During my last holiday in Rajasthan, I covered many cities and towns. While each city has something that I liked, the one city that earned the tag of being my favorite is Udaipur. It was much more than the things to do in Udaipur. It was a certain vibe that added to the charm of the city.
Surrounded by green hills, this gorgeous lake city of Udaipur is a popular holiday for visitors from far and near. There are plenty of reasons why they all flock to this lake city. For me, this charm can be well explained by the list of things to do in Udaipur. I am pretty sure that once you have read it all, you too, will be in love with Udaipur.
Things to do in Udaipur
1) Start with the Udaipur City Palace
By now, most of you know that I am a sucker for history and any heritage building or story totally grabs my attention. Udaipur has tons of it. The history of this place brings out the valor and strength of the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. These were one of the few clans that resisted the Mughals and hence, have made their own story – a different one.
Let me start with the gorgeous 4-centuries old City Palace. The palace itself is unique as it lies right in the middle of the city, on the banks of the Lake Pichola. The palace is widely acknowledged as “one of the best in the world” by magazines like Travel and Leisure. Having visited it, I completely endorse this.
Be it their gates like the Toran gate or the inner palaces, the city palace has awed all its visitors, including me. In this post, I am not going to get into details of the palace (I promise a detailed one later) but will definitely urge the visitors to Udaipur to check out the lovely reflection and illumination of the palace in the Lake Pichola. That truly is a sight to behold.
2) Cross over to Jag Mandir
The beautiful white structure right in the middle of Lake Pichola glistens and beckons you to cross the waters and visit it. The Jag Mandir was like a royal guest house and a summer retreat for the Kings. This is where the famous Shah Jahan found a home when he was on a run with his family. It is said that the structure was his inspiration for the famous Taj Mahal.
Read about my date with the Taj Mahal. How I managed to find it all alone.
Jag Mandir is an ideal place to relish some delicious meals at the restaurant here. You will find that the food tastes even better – possibly because you are enjoying the sights of the lovely Lake Pichola.
3) Dine at the Lake Palace of Udaipur
This is the centerpiece of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. The Lake Palace Udaipur used to be a summer palace with over 80 rooms, gorgeous gardens, and stunning fountains. Even today, it shines like a jewel amid those blue waters. One look at it and I wanted to swim across to see what lay within. Now, a part of the luxury chain of Taj Hotels, the only way I could have gone there was for a lavish wedding or a special dinner or possibly as a guest of the hotel. That was not to be in this visit and I had to be content watching it in the movie – Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani. Hoping that I can see it for myself someday.
Read about the history of Lake Palace through this post.
3) Stroll around the Saheliyon ki Bari
The one Udaipur tourist attraction that I found very charming was the Saheliyon ki Bari. A garden made for the Queen and her maids. I found the concept quite amusing as well as the place very scenic and unique. Imagine yourself to be a queen and to have a garden of your own, where you can choose to have fun, play some games, bathe in numerous pools and have some of your own unique collections of fountains. Quite a personal haven! A walk along the gardens can quite refreshing and insightful – about the lives of the royalty.
You must read through this exclusive post on the Queen’s garden – where I share how I took a rebirth. 😉 Quite an amusing story, I promise you!
4) Sunset at the Monsoon Palace Udaipur
This one remained a little elusive as I could see it only from afar. The Monsoon Palace is also called Sajjangarh Palace. This is one of the best sunset spots in Udaipur. The palace was supposed to be a 9-storied astronomical center. However, Maharana Sajjan Singh died prematurely and the palace was made into a hunting resort for the Royals. The palace overlooks Fateh Sagar Lake and you can still see the intricate architecture of the place when you visit it.
You can try a hike to the palace or just take one of the many taxis in Udaipur to drive you there. Try going a little before sunset so that you can explore the palace before heading out for the magical sunsets.
5) Head to the Jagadish Temple
Right next to the City Palace Udaipur, the Jagadish temple is the largest temple of the city. There is no missing the 2 stone elephants that greet you at the entrance of this 3-storied wonder. From the walls to pillars and even the spire, you will see intricate carvings of animals, birds and Hindu deities. Still active, this temple was crowded when I visited it during Dusshera.
6) Explore the Ahar Cenotaphs
Even the resting place of the Royals is a place to behold. The Ahar cenotaphs are a serene and scenic set of monuments that commemorate the various members of the House of Mewars. The stunning Chhatris with their intricate ceilings are well worth a visit. The place is 2 km outside Udaipur.
You might enjoy seeing the pictures of the cenotaphs of Jaisalmer. The Bada Bagh is quite an unusual place. Check it out here
7) Drive to the Saas Bahu Temple in Udaipur
The name literally translates to “mother-in-law and daughter-in-law” temple. The Saas-Bahu temple has two shrines – one dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other to Lord Vishnu. As the legend goes, the royal daughter-in-law was a believer of Lord Shiva and the Queen mother of Lord Vishnu. Hence, the Maharaja Mahipal of Kachchhwaha Dynasty got the temple made with both the shrines. The fascinating thing about the temples is its intricately carved walls. A little on the outskirts, but an interesting visit when in Udaipur
8) Shopping in Udaipur
Yes, yes …I know it is mostly a girly indulgence but with enough of it being in Udaipur, for me, it is a reason to like this place. The gorgeous flowing skirts teamed with traditional tops, the traditional mojris and footwear and the lovely jewelry is enough for any girl to go crazy. What is more, is that it is so easy on the pockets and you can buy tons of it. 🙂
However, clothes and accessories aren’t the only things that you can shop for. All through Udaipur, I found these lovely lamps for your homes and rooms – a perfect blend of contemporary and traditional art. And don’t miss out on the bags and the traditional crafts while here. The crafts are sure to make your home look like a royalty. Shopping here is street shopping and honestly, that is the charm of it all. Definitely a must-do thing in Udaipur.
