Udaipur is one of my favorite city in Rajasthan and has its own charm. Udaipur is also known as the city of lakes because of the 5 prominent Lakes in and around the city. There are many beautiful places to visit in Udaipur and every time I go, I discover something new.
The Lake Pichola is the heart of the city. It is surrounded by monuments, haveli’s, temples, hotels, cafes, restaurants, and on one side are hills. There are 4 islands in the lake Pichola but only two islands named Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas are significant. On one is India’s most popular hotel Taj Lake Palace, which was earlier known as Jag Niwas. This 4-acre island is now converted into a luxury hotel with 83 rooms & suites. It is open for guest staying there, others are not allowed. The second important island is Jag Mandir, it has a restaurant which is open for everyone. It is accessible by boats and there is a regular boat service for tourist from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM. A part of the island is converted into a hotel and is popular among people looking for a different experience.
During my this trip to Udaipur, I first traveled to Chittorgarh from Delhi and then to Udaipur, which is 120 Km.
Read more about Chittorgarh here.
There are few early morning and afternoon trains from Chittorgarh to Udaipur but I decided to travel by Rajasthan roadways bus service. The bus service between Rajasthan’s main cities is quite good, they have normal as well as AC Volvo buses. I have booked tickets for a Volvo bus for me and my friends, the best part was that we got 30% discount on bus tickets. The Rajasthan government has a scheme and RSRTC gives this discount to all women travelers. The road between Chittorgarh to Udaipur is in very good condition, which made our travel faster & comfortable.
We reached Udaipur before noon and checked in to our pre-booked hotel near Lake Pichola. Our hotel was an old haveli, which they converted into a heritage hotel. It is advisable to stay near lake Pichola because it gave me the opportunity to explore the market and ghats of lake walking. The roads are narrow around Lake Pichola but it’s the best place to experience the local culture. Most of the popular monuments like city palace and museum, Lake Pichola, Jagdish temple, Bagore ki Haveli, etc were a few minutes walking distance from our Haveli.
The most popular places to visit in Udaipur can be seen in 2 days but I think such a beautiful and culturally rich city need more time. I can go the lake Pichola or Fateh Sagar Lake every evening or morning and can happily spend time watching life going around it.
All of us don’t have the luxury of spending many days at a destination and we explore a city in short time duration. Based on my experience I am going to suggest 2 days and 3 days itinerary for Udaipur. If you are going to stay for longer then you don’t need an itinerary and everything can be explored at an easy pace.
2 days Itinerary for Udaipur
What to do on Day 1
City Palace and Museum
This the most iconic building and topmost in the list of places to visit in Udaipur. There are two entry gates to the city palace .i.e. one near Jagdish temple in the market area and another near Lake Pichola’s boating point.
There are two entry tickets for city palace Udaipur, one is for entering the compound only and another to visit the palace museum. The camera ticket for city palace is most expensive in Rajasthan.
The city palace is managed and maintained by Udaipur’s royal family through a trust, it is not under ASI of the government of India. The security staff of the museum is dressed in traditional clothes with a turban and looks very dramatic. The entry and camera tickets for city palace museum are double checked after entering the main gate of the museum.
The city palace museum is spread on different levels. It was earlier used as residential complex and public meeting place for the royal family. Every floor of the city palace museum is different in terms of decoration and architecture. Palace is predominantly decorated with multicolored mirror work or glass work.
The uppermost floor of the palace has an open courtyard with trees, benches, and verandas.
From the windows and Jharoka’s on the top floor, we saw the overview of Udaipur city with lake and surrounding hills. The view from the top is spectacular.
The museum has different items on display, which belong to the royal family.
The ground floor of the palace and courtyard are used for wedding and others functions.
I spent more than 2 hours inside the palace museum.
There is a cafe inside palace compound, which is also managed by the royal family.
Entry ticket for City Palace compound – 30 INR
Entry ticket for City Palace museum – 250 INR
Camera ticket – 250 INR
Tips for City Palace and Museum
* It is most popular place in Udaipur and remains crowded, keep that in mind.
* Visit the city palace in the early morning as soon as it opens to beat the crowd.
* Tickets are expensive and they check few times, so keep them handy and safe.
* Hang the camera ticket with your camera to avoid constant checking.
* Carry a water bottle and wear comfortable shoes.
* Don’t miss the view from the top of the palace.
