Udaipur – The Lake City of Rajasthan

Cradled in the Aravali ranges, The City of Udaipur is a popular destination in Rajasthan known for its history, culture, scenic locations, beautiful roads and Rajput-era palaces. Adorned by a network of freshwater lakes and dotted with symbols of Rajasthani heritage, Udaipur is known as the “City Of Lakes” and the “Kashmir of Rajasthan.”

The different lakes in the city and adjoining monuments are a treat for people looking for heritage walks and capturing good frames. A plethora of luxury heritage resorts also makes it one of the best destinations in India for honeymoon couples and a leisure vacation. The city falls under the Golden Quadrilateral highway network with roads passing through the picturesque Aravali hills, making it an ideal destination for road trips.

About Udaipur

Udaipur has been named after its founder Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia clan. Founded in 1553, Udaipur served as the capital for the Mewar kingdom in the former Rajputana agency. After Akbar laid a siege on Chittorgarh, Maharana Udai shifted his capital to Udaipur and it remained the capital till 1818 before it became a British princely state.

Image Source: Claude Chauvin (Flickr) 

One of the most distinctive features of Udaipur that set it apart from other historically rich cities of Rajasthan is its considerably extensive lake system. Rightly known as the ‘lake city of Rajasthan’, Udaipur is home to five major freshwater lakes – Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Swaroop Sagar Lake, Rangsagar and DoodhTalai Lake.

Location & How To Reach:

Udaipur is located in Southern Rajasthan near the Gujarat border. It is surrounded by the Aravali ranges that separates it from the Thar Desert.

Udaipur is well connected via road and rail routes and has a beautifully built airport on the outskirts of the city.

Nearest Railway Station: Udaipur City railway station (6 km from City centre)
Nearest Airport: Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur (20 km from City Centre)

Distance From Nearby Cities:

Udaipur to Delhi: 660 km (12 hrs)
Udaipur to Surat: 496 km (9 hrs)
Udaipur to Ahmedabad: 262 km (5 hrs)
Udaipur to Jaipur: 393 km (6 hrs)
Udaipur to Jodhpur: 250 km (5 hrs)
Udaipur to Kota: 285 (6 hrs)

Getting around in the City:

Bikes, Bicycles, Scooters and Cars are easily available on rent in Udaipur. The rent would depend on the make of the vehicle and could cost dearer in the peak season.
App based cab services like Ola and Uber also function in Udaipur.
Besides you can also take autos or rent a private taxi to visit places in the city.

Things to See & Do In Udaipur (Within 50 kms)

From beautiful lakes to architectural marvels, Udaipur has some of the most beautiful tourist spots in the country.

City Palace Of Udaipur 

The City Palace of Udaipur is a conglomeration of royal palaces built over 400 years. The architecture of the palace has been a contribution of several Rajput rulers of the Mewar dynasty. Besides flaunting its architectural finesse, the palace also gives panaromic views of the city and the surrounding Lake Pichola.

Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (All days)
Entry Fees: Adults (INR 300), Children (INR 100) & Students (INR 100)

Image Source: Ankit Surti (Flickr)

Lake Pichola

An artificial fresh water lake built around 650 years ago; Lake Pichola has a few islands that house some of the most beautiful palaces in Udaipur including the famous Jagmandir Palace. The Lake is surrounded by a number of heritage buildings, temples, bathing ghats, restaurants and hotels. A number of bag-packer hostels in Udaipur are also located on the banks of this lake. A visit to this lake would be incomplete without a boat ride especially during the Sunset.

Entry Fees & Timings: NA

Image Source: Abhinav Sharma (Flickr)

Jagdish Temple

A beautiful fusion of Indo-Aryan style, Jagdish temple is a magnificent Hindu temple located right outside the City Palace. The chief deity at the temple is Lord Vishnu who is worshiped as Jagannath here.

Entry Fees: Free
Timings:
Summer: 5AM – 2:30 PM, 4 PM – 10:30 PM
Winter: 5:30 AM – 2:30 PM, 4 PM – 10 PM

Image Source:  Justin Klubnik (Flickr)

Jag Mandir Palace

A palace built on an island on Lake Pichola, Jag Mandir Palace is one of the most picturesque places in Udaipur. This palace has once served as an asylum for Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, Mumtaz & their sons – Prince Dara and Prince Aurangzeb. Boat rides to the palace are available from the fort and the prices vary according to the timings and the season. It could cost anywhere between Rs 400 – Rs 700. A sunset boat ride here would be an amazing experience.

Entry Fees: Free (You need to pay just for the boat ride)
Timings: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Open on all days)

Image Source: Gautam Paardake (Flickr)

Bagore Ki Haveli

A haveli located right on the banks of the famous lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat built by the then prime minister of the Mewar state – Amar Chand Badwa in the 18th century. The Haveli has 138 rooms around the courtyard. Every evening at 7pm, cultural performances are held at the Haveli. A 70-year old dancer takes the centerstage later in the evening balancing a tower of earthen pots on her head.

Entry Fees: Rs 60 for the haveli. Rs 100 for the Cultural Program
Timings: 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. Cultural Program after 7 PM

Image Source:  misstravelography (Instagram)

Fateh Sagar Lake

Named after Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur, Fateh Sagar is one of the four main lakes of the city. Speedboat and ferry rides are very easily available on the shores which take you to the heart of the lake and give you a breathtaking view of the sunset. Also, a lot of eateries and roadside food stalls are available till late in the night on the periphery of the lake.

