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Udaipur

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Travel Guide Asia India Rajasthan Udaipur

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Introduction

City Palace - Udaipur

City Palace - Udaipur

© All Rights Reserved rsnamli

The city of Dawn, or the city of Lakes, Udaipur in Rajasthan is the jewel of Mewar, a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years. It is a lovely city around the azure lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravallis, a vision in white drenched in romance and beauty. Drive around the fascinating monuments that adorn the stunning landscape in this most romantic city of India, appreciating its palaces, which are straight out of a fairy-tale book, no wonder it has always been a lovely place for Film Shoots, Royal Events and even Corporate Parties. Come to Udaipur and you'll fall in love with it!

Interestingly Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur.

It was this time when Silver Coins of the Mewar State were Used as currency mentioning the alliance with British as Dosti-London and famous as Chitrakut Udaipur Coins.

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Sights

Pratap Memorial

On a hill top (known as Moti Margi or Pearl Hill), overlooking the Fateh Sagar lake is the memorial of the Rajput warrior and local hero Maharana Pratap. It is a life-sized bronze statue of Maharana Pratap balanced on his loyal and best horse, Chetak. It is believed that Chetak was a faithful horse and was extremely protective towards Maharana Pratap and stood by his master till he took his final breath. Chetak was killed in the battle of Haldighati. People visit this memorial to pay homage to the Rajput hero and to his loyal horse 'Chetak'.
The statue apparently has been featured in a Bollywood movie or two. Also, from the hill you can get some great views of Udaipur and whilst you are in the vicinity you can visit the pleasant Japanese Rock Garden and the remains of one of the forts of Udaipur, which are both located nearby.

City Palace

The City Palace is an imposing and romantic structure that towers over the lake, on a hill top, and is surrounded by crenallated walls. It's courtyards, pavilions, terraces, rooms and gardens cover a large area - it is really a series of palaces built by the Maharana Udai Singh. The main entrance is through a triple arched gate or 'tripolia' built in 1725 with eight marble porticos. In days gone by the Maharanas were weighed under the gate in gold, they were literally worth their weight in gold to their people! From the large balconies you can get a great view of the 'floating palace' or Lake Palace, the Jag Niwas on romantic Lake Pichola. The Mor-chowk (or Peacock courtyard), takes its name from the beautiful peacock glass mosaics that decorate the walls. The palace is full of antiques and paintings and decorative artifacts and furnishings and naturally receives many visitors every year.

Lake Pichola

The picturesque Lake Pichola is surrounded by hills, palaces, temples, havelis and the bathing ghats and embankments. There are two island, or floating palaces, Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) that you can reach by boat. The lake is rumoured to have been here since the 14th century but has since been enlarged by Rana Udai Singh and is now more than 3 kilometres long and more than 1.5 kilometres wide. The reflections in the lake on a clear day and the surrounding buildings create a very magical atmosphere and there is a stillness to Udaipur when you reach the waters edge which is sometimes hard to find in India!

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Activities

Activities in Udaipur range from roaming the chaotic streets to hoping on to a boat to enjoy a relaxing cruise of Lake Pichola. Various travel companies organise boat trips and the tickets are available mostly on the spot and range from Rs 50 to Rs 500. Smaller boats accommodating 2 to 4 people as well as larger boat ferrying more than 20 people are available for trips ranging from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. The most popular cruises depart at sunset, however boats are available for cruises throughout thel day.

Watching Octopussy from one of the many rooftop restaurants overlooking the lake is a a great experience. You can hear the sounds of Octopussy playing in the background on any night of the week in Udaipur. Viewing is typically free if you purchase a meal. Otherwise there is a small admission fee.

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Events and Festivals

  • Mewar festival - is usually observed during March/April to herald the arrival of spring season with all pomp and gaiety. Local markets and shops are decorated and illuminated and women are brightly dressed and participate in the dance and other cultural events held during the period.
  • Shilpgram fair - is usually held on the outskirts of Udaipur during November/December. This fair is organized to promote the arts and crafts of Rajasthan. Hand woven clothes, camel leather items, mirror works and handicrafts grab the attention of most of the visitors. It is a great opportunity for the local artists to showcase their talent and creative products in front of the audience which also includes international tourists. Apart from the shops, various musicians, traditional dances and snake charmers entertain the tourists.
  • Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu callendar. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. However it has a legend attached to it according to which an arrogant king resents his son Prahlada from worshipping Lord Vishnu. He attempts to kill his son but fails each time, finally he asks his sister Holika, who is said to be immune to burning, sits with Prahlada in fire. However Prahlada emerges alive and Holika is burnt to death. Holi commemorates this event from the Hindu mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation. This festival is also associated with the immortal love story of Krishna and Radha, and hence celebrations are spread over a period of 2 weeks in Vrindavan and Mathura - the two cities associated with Krishna. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
  • Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
  • Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
  • Ganesh Chaturthi - The ten-day September festival of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the birthday of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh with culture, concerts and feasts. The biggest events take place in Maharashtra where people worship an idol for ten days before taking it to the river or sea and drowning it.
  • Navarathri, Dussehra Festival - This theatrical Hindu festival takes place over ten days in October. The first nine feature dancing to honor the Mother Goddess. The tenth day commemorates Lord Rama’s defeat of demon king Ravana and goddess Durga’s triumph over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. The event is called Durga Puja in east India where the faithful create huge statues to immerse in the Ganges River.
  • Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.

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Weather

The presence of numerous lakes in Udaipur moderates the climatic conditions which would otherwise be experienced in a semi-arid zone. However summers (March-June) can be quite hot with temperatures over 40 °C on most of the occassions. Udaipur receives most of its annual rainfall in the moonsoon months of July to October. There are frequent thunderstorms but flooding is not common in these areas. Wintermonths of November to February have mild temperature in the range of 16 °C-20 °C. The most convenient time to visit Udaipur is the period from November to February when temperatures are mild and there is hardly any rain.

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Getting There

By Plane

Udaipur Airport, known as Dabok airport is located around 23 kilometres from the city centre and has a number of flights linking Udaipur to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Recently the airport has been upgraded to an international airport but is yet to begin international flights. Unfortunately there is no public transport from the airport to the city centre and taxis cost around 200-300 Indian rupees.

By Train

Rail link between Udaipur and rest of the country has considerably improved after the conversion of metre gauge lines to broad gauge ones. Udaipur now has direct trains to all the major cities of India. Train timings, fares and availability of seats/berths can be checked at Indian Railways, which operates the rail network in India.

By Car

Cars can be hired in Udaipur, however most travelers hire their cars in Delhi for an entire Rajasthan tour. Once in Udaipur most of the city can be navigated on foot.

By Bus

Udaipur is well connected to most of the towns of Rajasthan and some of the cities of neighbouring states like Ahmedabad by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation buses, which are efficient, safe, comfortable and affordable. Some sleeper bus services are even available to Mumbai but the journey can be long and tiresome.

Buses are either government run or private. The quality can vary from company to company. Tickets may be purchased on the bus or from any of the many hotels or travel agencies. Prices for private companies are negotiable. Prices for government buses are not. Ticket collectors are general fair and honest.

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Getting Around

By Car

Motor rickshaws are available for day tours for a small fee. They drivers will typically take you to several temples and the palace. The can be arranged through your hotel or directly with the rickshaw driver.

By Foot

Most of the sites in Udaipur are closely packed together and are easily accessible by foot. You can visit the many temples and Palace by walking from the lake front. Two bridges cross the lake allowing for easy access to the other side.
The streets in Udaipur are very crowded with pedestrians, cars, and rickshaws, however they are also very navigable. Walking is the easiest way to move around the city.

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Eat

Food in Udaipur is the standard Indian fare. Vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes are available at most restaurants. Most of the restaurants are clustered around the lake front with the most popular having high rooftops and stunning fews for sunset.
Dishes include typical Indian lentil, potato, chicken and spinach dishes. For milder flavor simply ask for "no spicy." Nan or roti are available on the side and may come with garlic or ghee (butter). Ordering rice on the side provides a more filling meal.
Desserts are also readily available throughout Udaipur. Shopfronts are lined with the sweet Indian pastries and many are made fresh on the side of the road. You must have a strong sweet tooth to enjoy these favorites.

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Sleep

Hotels in Udaipur range from low budget to high end. Almost all are clustered around the lake and must be reached by a taxi or rickshaw from the bus station. Low budget hotels are often negotiable in price. Check out the room before committing to a price. The quality can vary dramatically. Hotel costs in Udaipur are driven down by the over abundance of accommodation. Currently supply over reaches demand. Reservations are not necessary for budget travelers.

Mid-Range

  • Hotel Rajdarshan is a nice hotel with a bazaar at its entrance. It has quite nice rooms though they look a bit weathered by use.

Upscale

  • The Taj Lake Palace has a lovely location on Lake Pichola.
  • Udai Vilas is part of the Oberoi chain of hotels and is also on the banks of Lake Pichola.

View our map of accommodation in Udaipur or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Learn

Cooking classes are available in Udaipur. Classes can last several hours or a full day. Inquire at your hotel or a travel agency if you wish to attend a class.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is available through many of the hotels near the lakefront. There are also several internet cafes. Most cafes allow you to bring your own laptop and connect into their system.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost 50rs to 200rs. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 27.72176
  • Longitude: 75.469101

Accommodation in Udaipur

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Udaipur searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Udaipur and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as arida (10%), runah (8%), Peter (3%), arif_kool (3%), Lavafalls (2%)

Udaipur Travel Helpers

  • Lynne Hamman

    Udaipur is where I have spent the most time in India

    I have excellent knowledge of the city.
    I can recommend transport, shopping and sightseeing areas

    I call it my second home

    Ask Lynne Hamman a question about Udaipur

This is version 40. Last edited at 15:43 on Nov 20, 17 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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