It is one of the grandest gallery museums in the palace compound. There are beautiful chandeliers and crystal decoration on display in the big hall. The entry ticket for the gallery is 750 INR and photography is not allowed.
It is between city palace museum and boating point of Lake Pichola.
Boat ride in lake Pichola/Fateh Sagar
These lakes are artificial lakes but they can beat any natural lake. The surrounding areas and building around the lake make it unique in its own way.
The boat ride in Lake Pichola is incomplete without visiting Jag Mandir island. There is a ticket for going to Jag Mandir, which is actually the boat ticket for going and coming back. They use the motorized boat, which takes a loop around Taj Lake Pichola and passes in front of Ghangor ghat before going to Jag Mandir.
The Jag Mandir complex was earlier used for the recreational purpose of the royal family. The statue of elephants near the gate and around the walls with arches of island complex gives this place a grand royal look. This pristine white color complex is a masterpiece in the middle of the lake. The multicuisine restaurant Darikhana in Jag Mandir is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a drink or lunch.
The Darikhana restaurant offers an evening boat trip and dinner package, which can be booked in advance. The cover charge for a couple is 3200 INR, though the menu is limited still a good experience.
Day Boat ride ticket is 400 INR
Tips for Jag Mandir
* Don’t go there between 11.00 to 3.00 PM to beat the heat and harsh sun.
* Carry your water bottle because it is many times expensive in the restaurant of Jag Mandir.
* If you want to go for dinner then book in advance.
* Stay in the hotel on Jag Mandir if you don’t want to go out late and want peaceful surroundings. They have limited rooms.
Hill Temple of Karni Mata Ropeway and Sunset
The Karni Mata temple is on top of a hill in Udaipur. This place is popular among tourists for watching the sunset. There is a cemented pathway to climb the hill and ascent is very basic. It can be reached by Ropeway Gandola, it is fast and very popular among tourists.
Karni Mata Ropeway is not too far from the main city but its still away from busy roads of Udaipur. Tickets for Gandola ride are available on the shop outside the gate. There is always a waiting time of 10-20 minutes for a ride depending on the crowd.
In one Gandola 6 people can sit. When the ride started, it felt somewhat shaky in the beginning. Otherwise, there was no issue with it. I saw the City Palace, Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake and city area on the way up to the hill from the Gondola.
On the top of the hilltop, there were lots of people and the atmosphere was quite energetic. It was pleasant at the top due to the cool breeze. There is a small temple of Karni Mata at top and people were going inside to pay the respect to Goddess. There were two mice running in the courtyard of the temple and it was a source of amusement for kids. Interestingly people were coming out of the temple very fast and everyone was busy enjoying the view from the top.
There are a temple and open area for watching the overview of the city. There is a small tea and snack stall next to the Gondola’s boarding point.
I saw the sun setting behind the hills next to Lake Pichola and the lake’s water also turned golden during the sunset.
After sunset, the Gondola’s boarding points got very crowded. There was a long queue for coming down as everyone wanted to come down as fast as possible.
While we were coming down from hilltop it was getting dark and with the light whole area looked so different.
The ticket is 72 INR for Indian and 300 INR for Foreign tourists.
Tips for Karni Mata Ropeway
* Reach at least one hour before the sunset.
* Sit on the left side of Gandola while going up and on the right side while coming down to see the overview of the city.
* Most of the places on top are good for sunset viewing but the area near the temple is comparatively less crowded.
* If you are in rush to come down then reach the boarding point as soon as possible after the sunset to avoid queues because it’s on first come first serve basis.
* If you don’t have a car for return then book a cab through the app in advance because it gets crowded after sunset.
What to do on Day 2
Temple is only 100 meters before the main gate of city palace in the busy market area. This 17th Century 3 story marble temple was built by Mewar rulers and its presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. The main temple is built on the terrace and there is a long flight of stairs to reach the main sanctum.
The two statue of elephants on the main gate is one of the main attraction of the temple. The intricate carving is done on the pillars and sculptures of the temple. This is the most beautiful and grand temple in Udaipur.
Tips for Jagdish temple
* There are 32-33 stairs to reach the main temple.
* Keep your shoes in the show racks after climbing the stairs.
* Go at the time of Aarti to experience the electric environment.
* Temple is open to Hindus and Non-Hindus.
Saheliyo ki Badi
This 18th-century garden was made on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake. The garden’s literal meaning is “Garden of Maidens”. It was built for the queen to spend free time. The royal ladies used to relax in the pavilions of this garden.