Image Source:  CamelKW (Flickr)

Sajjangarh Palace

Also known as Monsoon palace, Sajjangarh is a palatial residence located on top of a hill. Named after Maharana Sajjan Singh who built it in 1884, the palace gives a beautiful view of the lakes and the city. Besides a panoramic view of the city, the palace is popular for its breathtaking view of the sunset.

Image Source: Daniel Mennerich (Flickr)

Jaisamand Lake

Also known as Dhebar Lake, Udaipur’s Jaisamand lake is the second largest artificial lake in India after Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar in Uttar Pradesh. The bank of Dhebar lake is adorned by marble cenotaphs and a small Shiv temple. Surrounded by hills and a couple of palaces, the lake is one of the most serene places in the city.

Image Source:  Vinay Bhatia (Flickr)

Haldighati

Located around 40 km from Udaipur, Haldighati is a mountain pass in the Aravali hills where the famous battle of Haldighati was fought between the Mewar kingdom led by Maharana Pratap and Akbar’s army. The significance of the place and its turmeric-colored soil makes Haldighati a must-visit tourist spot.

 Cultural Festivals

Udaipur celebrates a number of cultural festivals with fervor. Some of the most important cultural festivals observed are:

The Gangaur Festival: Celebrated in the month of March, the festival is observed by women who worship Gauri, wife of Lord Shiva. Traditional processions fill the streets of Udaipur with chariots, carts and local performers to celebrate the arrival of spring and harvest.

Mewar Festival:  Celebrated during the month of March, the festival welcomes the season of spring. Markets and local shops are decorated with vibrant colors and bright lights during this festival.

The Shilpigram Festival: Udaipur becomes host to the Shilpgram Fair every year during the month of November. Held in the west of the city, the crafts fair is the perfect destination to get a closer glimpse of Rajasthan’s artistic side. Hand woven clothes, mirror work and items made of camel leather make for great souvenirs that you would like to take home from Udaipur.

Rajasthani Cuisine

Rajasthani Thalis are highly recommended that serve up a variety of local dishes. Most of the restaurants in Udaipur would have a Rajasthani Thali in their menu.  To get the authentic flavor of Rajasthan, try one of the most popular restaurants in the city called ‘The Traditional Khana’.

Best Time to Visit Udaipur

The mercury crosses over 40 degrees during the summer season. Thus, making it extremely hot and unsuitable to visit Udaipur.

The rainy season makes the city plush green, makes the landscapes greener and decreases the mercury making this time highly recommended for a visit to Udaipur.

Winters make the climate in the city pleasurable with bright sunny mornings and pleasantly cold nights. Therefore, winter months are also an appropriate time to visit the lake city. The temperature during winter season ranges anywhere between 5 and 30 degrees.

For tourists who would like to witness the rich culture of Rajasthan up close, visiting Udaipur during the month of March is a good idea. This is the time when many cultural festivals, including the Mewar and the Gangaur festival, take place.

 Accommodation Options In Udaipur:

Udaipur is popular for its heritage properties that have been restored and transformed into luxurious 5-star hotels. A night at these luxurious properties can cost anywhere between Rs. 10,000- Rs. 70,000 during peak season. These hotels are best suited for honeymooners or for couples who are on an extravagant holiday.

There is a plethora of budget hotels options though most of the hotels with lake views would be a tad expensive. Budget hotel chains Oyo and Treebo also run properties in the city. A night at a good budget hotel in Udaipur, without burning a hole in your pocket, will cost anywhere between Rs. 1000 -Rs. 2500 depending on the season.

Udaipur also has several hostels which charge anywhere between Rs. 400-Rs. 700 a night for a comfy bed. Several such hostels are located on the banks of the many lakes with a picturesque view.

Where To Head Next From Udaipur? (Within 50 -300 kms)

 Chittorgarh  (113 kms, 2 Hours)

Chittorgarh is the home to Iargest fort of India & Asia – The Chittor Fort. This place is one of the most historically significant places in the country with legends of Rani Padmini (that inspired the popular movie Padmavat) and Maharana Pratap. Chittorgarh stands as a testimony to the valour of Rajputs during the medieval era.

Image Source: Tomas Tamos (Flickr)

Kumbhalgarh (102 kms, 2 Hours)

A 15th century Fort built by Rana Kumbha, the historically important fort of Kumbhalgarh has walls that extend upto 38 kms. The Kumbhalgarh fort is amongst the largest wall complexes in the world, and the second largest fort in Rajasthan after Chittor. This fort looks even more enchanting during the Monsoon.

Image Source: Amit Rawat (Flickr)

Ajmer (265 kms, 4.5 Hours)

One of the major cities in the state of Rajasthan, Ajmer is famous for the Ajmer Sharif Dargah and the architecturally rich Soniji Ki Nasiyan Jain temple.

Image Source: east med wanderer (Flickr)

Pushkar (277 kms, 5 Hrs)

A pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Sikhs., Pushkar is a small town located near Ajmer in Rajasthan. It is known for its numerous temples, Ghats and the annual Camel Fair in autumn that attracts over 200,000 people.

Image Source: Nidhi Srivastava (Flickr)

Jodhpur (250 kms, 4.5 hours)

The second largest city in Rajasthan, Jodhpur was the capital of the Marwar kingdom. Also known as the ‘Blue City’, Jodhpur is famous for its palaces, forts and temples set in the landscape of the Thar Desert.

Image Source: Laurent (Flickr)

Mount Abu (165 km, 3 Hrs)

Often referred to as “The Oasis In Desert”, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan with rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests. The Achalgarh Fort, Dilwara Temples and Guru Shikhar peak are the main attractions at Mount Abu.

Image Source: harshdhulia (Flickr)

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