HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN INDIA’S CITY OF LAKES
You know that feeling when you visit a new place and it brings you such a familiar and calm feeling? You when it feels good to BE? I didn’t know that before I visited Udaipur. Sometimes all the travelling, moving from one place to another, searching, planning and organising takes you in such an overwhelming (in a good way) state, but you come to one place and everything suddenly switches and you feel still and grounded, in peace with yourself and others. I don’t know what I am talking about here, but I felt that way in this magical city of Udaipur.
Me and my fellow traveller Amber arrived in Udaipur in the afternoon. We had a 7 hour train ride from Jaipur and everything felt so different, the weather was different comparing with the other cities that we visited before, the people were different, the buildings and all the surroundings were different, I couldn’t believe that it was sunny and warm! I was so happy when I finally reached our hostel, sat on our rooftop terrace and enjoyed the warmth of the sun touching my white af skin.
OK OK, let’s go back to Udaipur. So, this beautiful city is located almost in the middle between Delhi and Mumbai, the most southern part in India’s state of Rajasthan (the Land of Kings) near the Gujarat border. Udaipur is surrounded by seven beautiful lakes that’s why it is also known as The City of Lakes or The Venice of the East, and Aravali Range which separates city from a Thar Desert. Besides its beautiful natural surroundings Udaipur has as deep and rich history taking back to the 16th century when Maharajas ruled the world (joking, just Rajasthan).
HOW LONG YOU SHOULD STAY IN UDAIPUR?
Udaipur is actually a big city with a deep historical background and there you will find a lot of beautiful places to visit, architecture to see and streets to wander. I would say that it would be perfect to spend 3 or 4 days in this city, then you would be able to really enjoy this city and some other places near it, but also if you have a very tight schedule on your trip 2 days are more than enough to see the main attractions and to connect with this place.
Where is it and how to get there?
Udaipur is situated southernmost part of Rajasthan, near Gujarat border, and is located approximately 660 km from India’s capital New Delhi and around 800 km from Mumbai. There are a few ways how you can reach Udaipur:
- Hire a private driver. Safe and expensive (comparing to other options). You can ask in your hotel about it.
- Flight. Udaipur has its own Dabok Airport, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport. It is located at about 25 km northeast of the city centre. There are daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai on Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet.
- Bus. There are some buses that goes from bigger cities (check for tickets and journey time on 12go.asia or redbus)
- Train. Udaipur is well connected via rail from all big cities including Chittorgarh, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Mumbai and Khajuraho. You can read more about Indian trains here.
- A one day (or more days) tour. You can book it in your hotel, or tripadvisor or any other travel agency that you like.
How to get around UDAIPUR?
I guess you’re wondering how to get around Udaipur if you travel on your own or as a couple or with a few friends. So there are a few options for you. You can always use Ola app which is amazing, works exactly like Uber (which is also good to use), you are able see how much the journey will cost you and it’s pretty safe. Also on your way you can always hop on one of million auto-rickshaws, just don’t forget to haggle the price before you get on it! The best part about it is that you can always ask driver to wait for you somewhere near to bring you back!
Another option is to ask the staff in your hotel to organise and hire a private vehicle for you, price depends on whether its a car or a tuk tuk or any other.
UDAIPUR TRAVEL GUIDE
This is my recommendations how to spend two days in Udaipur. You don’t have to follow it blindly as I wrote it down, you are more than welcome to change it the way you’d see it more convenient for you!
DAY 1 – Meet The City of Lakes
- UDAIPUR CITY PALACE
No matter how little time you have in Udaipur The City Palace is the only place that you cannot skip! The City Palace is built on the edge of Lake Pichola and it is a complex of several palaces built over 400 years! Wandering around this masterpiece and a number of balconies, cupolas, and towers to explore with the wonderful views of the lake and the surrounding city will leave you speechless. Literally.
I would recommend visiting palace early in the morning because it is one of the most popular places in Udaipur so it might get too busy during the day.
Opening times – 9.30am to 5.30pm everyday. Entry fee – 30 INR for Indians, 300 INR for foreigners.
2. LAKE PICHOLA BOAT RIDE AND JAG MANDIR
Lake Pichola is one of the lakes that you will see the most of your time here in Udaipur so why not to get on a boat and have a ride to see the city from the other angle? And the bonus is that you can visit one little island too! Jag Mandir, also known as Lake Garden Palace, is a little island on Lake Pichola which has a few different palaces on it. Have a walk around its beautiful garden, take pictures of walls that are made of black and white marbles with semi-precious stones and ornamented niches, enjoy delicious (and very pricey) food or drink with a spectacular scenery. And yeah, that’s about it.
Opening times – 10am to 6pm. To get there you have to take a boat (from the back of the City Palace) and the boat ride is included in your ticket to The City Palace! IF not, it will cost around 200 INR per head (not that bad!).
3. JAGDISH TEMPLE
When you finally return back to the City Palace follow the shops to go down the street where you will be met by a steep staircase leading to a Jagdish Temple. I was a bit uncomfortable going in as there were a lot of beggars all around and I am not very comfortable going into other religion temples because I don’t really understand and know what to do there and how to act and I am afraid to be disrespectful and… Oh gosh… But I went there anyway and I’ve got there at the right time to see the ceremony dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu which obviously was the most interesting and magical thing that I’ve seen in India! Jagdish Temple was built in 1651 by Maharaja Jagat Singh I and it’s still one of the most famous temples in and around Udaipur! Beautiful carved pillars and painted walls is something everyone should see! Don’t forget to take off your shoes before going in (there are shoe racks on the side).
Opening times – everyday from around 4.30am till 10.30pm but timings might change due to festivals or other holy days. Entre fee – free, they will accept donation.
