If the colours pink and blue are common to the landscapes of Jaipur and Jodhpur, Udaipur may very well be regarded as a vision in white for its shining marble palaces and buildings. Popularly known as the lake city of India, Udaipur is also famous as one of India’s most romantic cities. The beautiful city was established by Maharana Udai Singh after an astrologer advised the warrior to shift his capital to the banks of Lake Pichola.
Tourist Attractions of Udaipur
The City Palace : The largest palace of Rajasthan, with a fine combination of marble and granite, the City Palace is a jewel in Udaipur's crown. The palace overlooking Lake Pichola is renowned for exceptional crafting of its interiors. The mammoth palace complex houses three mahals – Baari Mahal, Dilkush Mahal and Moti Mahal. Apart from the mahals, there is also a temple dedicated to Dhuni Mata and a museum displaying the collections of Rana Pratap. The floor mosaics giving shape to peacock images are most impressive.
The Lake Palace : From a distance, the view of the Lake Palace is mesmerizing. Built entirely with marble, the architecture of the palace is such that it gives the impression of the palace floating on Lake Pichola. Now converted into a luxury hotel, this magnificent palace can only be reached by boat.
Jagdish Temple :Located close to the City Palace, Jagdish Temple has some fine sculpted images and ornamented interiors. Near the temple complex is Sahelion-ki-Bari or the Garden of Maidens. The garden has four pools and meticulously carved kiosks in marble.
Crystal Gallery: Located at Fateh Prakash Palace, the Crystal Gallery features an exquisite collection of crystals ordered from F & C Osler England by erstwhile Maharana Sajjan Singh. The gallery was opened to public in 1994. The gallery houses masterpieces in crystal including tables, sofa sets, dressers, fountains, beds, washing bowls, decanters, perfume bottles and even a richly ornamented crystal carpet.
Jag Mandir: The temple of Lord Jagdish, this is where Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628-1652) gave shelter to Prince Khurram when he was about to attack his father Emperor Jehangir. It is believed that Shah Jahan was so mesmerized with the architecture of this temple, that this became his inspiration to build the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra.
Unique Experiences of Udaipur
Boat Cruise on Lake Pichola: When in Udaipur, it is work cruising along Lake Pichola appreciating the serenity of Lake Palace and the gigantic City Palace in the background. A number of cafes and restaurants now adorn the lake side, offering a variety of options for fine dining after the cruise.
Local Markets of Udaipur
Udaipur offers traditional artifacts and clothes from earthen to colorful designs and patterns, silver and imitation jewelry, hand stitched local wear, colorful beads, sequins with hand-block printed patterns. Paintings, Miniatures, Contemporary Art, Marble Handicrafts, Metal Furniture, Carpets & Rugs makes it a shoppers’ paradise. The narrow alleys of the City Palace Complex provide varieties of shops for ethnic miniature paintings created in the original style of the Mewar School of Art.
Lake Palace Road (stalls): Lake Palace Road, a renowned bazaar in Udaipur, offers a spectrum of goods ranging from metal furniture, wooden artifacts, marble carvings, paintings, statues, silver jewelry, brassware, colorful fabrics, traditional batik saris, folk toys, greeting cards, handmade paper, tie and dye printed saris, to carpets etc.
Chetak Circle: A prominent shopping bazaar in Udaipur, Chetak Circle sells a variety of goods including wooden folk toys, wall hangings, hand printed textiles, colorful dyed fabrics, turbans, silver jewelry and miniature paintings available in marble, paper, ivory, wood and silk.
Rajasthali: The state owned handicraft emporium, Rajasthali is an ideal place to shop for fine quality pieces of art and souvenirs.
Hathipol: Here one can find beautiful jootis (traditional embroidered leather sandals), wooden souvenirs, camel leather items and sweetmeat shops.
Bapu Bazaar: If someone is looking for regular shopping, head on towards Bapu Bazaar. The clustered shops over here sell everything from readymade textiles, crockery, homeware, food products and the innumerable bric-a-brac that characterize any Indian marketplace.
Eating Out in Udaipur
There are plenty of eateries in Udaipur where you can find spicy Rajasthani delicacies along with a variety of continental and Indo-chinese dishes.
Natraj Lodge: Justifiably famous throughout town for its delicious all-you-can-eat Gujarati thalis - this place is permanently busy with locals.
The Savage Gardens: Earlier a 'haveli' of the 'Rajpurohit' (royal priest), The Savage Gardens is now in shades of the bluest blue by an enthusiast German. Feel the exoticness of the ambiance while walking through the intimate lanes, criss-crossed over the gardens. The menu is equally imaginative, largely Indian with a slight tint of Italian cuisine.
Jagat Niwas Palace: This is a delightful, peaceful restaurant with wonderful lake views, and particularly good fish dishes and biryani (steamed rice with meat or vegies). It's wise to book ahead in the evening.
Taj Lake Palace: For the ultimate luxurious indulgence, dine at the dazzling marble floored platform afloat Lake Pichola, decorated with beautiful flowers and illuminated with candles, providing a fairytale setting that could kindle a modern-day romance. The Pontoon is a perfect place to savor a quiet meal with your companion. With a picturesque view of the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, city palace and the beautifully lit up city of Lakes, the Pontoon creates a magical effect. You will be whisked away to this magnificent setting where you can enjoy the delicacies exclusively prepared for you by the Palace Chef.