9) Relish the Food in Udaipur
Udaipur is a place for foodies – especially the chaats and the snacks. Every road has these small shops with freshly made snacks on display and if you are anything like me, you probably would just hog on them and skip your main meals. Letting you in on my secret – when traveling, I just let go of my diet and really snack it out. 🙂 Some must-try snacks include the Ganthiya, Kachoris with Jalebies.
Don’t miss an evening out at the Sukhadia circle. Here is where you not only get to enjoy the Chaats but also, have some fun with some games at the street stalls. You should even try these chaats at the Bapu Bazaar Road, which is where I managed to have some.
If you are anything like my hubby who loves at least one full meal a day, then, of course, there are options of Rajasthani food all over Udaipur. Udaipur has plenty of multi-cuisine restaurants that serve Italian, Continental and other Indian dishes as well. The one place that I not just loved for its food but also, its view was the terrace restaurant of Hotel Devraj Niwas, that I stayed in. The lovely restaurant opens to Lake Pichola and totally, adds to the pleasure of the food that you are having here.
Check out my favorite Rajasthani dishes on this link – an inspiration for your order.
10) Experience a Cultural Fiesta
Walk around the City Palace Udaipur, through the small lanes that were filmed in the James Bond Movie – Octopussy. You don’t have to look too hard for those famous lanes for there are sign-boards marking them. Within the lanes are several interesting shops and classes. You could choose to learn Indian music or take some Indian cookery classes here. There are also, quaint coffee shops including a German one, where you can sit and read your favorite novel.
If you are here during a festival like Dusshera or Holi, you can be a part of the religious processions and musical corners that liven up these streets.
In the evening, make your way to the Bagore ki Haveli for some Rajasthani Dharodhar Dance and music. You can catch the traditional puppet shows. Make sure you get your tickets for the same beforehand as it gets quite crowded in the evening and each show has limited seats. Remember to visit the same Haveli during the day for an interesting museum which will give you further insights into the Rajasthani culture.
11) Enjoy the Vintage Car Museum in Udaipur
The Vintage Car Museum in Udaipur has the collection of century-old cars used by the House of Mewars. From Fords to Vauxhalls and the enigmatic Rolls Royce, there is plenty that will get your pulse racing. The best part – these cars in working condition and can be seen as a part of the many vintage car rallies that happen in Rajasthan.
12) Go for a Lake Cruise
Lake Pichola is one of the main lakes in this city. The lovely lake mirrors the beauty of the city at all times of the day. The colors of the lake are so heart-warming and pleasing to the eye and of course, the photographer in me tried to capture it all through the lens. The lake is central to a lot of the heritage monuments that I have covered earlier. In fact, given that it is central to the whole charm of Udaipur, I deem it more than just a lake and which is why you must read this post that I have dedicated to Lake Pichola.
Besides the Lake Pichola, you can even visit the Fatehsagar lake, which offers you a huge jet fountain on one of its islands and a small zoo on another. Equally beautiful, I only saw it from afar. I wish I could have tried one of those picnics here that everyone recommends, especially when the jet fountains in the lake sprinkle water.
There are various boating opportunities here and I would recommend taking one for Lake Pichola. Go for the Sunset boating rather than during the day. I found the entire experience so beautiful for when the sun goes down, it adds various colors and shades to the lake, some of which reflect on the water and some over the gorgeous heritage buildings in the lake. There is a serene feeling that you get as you watch the sky and the water turns into different colors – something that is inexplicable, and is best, experienced.
There are plenty of day trips from Udaipur that I recommend to a lot of visitors. You can head over to Kumbhalgarh to see the 2nd longest wall in the world, along with a visit to the stunning Ranakpur temple and the battleground of Haldighati where the brave Maharana Pratap lost his war. Another trip would be to the famous Chittorgarh – the original city of the Mewars.
Visit the 2nd longest wall of the world at Kumbhalgarh. Discover what lies within those walls.
Even without the above day trips, you have plenty to do in Udaipur. I am unable to pick my favorite among these. I wonder if you have been able to. 😉
- Udaipur has an airport of its own. There are lots of regular flights to Udaipur from many of the key Indian cities.
- One can reach Udaipur by rail as well as roads. Both these forms of transport connect Udaipur to all the major cities of India
- The best time to visit Udaipur is between September to March.
- During the day, Udaipur is quite pleasant and cotton clothes would work well then. During the evening, it gets a little nippy and would advise you to carry a few light woolens for the same. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended here as there is plenty of walking to be done.
- I would recommend taking a Sunset cruise from the Lalghat jetty rather than City Palace. The boat covers the same sights and is a little cheaper than what you would spend otherwise.
- Travel within Udaipur is fairly easy. You can opt for rickshaws or just take one of the local buses to head to various places. Local cabs are also, available and can be arranged for by your hotel or place of stay.
- A lot of my general tips on Rajasthan can be found here. You will find quite a few of them useful for Udaipur.
- There are plenty of places to stay in Udaipur. I recommend trying out one of the heritage havelis for a stay. Quite a unique experience. I stayed at Hotel Dewraj Niwas, which was bang at Lake Pichola.
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Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.