4. THE UDAIPUR ROPEWAY (CABLE CAR)
I think you will agree that the best sunset includes the water, hills and you standing somewhere high enough to see EVERYTHING. This place on the top of the hill offering one of the best views of Udaipur. I was a bit sceptical to use the ropeway in India, but everything was fine, the ride up only takes a few minutes and after you can try to pick up your jaw from the floor because panoramic views of the city, Lake Pichola and everywhere around will leave you speechless. You can go to visit the Shri Mansapurna Karni Mata Temple which is a few steps up the hill for the better views or go to the Ropeway restaurant and have a drink or snack while watching the sunset.
To get here you can walk from the city centre which will take around an hour if you follow the main road or you can take a auto-rickshaw or a cab. Also if you’re not comfortable taking ropeway there are a very steep stairs to climb to the top of the hill.
Opening times – 9am to 9pm. Entry fee – 120 INR per person both ways and cash only! I heard some stories that ticket guy tends to give a wrong change so be aware of that.
5. DUDH TALAI LAKE GARDEN
If you decided to walk (or even drive) to the Ropeway I would recommend stopping at Dudh Talai Lake Garden to catch up with your breath. Dudh Talai lake is located on the side of Lake Pichola and is surrounded by small hillocks where you can find Manikya Lal Verma Garden and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Park which also has Musical Fountain Garden. Absolutely gorgeous place to walk around, take pictures and embrace the other kind of India.
This place will be on your way to Ropeway so if you are in a mood – have a little stroll around.
Opening times – specifically Musical Garden opening times are from 9am till 10pm, but the rest of the park is opened all day. Entry fee – to get into Musical Garden costs 20 INR for Indians and 30 INR for foreigners.
DAY 2 – The best of Udaipur
- MONSOON PALACE
Although I didn’t go there myself (due to very very bad planning) I would really recommend you going there if you can’t get enough of breathtaking panoramic views! This Monsoon Palace is just outside Udaipur, built on top of Bansdara hills in 19th century as a monsoon palace and hunting lodge by Maharana Sajjan Singh.
You can book a day tour to this palace if you’re worried about the transportation in and out of there.
Opening times – 8am to 6pm. Entry fees – 10 INR for Indians, 80 INR for foreigners.
2. WANDER AROUND THE STREETS AND DO SOME SHOPPING
This is a very important thing to do in a new place – walk around, get lost, find your way back, talk to locals, enjoy the colourful shops, try delicious street food. STOP RUNNING AND EMBRACE THE MOMENT. Yes I said that! Every traveller needs to chill and just enjoy Being. So be there in the moment with whatever comes.
I actually bought kurta to go over my skinny trousers. I love it so much! I still wear it on my days off haha.
3. BAGORE KI HAVELI
After Jagdish Temple make your way down the street to Bagore-ki-Haveli which is located very very close to Lake Pichola at Gangaur Ghat. I bet you already know about Haveli’s as they are very common here in India. This one was built in 18th century by Amar Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar. This massive palace has over a hundred rooms where you can see costumes and modern art display. In the evenings the Bagore Ki Haveli Museum has a traditional dance and puppet show called Dharohar. Apparently this is quite a popular thing here and you need to get there very early to get a seat. The show is from 7-8pm and costs 150 INR per person plus another 150 INR for a camera. Unfortunately I did not go to see the show but if you want to do something different make your way there.
Opening times – 9.30am to 5.30pm (it is still opened for puppet show). Entrance fee – for the museum are 60 INR for Indians and 100 INR per foreign tourist plus an additional 55 INR for a camera.
4. CHASING THE GATHS
There is pretty a lot of Ghats in Udaipur. The word Ghat means steep stepwell that is leading to the banks of the river. Basically it can be understood as a valley made by any type body of water with an easy access to the water to do the laundry or go for a swim. But for travellers it is one of the ways to explore local people daily lives (haha). So here are a few Ghats to visit while you’re in Udaipur:
GANGAUR GHAT – just 30 second walk from Bagore Ki Haveli so you have to make your way down there. Gangaur Ghat is a beautiful place to visit as you can really embrace the beauty of the Lake Pichola and all the structures that surrounds it. Just a few pictures here and there and you good to go!
They also say that Gangaur Ghat is ‘the ultimate sunset spot’, but it becomes very crowded during the day so I can imagine how many people are watching the sunset there…
LAAL GHAT– is known as a holy site for pilgrims and devotees.
NAV GHAT – is known as a cities boat dockyard.
AMBRAI GHAT – a pretty large ghat with a spectacular views to the city and lake. It might get pretty crowded as it’s popular place to chill among the locals as well as tourists. But grab yourself some snacks and watch the sun slowly hiding behind the hills.
Where to stay in Udaipur?
Backpackers – GoStops and Moustache hostels has everything what you might need – friendly and helpful staff, comfortable rooms, amazing location and ROOFTOP TERRACES!
Budget private – Jagat Villa Guest House – clean and comfortable, near all the main attractions!
Luxury – Taj Lake Palace – why not to treat yourself with a luxury and royal stay while in the Land of Kings? Located in the middle of Lake Pichola, this Taj Lake Palace is definitely once in a lifetime experience.
General Tips for safe travels:
- Apps to help on your way:
- Maps.me – amazing app for using the city map while you have no connection to internet.
- Ola app – for booking cabs (or even auto-rickshaws)
- There is a general dress code for female travellers while wandering around India. I am sure you heard that India is known as more conservative than western countries in all ways, so keeping your shoulders and legs from the knee upwards covered would not only show the respect for the culture but also saves you from unwanted attention.
- Be aware of common scams. If it seems to be to good to be true – it’s a scam.
- Pick-pocketing is a thing all over the world. Especially in the busy places, near tourist attractions keep your belongings close to you.
Send You loads of Love!
Stay adventurous and see you on the road! x