With only two nights altogether and one full day for sightseeing, one could mark that this short trip to Udaipur may have been way too short to get a decent impression of what beautiful sights await travelers in this gorgeous Rajasthani lakeside city. But on the other hand, if you don´t go, you won´t see, right? And travel is not always about length! I measure it in intensiveness. And that it was. So find out some of my personal recommendations that I was able to collect during my visit a few weeks ago that may be interesting and helpful for your visit to beautiful Udaipur.
Many Western tourists visit Udaipur every year, mostly backpackers or younger people traveling with light luggage. The most convenient way to bridge the 24 km from the airport into the city is by taxi. Cost lies at around 700 Rupees one way (roughly 9 Euros) which have to be paid in advance at the counter right outside the terminal building (left hand side after leaving the arrivals hall). Don´t be shy to ask other people at the baggage claim if they are willing to share the ride with you. That reduces costs and maybe you´ll make even new friends at the same time.
For the way back, have in mind that taxis in India are not always the most reliable ones when it comes to pre-ordering them for a certain time to a certain hotel. Particularly if your flight leaves in the very early morning. Most hotels do offer a private airport transportation which costs a little more (we paid 1000 Rupees). This might be the better option particularly if you generally like to arrive at the airport last-minute to avoid longer waiting periods.
Like mentioned in my previous blog post, City Palace is one of the highlights and should definitely be on your list to visit. The premise is huge and is divided into different complexes for which you will have to buy a separate ticket (250 Rupees admission pp plus 250 Rupees per camera/video camera or mobile phone with camera). Other parts of the museum like the Crystal or car exhibition come at extra cost. So does the boat ride on the lake which is surely a great experience during sunset. We only did the palace itself which can take up to 4 hours when you take your time.
One thing that I would have loved to do, but which I postponed to my next visit, is the high tea at the well-known Lake Palace Hotel. This beautiful palace is located right on the lake and has been location for the James Bond movie “Octopussy”.
The city´s most important temple Jagdish Mandir lies just around the corner from the City Palace. The temple is a monument in Udaipur and dates back to 1651. Whenever you visit religious sites in India, prepare to take your shoes off!
Just outside of Jagdish Mandir lie many, many painting schools. Udaipur is world-famous for miniature paintings and this is, in my opinion, the nicest souvenir that you are able to take home with you. Prepare to bargain though. These paintings come in every size and on different surfaces. I am sure you will find your personal favourite. I know I did :).
Gangaur Ghat is like a landing area for boats and welcomes with an impressive old gate. Locals enjoy to take a refreshing bath in Lake Pichola at this location and in the evenings you can witness the traditional Folk Dance show.
Three places that I also would have loved to see (but time was definitely against me) are Ranakpur (30 km from Udaipur and home to one of the world´s most impressive Jain temples), Kumbhalgarh Fort (100 km from Udaipur and the second largest fortress in Rajasthan) as well as Monsoon Palace, a hilltop palatial residence with amazing vistas over the lakes and the surroundings and a very popular destination for couples to watch the sunset. But even just walking around old town is a sight itself…
The Rajasthani cuisine is rich in taste and spices! There are many fantastic restaurants and bars within the historic part of town offering wonderful views of the city itself and the lakes. Peculiarly rooftop terrace restaurants are spread widely over Udaipur!
We have dined twice with lakeshore views just across the street from our gorgeous Udai Kothi hotel. The panorama over the enlightened facades of the City Palace is breathtaking! Two spots that I can recommend are the Lakeshore Restaurant and the Harigarh Restaurant. Try local specialities such as Shahi Paneer (cubes of Indian cottage cheese sautéed with ginger and onions) or Lal Mass (Rajasthani mutton cooked in a thick red onion gravy & grounded masala).
If you are in for a good cup of coffee, my personal hotspot is the water terrace of Jheel´s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery. This café offers the best views over the lake and the beautiful Lake Palace. Another place that is popular among Western tourists is the Edelweiss Café close to the Bagore Ki Haveli Museum.
So you see. There is never too short! Everything that makes you take memories back home is absolutely worth doing. Even if it is only for two nights and one day! Namaste, peeps!