Udaipur India – Your Quick Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Udaipur, one of the prides of Rajasthan, the so called city of lakes or Venice of the East, is a picturesque place full of palaces, colours and vibrant atmosphere.
Why go to Udaipur
Udaipur is a wonderful city in southern Rajasthan which offers quite modern and opulent ambiance and many opportunities, especially for history enthusiasts and architecture specialists, but also it has lots of luxurious spaces so it is a great and famous destination for parties, weddings etc.
So what attractions are waiting for you in Udaipur? As the name the city of lakes suggests, the city is located on the lakes. The main one, creating the centre of the city, is Lake Pichola with its palaces. There is a palace complex just on the banks of the lake, with the museum inside. You can observe nice exhibits and gorgeous architecture, decorations and colours. That is not the only palace though. In the lake there are two lake palaces – very typical of Rajasthan, one of them can be visited by boat. Boating is very popular as it gives another point of view on the area.
Museum lovers can visit Bagore ki Haveli which is right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangaur Ghat and get more information about the culture and local living styles.
The Jagdish Temple, just by the entrance to the City Palace, is a place of religious worship, especially in the mornings. Visit this charming Hindu temple and enjoy the atmosphere of prayer.
For views all over Udaipur you can visit the Monsoon Palace on the hill opposite the city. There are no exhibitions but the panorama is great.
When to go to Udaipur
Rajasthan is generally a very hot state so when visiting, try to apply the rule of avoiding summer time in India – the hottest months before the rainy season are April and May. Even if you love summer and do not mind the heat, it could be too much if you wish to do some sightseeing but not only to stay in your air-conditioned hotel room.
We especially recommend winter months from October to February. Temperatures lower down to very comfortable levels.
Where to stay in Udaipur
In Udaipur you will not have problems in finding suitable accommodation and there are a lot of choices of various hotels, ranging from budget backpackers’ types to those super luxurious. Even low budget hotels usually have simple rooms with attached bathrooms, hostels or other types of accommodation with shared areas are not common here. On the other hand, there is Wi-Fi almost everywhere here, at least in some parts of the hotel such as the reception or restaurant, if not inside the room.
Hotels are spread throughout the city but you will probably, and not surprisingly at all, head to the area near Lake Pichola, the dominant centre of Udaipur. There are lots of hotels in a walking distance from the lake and other attractions, nearby markets and restaurants there.
Far from budget prices, there are grandiose palace complexes and resorts, either directly by the lake or on the outskirts of the city (if you search for quiet atmosphere and more natural environment).
Where and what to eat in Udaipur
Similarly to accommodation, food is another area where the options are almost endless. The city lives on tourists and so you can eat literally everywhere. There are local food stalls, small buffets, budget restaurants as well as splendid food palaces, and, of course, even more numerous cafes and bakeries, giving the western vibe and pleasing foreign visitors, but they lack tasty coffee. Just roam around the lake area and you will certainly find what you are looking for, whether it is Indian or international cuisine.
If you are in search for some local traditional food, you can check Natraj Thali – a kind of an Indian platter full of small bowls with different curries and lovely butter chapatis – flattened bread; or you can find the most traditional of all – dal baati chorma, reflecting the tribal cuisine. It consists of lentils, a sort of baked pastry and grind wheat sugary balls.
How to get around Udaipur
The main places to see in Udaipur are well accessible, either on foot or by local transport so it is up to you to choose according to your preferences. The Pichola lakeside, the City Palace, lake palaces and some museums are highly recommended. It is nice to walk along the narrow streets, breathe the air and admire the reflections of wonderful palaces in the lake. You can also find hidden cafes and restaurants on the way and get away from the city hustle and bustle.
Lake palaces can be visited by boat, as mentioned above. The classic round trip goes from the City Palace along the shore to Gangaur Ghat, circling the Lake Palace and then stopping at Jag Mandir Palace. Here you can have free time, roam around or go a restaurant to have a meal or drinks and then take the boat back to the City Palace. Shared boat ride costs 400 INR per adult and 200 INR per child for day trips. During the sunset it is more costly, 700 INR per adult and 400 INR per child.
There are also charter boats which can be more convenient for groups. Always check the prices according to the number of people.
For the attractions a bit away from the city, such as the Monsoon Palace, Lake Fatehsagar or the Vintage Cars Museum, you can just hire an auto rickshaw and explore. An auto rickshaw from the lakeside to the Monsoon palace and back will cost you approximately 400 INR including waiting time as from the parking you will need to take their car or pay the entry fee.
How to get to and from Udaipur
Udaipur is connected with other parts of India quite well. It has an international airport. There are direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai starting at 4,800 INR.
For budget travelling it is fine to check the train. There are direct trains, for example, from Delhi, a sleeping car starts from 390 INR, from Jaipur 165 INR or Agra 360 INR. Travelling by train takes about 10-13 hours. It seems quite a lot but India is a big country. The trains are quite comfortable and cheap so for budget travelling it is the right option.
Udaipur is well connected by long distance coaches as well. That is the option for cities without direct railway connection or if the train tickets are sold out. For example, coaches are usual for Jodhpur – Udaipur route with prices for an air-conditioned coach starting at 450 INR, Jaipur-Udaipur route at 500 INR, Delhi to Udaipur coaches cost in average 1,200 INR.
By private taxi
If you travel in a larger group, you may consider hiring a mini bus for 13-15 people. It is a very good option for Udaipur - Jodhpur route as it is faster and you can stop in a beautiful Ranakpur temple, one of the greatest Jain temples. Tempo traveller car should cost around 12,000 INR for the whole day with the Ranakpur stop.
Is Udaipur a safe place to visit?
Udaipur has no problems with safety as it is a big tourist place. You do not have to be worried walking along the lakeside, visiting markets and roaming around at all. But always try to be careful and behave within the local cultural expectations.