Udaipur – A royal city at heart
Literally an oasis in the middle of the desert, Udaipur is the second most sought after traveler's haven in Rajasthan, after the Pink City Jaipur.
According to the popular legend, the city came into existence in 1559 A.D. at the behest of a hermit who advised Maharana Udai Singh II to build his palace at a hill top overlooking the lake Pichola. The Maharana followed the advice of the hermit. Per se, the city is set at an idyllic altitude, amidst an amphitheater of the Aravalli ranges and dotted with as many as eight lakes in and around.
Heritage Places / Sightseeing in Udaipur
The following top 13 Tourist Attractions include among the prominent structures not be missed in Udaipur:
- Pichola is the oldest lake in Udaipur having two natural islands - Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir. Lake Palace on the Jag Niwas Island is a palace turned luxury hotel voted as the most romantic hotel in the world.
- Jag Mandir Palace, located on the Jag Mandir Island on the southern end, is a great hit with tourists for holding their social events, especially marriage.
- On the Eastern bank of the lake, stands the magnificent City Palace on a hill top that the Maharana built about the time he laid the foundation of the city. The palace is the largest of its kind in Rajasthan, and a must-visit to witness the beautiful bird-eye view of the city from its top, as well as, marvel the fusion of European, Medieval and Chinese architectures that it embraces.
- The Jaisamand Lake, located 48 kilometers South-East from the main city, is the second largest artificial lake in Asia. Sprawling across 95 square kilometers of particularly picturesque setting, the lake is popular for its centuries-old massive marble dam, surrounding Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary and vistas of the lake from the courtyard of stunning summer palaces on its Northern banks. The lake is habitat to crocodiles, turtles and a large variety of fishes and the sanctuary is home to rare migratory birds, panther, leopard, hyena, jungle cat, fox, deer, wild boar etc.
- Udai Sagar, Fateh Sagar and Rajsamand are the other three large lakes in Udaipur that are popular for spending quality time in the serenity of the ambience. There are three smaller lakes as well, including Jiyan Sagar (also known as Badi ka Talab), Doodh Talai and Swaroop Sagar (also known as Kumharia Talab), which are found enjoyable by both locals and tourists for boating and related activities.
- Bagore ki Haveli is a mansion located near the Pichola Lake boasting of excellent glass work and intricate carvings.
- The Maharana Pratap Memorial is a historic site overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, popular for having a life-size statue of the Maharana.
- Saheliyon Ki Bari (literally meaning "Garden of maids") is a charming imperial garden having sprawling lush green lawns, marble carvings, traditional art and fountains.
- One of the prominent examples of Udaipur's rich past is Kumbhalgarh fort. Located about 64 km from the main city, the fort has the second longest wall in the world.
- Another superlative example is Chittorgarh fort (112 km away) that is credited to be the largest fort in India.
- The stunning Eklingji temple (22 km away) of 734 A.D. is seat of rare 50 feet tall four-faced idol of Lord Shiva.
- The 15th century Ranakpur Jain temples close by are widely acclaimed for intricate marble carvings and spectacular architecture.
- Jagat, Nathdwara and Kankroli are small towns around that house many beautiful Hindu temples.
- Not to mention, Haldighati, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Ahar Cenotaphs also engaging from tourism point of view.
- However, there is much more to Udaipur than the lakes and heritage structures. Udaipur offers numerous shopping opportunities to its guests in terms of local crafts, specifically Rajput-Mughal fusion paintings. As a keen tourist, you must also watch out for local fairs and festivals, especially the Mewar Festival and Shilpgram Crafts Fair.
How to reach Udaipur
Well connected by road, rail and air, Udaipur enjoys easy connectivity from all major cities in India. Domestic airport Maharana Pratap is located about 22 km from the city and witnesses frequent flights between Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur etc. Udaipur Railway Station is one of the major junctions in India where even the super luxurious Palace on Wheels takes a halt. The road network connecting the city with the rest of the India is both extensive and exhaustive. Rajasthan Roadways buses (including Deluxe & AC buses) can be easily booked to commute between cities.
What is the best time to visit Udaipur?
Udaipur remains unpleasantly hot during summer season and humid during monsoon. Winter season is therefore hands down the ideal season to visit Udaipur. However, it is advisable to schedule your trip between November and December to coincide with the local Shilpgram Crafts Fair, or around March/ April to be able to take part in the local Mewar Festival.