Places To Visit In Udaipur
Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes is a thoroughly exotic city that is high on culture and tourist activities. There are five gorgeous lakes, beautiful green gardens, lovely fountains, impressive palaces & looming forts. All this against the backdrop of the grand old Aravallis! A number of the old mansions here have been converted into heritage hotels. There is a crystal museum, a vintage car museum, an ethnic crafts village and a bunch of havelis and temples with great architectural design quotient. When you're in Rajasthan, give Udaipur a shot. There's no way you can leave it disappointed. Here are our top picks for things to see and do in Udaipur:
Udaipur City Palace
Take a trek back in time at the City Palace at Udaipur; one of the most spectacular architectural feats of Rajasthan. Located on the peaceful banks of Lake Pichola, this majestic palace complex, comprising of 11 different palaces, is a hot tourist attraction in Udaipur. City Palace has various towers, domes, arches, and a marvellous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. It is surrounded by daunting fortifications and is built of granite and marble. Somewhere within the labyrinth of this royal complex, you will find eight marble arches under which the Maharajas used to weigh themselves against the weight of solid gold and silver. You will also be able to see an arena where elephant fights used to be staged. Though the 11 odd palaces that make up the City Palace complex were built by different rulers, they all still have a strong thread of design running through them like the styles of art, antique furniture, exquisite mirror-work & tile ornamentation.
Jain Temple at Ranakpur
The Ranakpur Jain temples are located at a distance of around 95 kilometres to the north of Udaipur. They are renowned for their spectacular classical architecture. The temples are wholly constructed of light coloured marble stone. More than 1400 exquisitely carved pillars support the temples. The temple ceilings are an intricate web of foliate scrollwork and geometric patterns. High above, at a height of 45 feet on the columns, are engravings of nymphs playing the flute in various dance poses. Each column is intricately carved and you would be amazed to know that no two columns have the similar design.
Bagore Ki Haveli is an ancient classical Rajasthani mansion in the vicinity of Udaipur's largest lake - Lake Pichola. Its regal architectural detail boasts of delicate carved work and excellent glass work. It was initially built in the 18th century and built upon over the years. Showcased at this museum of sorts, is a beautifully done up chunk of royal, Rajputana living. Jewellery boxes, dice-games, hukkas, pan boxes, nut crackers, hand fans, rose water sprinklers, copper vessels etc can be seen here. The Queen's Chamber showcases the most beautiful paintings of Mewar. The mosaic peacocks in here can dazzle any onlooker. The interiors of the Haveli are embellished with intricate mirror- work. A stroll about the Haveli will reveal the private quarters of the royal ladies, their bath rooms, dressing rooms, bed rooms, living rooms, worship rooms and recreation rooms. In the evenings, performances showcasing the folk dance and music of Rajasthan are held. All in all a spectacular experience!
Shilpgram Crafts Village
People who love shopping will love Udaipur. And the Shilpgram Crafts village is akin to paradise for lovers of Rajasthani arts and crafts. The village has two museums where objects of daily use that depict the art and culture of tribal life are exhibited. Craftsmen are invited over to demonstrate their works in front of the visitors at the Shilpgram. At Shilpgram, you will find modern urban styles of art mingled with traditional rural styles, to produce stunning ceramic and clay artefacts, and fine art. A vital attraction of the Shilpgram village is the open air amphitheatre, which can accommodate almost 8000 people. Traditional folk songs, dances and dramas are performed in this amphitheatre during the annual Shilpgram festival.
Vintage Car Museum
An intriguing tourist attraction in the city of Udaipur is the Vintage & Classic Car Collection belonging to the House of Mewar. The cars are well maintained and many of them are still in perfect running condition! Some of the cars on display are, the Rolls-Royce, 1939 Cadillac open convertibles, some rare Mercedes models, and some 1936 Vauxhall, and 1937 Opel models. The impressive collection is housed in a semi-circular palace garage which was built at a time when the only cars in town belonged to the Royal Family.
The Crystal Gallery
Elegant sofas with crystal hand rests and legs, a four-poster bed made of glittering crystal, tables, sparkling thrones and shimmering fountains, perfume and honey bottles, trays and cups, plates and champagne glasses, candle stands and coasters all made of pure crystal are quite the sight to behold. The crystals in this gallery were ordered by Maharaja Sajjan Singh from the famous manufacturers F and C Osler Company, Birmingham, England around 1877 A.D. The Crystal Gallery in Udaipur is over 130 years old!