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Udaipur diaries: Plan your stay in the City of Lakes

Once the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, Udaipur was founded in the year 1558 by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia clan, when he shifted base from Chittorgarh after its siege by Mughal emperor Akbar.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2019 5:45:17 pm
Udaipur, travel, Indian Express, Indian Express news Once the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, Udaipur was founded in the year 1558 by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia clan (Source: Instagram @instaudaipur)

Think Udaipur, and the mind will pull an image of an exuberant destination wedding, straight out of a Bollywood film. But, the City of Lakes is more than that. Rich in culture, natural serenity, beautiful cityscape, markets, cafes, places of historical significance, food and warmth, Udaipur makes for a must-visit city.

Once the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, Udaipur was founded in the year 1558 by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia clan, when he shifted base from Chittorgarh after its siege by Mughal emperor Akbar.

Best time to visit

If you enjoy rains and photography, the monsoon months of July to September are ideal. The lakes appear pristine, and the city looks flushed and green. But, if you want to escape the unforgiving winters of northern India, then the months beginning October and leading up to February are perfect.

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udaipur, travel, Indian Express news During monsoon, the lakes appear pristine, and the city looks flushed and green. (Source: Instagram @udaipurblogger)

Places of interest

Udaipur has many attractions, so plan your itinerary around your travel objective. If you wish to see places of historical interest, start your journey with the City Palace situated on the banks of Lake Pichola. The sprawling palace is immaculately maintained, and has many stories to share. Since this is not a token sightseeing spot, keep a lot of time in hand to explore the entire complex. The present-day royal family still resides here.

Next, check out the Bagore Ki Haveli on Gangaur Ghat near Lake Pichola. Besides presenting a terrific view of the lake, the haveli has several rooms, each accessible. It also hosts a traditional Rajasthani cultural programme every evening, tickets for which you can buy a day in advance to avoid waiting in queues.

Another archaeological marvel floats on Pichola. It is called the Jag Mandir Palace and is a boat ride away from the City Palace.

udaipur, travel, Indian Express news Since the City Palace is not a token sightseeing spot, keep a lot of time in hand to explore the entire complex. (Source: Instagram @ricketyroads)

Don’t forget to head to Jagdish Temple — dedicated to Lord Vishnu — which you will find right outside the royal palace. The temple has withstood attacks and acts of vandalism in the past, because of which some its carvings are disfigured.

The Monsoon Palace, also called the Sajjangarh Palace, is located slightly outside the main city. It was once the royals’ monsoon retreat. Located atop a hill, it is a beautiful sunset spot.

Remember to visit Saheliyon ki Bari — literally meaning the Garden of Maidens — located near Lake Fateh Sagar. The sprawling gardens used to be the residence of the princesses’ maids.

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What to eat

If quaint cafes are your thing, then you will find them aplenty in the alleys leading up to Gangaur Ghat.

Shop

There is no dearth of shopping places in Udaipur. In fact, you will find something of worth in every nook, corner and alley. It is good to have an idea of exactly what it is that you are looking for. There are several shops in the vicinity of the City Palace, where you can bargain to your heart’s content.

Experience

udaipur, travel, Indian Express news When dusk falls, the City Palace lights up and looks stunning. (Source: Instagram @arpitvjyphotography)

When dusk falls, you will find groups gathered on the Ambrai Ghat — on the other side of Lake Pichola — clicking pictures, enjoying the breezy evening and having impromptu singing sessions. The City Palace lights up and looks stunning. Walk along the lake or sit down for some solitude. You will also find much-needed serenity on the banks of Lake Fateh Sagar. Unlike Pichola, Fateh Sagar does not have as many attractions, but is ideal for couples seeking quality time.

If you enjoy exploring, discover Udaipur on foot, or take the local transport for travelling short distances.

Return next week, as we take you on another exciting journey, to another interesting corner of the country.

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