The rain fountains in the main pavilion were built later for fun purpose. This Pavillion is surrounded by lush green gardens, fountains, lotus pool, marbled elephants sprinkling water, and many varieties of flowers.
Entry ticket is only 10 INR and no camera fee.
This royal palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh and also named after him but now it is known as Monsoon Palace. The ride to Monsoon palace is through winding roads in Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The palace is built on the top of a hilltop and gives the panoramic view of Udaipur city & lakes. On the western side of the palace are forest reserve and hills.
The gardens around the palace add to the beauty of this place. It was used by royal family during summer and monsoon months because it is slightly cooler in comparison to the city.
The sunset from the monsoon palace looks spectacular and the place gets crowded around sunset time.
Be careful of the monkeys in Monsoon Palace, they are very aggressive. Don’t open food products if they see or smell then they will attack to take it from you. While I was in Monsoon Palace monkeys attacked a group of 3-4 people but guards came with long bamboo sticks and shooed them away.
Tips for Monsoon Palace
* Book a cab or autorickshaw for to and fro trip because there is nothing available on top.
* Watch the sunset from here.
* Be careful of monkey and don’t give them eatables.
If you plan to do a 3 days Itinerary for Udaipur
On the third day visit the local markets near city palace area. There are many souvenirs shops selling clothes, bags and handicraft items. Bargain for better deals.
Saas Bahu Ka Mandir
It is 20 km from the Udaipur. This temple of Vishnu was made by the king for his mother and wife hence known as “saas-bahu ka mandir” (Meaning temple for mother in law and daughter in law). The temple is made in traditional style and is located around 5 Km from popular Eklingji temple. There is no tourist rush and place can be explored in peace.
Also, visit Shilpgram which is a living museum and Haat Bazar (Market).
It is Government of Rajasthan’s initiative to save the small handicraft industry and artisans working in cottage industry. In this market, they have displayed the culture of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, and Gujarat.
The artists manufacture the handicrafts in this market. Other than this there are traditional cultural dance and song performances during the day.
It is a good effort to save the tradition and culture for next generations.
There are different articles like jewelry and handicrafts available for buying. The best thing about buying from Shilpgram is that you are buying directly from the artist and there is no middleman involved.
Entry ticket is 30 INR for Indian and 50 INR for Foreign tourists
How to spend the evening in Udaipur
These are two shows which I recommend if you have a free evening.
There is an evening program called Dharohar dance every evening at 7.00 PM. They perform the folk dance with music, there is a light and sound show also. It is definitely a place to spend the evening.
Entry ticket 60 INR for Indian and 100 INR for Foreign tourists
Camera ticket is 100 INR
In this show, they tell the history of Udaipur city and Mewar dynasty with music and light show.
The show starts at 7.30 PM and ticket cost is 250 INR
Make an advance booking for the dinner and boat ride. It is a good way to enjoy a romantic dinner in the middle of the lake. Cover charges for a couple are 3200 INR.
* My favorite is Natraj thali, they serve fresh and whole-sum veg food. The unlimited thali is hygienic as well as tasty.
* Ambrai Restaurant is a mix of luxury and comfort. They have an outdoor as well as inner sitting arrangement facing the Lake, where they serve multicuisine.
* Savage Garden is a multicuisine restaurant in busy lanes of the city with a modern feel to it.
* Hari Nagar cafe is located on the banks of Lake Pichola and serves Indian as well as international food.
* Taj Lake Palace for the luxury stay in the middle of Lake Pichola.
* Oberoi Udaivilas is another luxury stay, it’s on the banks of Lake Pichola. The royal pavilions in it are beautiful.
* Jagat Niwas Palace is also on the banks of the lake and its for middle range budget.
* Hotel Baba Palace in front of Jagdish temple is a good budget option.
* Mewar Haveli next to Lake is another budget option.
Shopping from Udaipur
* Diaries and Journals with leather covering.
* Painting and handicraft items.
* Camel leather bags and shoes.
* Traditional artificial jewelry.
* Wall Hanging made by hand.
* Embroidered borders with mirror work. These can be patched on any garment.
* Kaju Pattita (Cashew Pattita) from JMB (Jagdish Mishthan Bhandar) can be stored for a month.
Gangaur is Udaipur’s most famous religious and cultural festival,read more about it in Festivals of India.