and provides beautiful views of the Lake Palace, the Aravali Mountain Range, and the facades of the beautiful buildings surrounding the lake.

DSC01214 DSC01215*You can take a one hour boat ride from City Palace for ₹400 plus the palace entrance fee. I walked to the dock at the end of Lal Ghat Road and paid ₹250 for a 30 minute ride. I believe the sunset boat ride from Lal Ghat Road costs roughly ₹500, and the sunset boat ride from City Palace costs ₹650.

City Palace

The main part of this complex is the City Palace Museum, which is a series of palaces- each with a unique architectural style. The museum houses a collection of antiques, paintings, and furniture, and the walls are adorned with beautifully intricate glass and tile mosaics. I chose not to pay the ₹225 camera fee, but regretted my decision after seeing the beautiful decor and views of the city below. I managed to sneak some photos, but I would highly recommend paying the camera fee.

DSC01408 DSC01416 DSC01414 DSC01410*City Palace Museum has an entry fee of ₹115

Dining

Two of my favourite restaurants for dinner with a sunset view are Jaiwana Haveli and Charcoal. Jaiwana Haveli is slightly on the pricey side, and while I wasn’t overly impressed by the food, I think it’s worth a visit for the unobstructed views of the Lake Palace.

DSC01263 DSC01261 DSC01305 Charcoal offers spectacular views and mouth-watering dishes to match. BBQ and tandoori dishes are their specialty, and I returned multiple times for their vegetable and paneer skewers.

DSC01422 DSC01081 DSC01075My favourite breakfast spot is Pap’s Juices for freshly made fruit juice and muesli, and Vyom Juice Corner is a lovely spot to relax with a spicy masala chai.

udaipur2 DSC01315Cooking classes

There are dozens of options for cooking classes in Udaipur, but I’m so glad I went with the TripAdvisor majority and booked Shashi’s Cooking Class. ₹700 may seem a bit pricey, but the meal we cooked was one of the best I had in India, and I came away with detailed recipes and practical tips and advice from the chef herself.

Held at Shashi’s home, most of the class was spent observing while periodically taking turns cutting, chopping, and stirring various dishes. I did get my hands dirty rolling and shaping the dough to make chapati, paratha, and naan, and then learned to gently rotate them on the frying pan until they were perfectly browned. Along with the bread, we made an array of dishes- paneer butter masala, vegetable byrani, onion and potato pakora with mango and coriander chutney, chana masala, a sweet paratha dessert- and everything was incredibly delicious.

DSC01468 DSC01435 DSC01439DSC01494Dharohar Dance Show & Day trips

Bagore-Ki-Haveli is an 18th century mansion which has been converted into a museum, and it hosts a cultural show with Rajasthani folk dances, songs, and puppets every evening.

I had looked into a few day trips from Udaipur in case I found a 4 day stay to be too long, but I promptly forgot about said day trips as soon I stepped foot in the city. However, if you somehow find yourself bored in Udaipur, you could visit the white marble temple complex in Ranakpur (located 90km away).

DSC01277 I’d been warned that 4 days was too long to spend in Udaipur, but I was heartbroken when my time in this captivating city came to an end. From the happy ambiance to the lake views and the lingering sunsets, Udaipur truly is magical in every sense of the word.

Have you been to Udaipur? If not, does it seem like the type of city you’d like to visit?

10 Comments

  • Reply Hayley Simpson (@hayleyonholiday) Mar 05 at 7:49 pm

    Those sunset photos are incredible. The food doesn’t look too bad either! India is seriously moving up my list for next place to visit.

    • Reply ashleywanders Mar 06 at 10:35 am

      Thank you, Hayley! The sunsets in Udaipur are unreal. India is an incredible place- I’m glad to hear you are thinking of visiting!

  • Reply Marni Mar 06 at 11:28 am

    It looks spectacular there! Your pictures are phenomenal. Going to a place where people aren’t obsessed with the fast-paced rat race can be completely relaxing and cathartic. I also love that you took a cooking class there! It’s a very different (but exciting) experience to have in a foreign place.

    • Reply ashleywanders Mar 14 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Marni! Udaipur is a spectacular city! And cooking classes are definitely one of my favourite things to do when visiting a new country 🙂

  • Reply mariemcc Mar 06 at 7:51 pm

    Magical is exactly the word I use for Udaipur. Fortunately, I made friends on my first visit. Going back for a fifth visit in two months, and there are STILL things I haven’t done or seen there! I can’t get enough of it!

    • Reply ashleywanders Mar 07 at 1:34 pm

      Lucky you- I would love to revisit! I don’t think it’s possible to tire of Udaipur. Enjoy your time there!

  • Reply Mark Wiens Mar 14 at 3:58 am

    Great post Ashley. On my previous trip to India I visited Jaipur, but couldn’t make it it Udaipur. I’d love to visit in the future, and your post makes me want to go now.

    • Reply ashleywanders Mar 14 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you, Mark 🙂 I hope you make it to Udaipur- it’s a beautiful city!

  • Reply Victoria @TheBritishBerliner Sep 28 at 3:19 pm

    Lovely photographs Ashley and sooooo bringing back memories! In fact, I’m going back to India next year!

    I’ve been to Udaipur and it really is a very lovely city which is quite serene (by Indian standards) and most relaxing!
    Victoria @TheBritishBerliner recently posted…Best of Poland: Dumplings, & everything in between!My Profile

    • Reply ashleywanders Sep 30 at 2:56 pm

      Thank you, Victoria 🙂 I felt exactly the same way about Udaipur, and it was easily one of my favourite cities in India. I hope you have a fantastic return visit next year!

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge