It is great if you had been to Venice. If not and if you would like to know how it would feel like to be in such a lovely atmosphere, you may have to land in Udaipur, famously called the ‘Venice of the East’ and ‘The City of Lakes’. Udaipur, a city in Rajasthan is a stunning location and has a rich cultural background and a great history. The palaces reflect the architectural grandeur prevailed during the period of Rajputs and the scenic landscape is descriptive of how nature could be generous where it chooses to be.
1. Lake Palace
Famous as one of the most royale and romantic hotels in the world, Lake Palace was formerly known as Jag Niwas and is among the top Udaipur attractions. It is one of the best places to visit in Udaipur at night. The Taj Group took over the palace and has painstakingly restored and maintained the heritage of this most sought after resorts.
The Taj Lake Palace resides by the famous lake Pichola and is one of the best hotels in Udaipur for honeymoon. This huge lake comprises many islands, including the one, which has the lake palace. It is also one of the Udaipur’s best places in night. A boat ride through the lake that takes you through some of the most popular monuments of Udaipur is a must here.
2. City Palace
A palace complex built by Maharana Udai Singh, the City Palace is grandeur personified. A conglomeration of several buildings with towers, balconies and cupolas built all over, the City Palace also houses a crystal gallery, which boasts of royal artifacts and the world’s largest private collection of crystal. It is one of Rajasthan’s largest palaces and offers splendid views of Lake Pichola. A must-not-miss experience in Udaipur is the hour long Mewar Sound and Light Show. This regal rendering of the history of Mewar takes place every evening at the City Palace complex.
3. Lake Pichola
Just about everybody knows about the gorgeous Lake Pichola; it’s like another vital identity of Udaipur. It is a 4kms long man-made lake and is believed to be one of the most beautiful ones as well. Visitors to Udaipur cannot miss out on taking a boat ride on Lake Pichola which starts from Rameshwar Ghat in the City Palace. The lake has two famed islands namely Jag Niwas and Jagmandir. At Jagniwas Island one has the opportunity to witness another famous place in Udaipur – the Lake Palace (Now known as Taj Lake Palace), whereas on Jagmandir Island, one can visit the popular Jag Mandir, the palace.
4. Jagdish Temple
Built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651, Jagdish Temple, situated within the Udaipur City Palace is another one of the great works of architecture from the olden days. It has finely carved pillars, beautifully decorated ceilings, gorgeously painted walls, and spacious halls and corridors. Apart from this, the architectural expertise also extends itself to the pyramidal spire, mandap (prayer hall) and the porch. There are 50 finely carved pillars, each on the first and the second floors of the three storey temple.
5. Fateh Sagar Lake
Fateh Sagar Lake, placed in the city of Udaipur in Rajasthan, is an artificial lake named after Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur and Mewar and built to the north-west of Udaipur, located to the north of Lake Pichola in the 1680s, is one of the four lakes of the Udaipur city, namely the Lake Pichola (within the Udaipur town), Udai Sagar Lake (13 km to the east of Udaipur) and Dhebar Lake or Jaisamand Lake (52 km south east of Udaipur).
During drought conditions, when the rainfall is scarce, water storage in the lake is insufficient to meet the needs. To prevent loss of water due to evaporation, cetyl alcohol (hexadecanol) is sprayed over the lake surface.
6. Lake Garden Palace
Jagmandir or Lake Garden Palace is said to have served as an inspiration for the Taj Mahal when Shah Jahan took refuge here in his younger days. This palace has a long history and is considered one of the symbols of friendship between the Mughals and Rajputs. A series of impressive structures give this palace a regal feel and would delight any visitor.
7. The Monsoon Palace
Formerly known as Sajjangarh Palace, this royal architecture is a hilltop palatial residence. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh of Mewar Dynasty. The fort was built, basically, to watch the monsoon clouds floating by. It guarantees panoramic views of the surrounding country side and sunsets at distance. The palace is in close proximity of the Sajjangarh Wildlife sanctuary and is usually a one day trek from the palace.
8. Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple
The incredible architecture and four-faced idol of Lord Shiva (in black marble) is reason enough for you to plan an excursion to Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple, another famous religious site of Rajasthan. For one seeking solace, the cool, beautiful and calm surroundings of Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple are a must visit.
9. Saheliyon Ki Bari
‘The Garden of the Maidens’ as it literally means, Saheliyon ki Bari was constructed by Maharana Bhopal Singh. Situated in the northern part of the city, this exquisite place was built for the maids who accompanied the Princess to Udaipur (reckoned to be part of the dowry). Saheliyon kI Bari was one of those places where the maids could make merry, sing, dance and indulge in recreational activities. The garden is festooned with well-maintained fountains, kiosks, marble elephants and a delightful lotus pool. It is one delightful place that is a must visit in Udaipur!
10. Vintage Car Museum
The vintage car museum in Udaipur was unveiled for the general public on 15th February 2000 and is one of the places to visit in Udaipur. This inauguration has allowed the local and foreign visitors to appreciate the collection of cars of the Maharanas of Mewar. The vehicles in the museum are more than 70 years old but each have been beautifully restored and live in to tell the story.
The vintage car collection is placed in the Mewar State Motor Garage. This place is also home to a famous garden restaurant, The Bougainvillea. This motor garage is semi-circular in shape and with its forecourt is housed inside a bigger courtyard.
11. Bagore Ki Haveli
Bagore Ki Haveli is situated near Pichola Lake. The 18th century construction was built by Amir Chand Badwa, Chief Minister at the Royal Court of Mewar. The Haveli became the residence of Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore in the year 1878 and hence the name Bagore Ki Haveli. This was converted into museum retaining the royal touch to the building. The museum presents the culture of Mewar. The antique collections include the stuff used by Rajputs such as jewellery boxes, hand fans, copper vessels and so on. The massive building has over 100 rooms and looks splendid with its unique style of architecture. When you are there, make sure you present yourself for the shows conducted here in the evenings.
12. Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum
The Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum is a folklore museum, which displays the rich folk arts of Rajasthan including turbans, dolls, masks, paintings. If you’re interested in arts and would love to know about the heritage of Udaipur, this museum is a must for you, even if you are shortlisting places to visit in Udaipur in 2 days. Besides, there are regular puppet shows and cultural performances by local as well as guest artists. It is one of the most famous places in Udaipur.
13. Karni Mata Temple
One of the best things to do in Udaipur (along with the craziest), is to visit the Karni Mata temple. Karni Mata is a temple dedicated to the hindu goddess Karni Mata located on the Machla Magra Hills in Udaipur. This temple in Udaipur often attracts people from all across the globe who are looking for fun things to do in and around Udaipur.
14. Jain Temples
Several important places of Jain pilgrimage like the beautiful Ranakpur and Rishabhdeo Temples are also situated close to Udaipur. These temples are centuries old and adorned with intricate carvings. One of the five major Jain pilgrimage centres, the Ranakpur Temple complex is famous for its immaculate architecture and the Chaumukha Temple, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Lord Adinath.