Udaipur – From the heart of a Traveller, the eye of an Architect and the Palate of a Foodie

I took this trip in October , 2016 and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to write this post.

October was the month that the 4th year of Architecture had really started to get on everyone’s nerves. Juries, Submissions and deadlines were driving me up the wall and that’s why I decided that as soon as the storm was over I was going to run to a new place , even if it meant taking a flight on Diwali day just to spend the evening in Udaipur.

When it comes to Hotel selection, my reputation precedes me. I’m known to go to unprecedented extents to get good deals on Great Hotels and I was a 100% thrilled just by standing at the threshold of my hotel, The Lake Picchola Hotel.

My family and I are not the kind to over-obsess about the number of stars behind the name of a Hotel. We care more for beauty, rustic atmosphere and ambiance.

In my opinion our hotel was a constant and beautiful reminder of us being in Rajasthan and the fact that it was placed on the Lake, head on was a true serenade to Udaipur.

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There’s a lot to see and do in Udaipur. There’s a lot I saw on Google but a lot of small discoveries I made so read on and discover my secret Udaipur hacks.

Sight Seeing-

A simple google search would list down City Palace, Jag Mandir,Bagore ki Haveli, Fateh Sagar Lake, Saheliyon ki Baari, Gangaur Ghat and the Vintage Classic Cars Museum. 

I did most of these and I’ll list some of the absolute must do’s. Watch out for my Bro Tips, so that you can save some money and avoid getting cheated.

City Palace

Definitely at the top of my list and an absolute must visit for history lovers, photographers and just anybody who loves a good view.

It is essentially a cluster of buildings forming the palace complex comprising of the Daawat-I-Aam, Daawat-I-Khas,Maharani Palace and some beautiful courtyards and terraces.

Some of my favourite parts of the palace were the Sheesh Mahals and intricate glass work. 

The Peacock Gallery is known for the 3 grand peacock wall works inlayed with thousands of glass pieces, each strand of every feather is a different piece of glass.

Simply GORGEOUS.

The Complex also houses the crystal gallery, the largest private collection of crystal in the world. Maharaja Sajjan Singh was an admirer of arts and had a love for crystal. His entire collection has been exhibited in the gallery. The fine crystal was all imported from the the Birmingham based company ‘Ossler’ and these special collections are not only glassware and candle stands but entire beds, side tables and other furniture made completely of crystal.

Bro Tip-

For hungry souls looking for a delicious, hearty meal after a tiring round of sight seeing, Palki Khana is a wonderful restaurant serving authentic Continental and French food. We loved every single dish we ordered.

Every evening a sound and light show is organised for tourists. It’s probably a good time to visit in the evenings.

Sunset Terrace is another beautiful restaurant facing Lake Pichola head on. Although the restaurant timings read 7:30am to 10:30 pm, the day that I went they were closed in the afternoons. It definitely looked like a gorgeous place to dine at.

Jag Mandir

Jag Mandir is basically an island heritage hotel located on the southern part of Lake Pichola. It is accessible only by ferry from the City Palace. It was a palace that was converted into a hotel and is now a tourist spot and also a venue for weddings.

The striking feature is most definitely the view of the waters from almost all spots. On the island.The terrace makes for a good place to capture the lake in all its beauty. 

The hotel has a beautiful garden along the waters, a large courtyard with outdoor seating as well as a restaurant facing the lake. 

I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant for a meal at all. The food isn’t too good, the waiters are disinterested and rude and the prices aren’t attractive at all.

I’d say, order a coffee, soak in the wonderful view and move on.

Fateh Sagar Lake

Fateh Sagar Lake is one of the four main artificial lakes of Udaipur city and it houses 3 islands within its circumference. 

2 of these are public gardens accessible by boat. The lake is surrounded by a road in some parts and is lined with small joints selling sandwiches, dosas and other snacks.

The whole area becomes a popular tourist area hub flocked by crowds in the evenings. 

To be honest packs of people are not exactly my thing on vacations so I chose to stay away from this area, I also missed out on the opportunity to see the little islands within the lake unfortunately.

Saheliyon-ki- Baari

Saheliyon ki Bari is a beautiful garden with important historical significance. It was made by Rana Sangram Singh so that he could present it to his queen and the 48 maids who came along with her.

The park is situated close to Fateh Sagar Lake and is best known for its numerous fountains and marble work.

As an architecture student what enthralled me the most were the water features of the garden. These water features were built in 1734 and are operational to date. At the time of construction there was not a single water pump installed and all the fountains and falls operated purely by pressure created by gravity.

The detailing is beautiful and this retreat gives you a glimpse into the luxurious lives of Indian royalty.

Bro Tip-

There are a lot of bogus guides standing outside the park waiting to entice you with some self fabricated historical stories. DON’T FALL FOR IT. In fact even I got duped into hiring a guide who told us an entirely false story and it was only on speaking to some of the locals that we realized that we had been fooled!

Gangaur Ghat

Gangaur Ghat is a typical step down into the waters of Lake Pichola. It faces some popular hotels and has a clear view of the Taj Lake palace. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to main Gangaur Ghat and only saw it from a distance. I can only imagine what a beautiful view one must have standing at the steps of the Ghat.

It seems like a great place to get some pictures, view the calm lake and enjoy some of the local culture

Vintage Classic Cars Museum

This place is exactly what the name says it is. If you’re a a car buff, this is the place for you! They have some gorgeous cars over 70 years old and each one of them is in working condition.

Each vehicle has belonged to a member of the royal family at some point in time.

If you and your partner love cars you can even schedule yourself a pre booked date and eat a meal , course by course amidst these motor beauties. 

In other information, some of these cars can even be hired for weddings or other special events.

Concluding my article all I can say is Udaipur is definitely a city I’d love to keep coming back to. It is definitely THE MOST romantic city of India and there is just so much to do! A single trip cannot begin to cover it. Right from the small lanes and boutiques to the five star hotels every aspect of Udaipur is beautiful and a 100% worth visiting.

 

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