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Tourist 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. This is our list of best tourist places to visit when 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!
The perfect tourist haunt of Udaipur, Lake Pichola is Udiapur’s claim to fame when it comes to lakes. There is a famous quote by Kipling that resonates even today on the banks of Lake Pichola. He said — “If the Venetian owned the Pichola Lake, he might say with justice, `see it and die.’” Mornings as well as evenings are beautiful here, nights decked up like a queen. As boats zip past and city lights illuminate its skyline, you get to see the sleepy town of Udaipur come alive for another colourful evening. Palaces, hills and temples are all visible from here.
Fateh Sagar Lake
Udaipur is a city of lakes, then how can we not talk about the Fateh Sagar Lake? It is the second largest in Udaipur and falls on the north end of Pichola Lake. Of course it’s an artificial lake built back in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh. The lake buoys three islands that can be reached by a ferry or boat for recreation. The largest island here is populated with a restaurant and garden for picnics and parties. A zoo and picnic place are also developed and maintained for families. The second island has fountains and gardens, while the third is the best so far is you are into the cosmos and sun — it is a solar observatory! The best in all of Asia.
Around 47 km from Udaipur is the temple town of Nathdwara, home to the Shrinathji Temple. It is a very coveted place for all those who are interested religion, Lord Krishna, pichwai paintings, meenakari decor, leheriya fabrics and attar. The temple of Lord Shrinathji, who is a manifestation of the 7-year old Krishna, is a small hut, around which, the temple premises have cropped up over the centuries. The blue painting, frescoes, paintings, marble carvings and beauty of this temple, as well as the grandeur of Moti Mahal beside it are worth seeing.
Gulab Bagh and Zoo
If you are in Udaipur with kids or are interested in flora-fauna, then this is the perfect place to spend a day. The Gulab Bagh, as the names suggests, is home to a huge number of roses as well as other flowers. The adjoining zoo is your typical go-to place to see animals like deer, tiger and lion, feed birds and take a toy-train ride.
Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace
Yes, Udaipur was that royal. Its kings had their own monsoon palace sitting on a hill. Built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1800s, this place was used in summer to approximate the arrival of monsoon, and during monsoon, to enjoy a holiday from the lowlands and court life. The Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace overlooks Lake Pichola and gives you majestic views of the city. Especially when it rains, of course! Nearby is the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary where you will see sambhar deer, tiger and neelgai roaming around the corner.
Udaipur Solar Observatory
As discussed earlier, the Udaipur Solar Observatory is a one of its kind. Located on the third island of Fateh Sagar Lake, this is the best observatory in all of Asia to track the movement of the sun. It follows the blueprint of Big Bear Lake (California). Here you get to see sharp images of the sun, observe a line of telescopes and enjoy drowning in all the geography of the sun.
Jaisamand is second largest lake in Asia and is rimmed by the Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary. This imparts perfect peace and tranquility to the place, making it coveted for some off time from the city noise. The interesting part of this lake is that it holds three islands and they are home to the Bhil Minas tribes. These tribes are also welcoming of tourists so you can take a boat here. Or you can just go for a boat ride around the lake and enjoy the fertile aquatic life of the lake.
Hathi Pol Bazaar
Some shopping in Udaipur is always a good idea. And what better place to indulge in it than Hathi Pol Bazaar? Here you will get everything from local cottage industries products to arts and crafts from indigenous sources. There are pieces of miniature, meenakari, folk art as well as marble statues. What is most astonishing is the Pichwai painting, an art form from the nearby town of Nathdwara that portrays the various lilas of Lord Krishna on cloth, painted in intricate sketches and subtle food colours and root dyes.
Eklingji is an avatar of Rudra, the god that protects the travellers of the ghats. Eklingji is hence also the kuldevta of the royal families of Mewar, where ghats abide. The Eklingji Temple of Kailash Puri in Udaipur is as old as 1400 years. The first temple on this land was built by Bappa Rawal, and later renovations and revamps have resulted in the current structure. Deities of Saraswati, Parvati, Kartik, Ganesh and Nandi also reside in this temple, along with 108 smaller temples spread in the arena. Come here for some spiritual time as well as to appreciate the architecture of this marvel.
How to enjoy a Sunday evening in Udaipur? Come to Sukhadia Circle!
There is the lake nearby where boat rides abide, camels run on roads and horses are also ready to be mounted. And when you are done enjoying all this, the street food arena — an open courtyard in the corner is THE BEST. From Indian style pastas to chowmein, from pav bhaji and chhole to Kashmiri Pulav… Sukhadia Circle will give you foodgasm over and over again.
Gangaur is a festival of married life and fertility, celebrated by the Mewari women who worshipping Gan and Gaur, i.e. Shiv and Parvati. It is four-day long and the women deck up every day to come to the Gangaur Ghat of their village or city and celebrate together. In Udiapur, the Gangaur Ghat is located on Lake Pichola, and is best visited during this festival in March. On all other days, this ghat is perfect for a sunset or to indulge in nature photography. Other waterside festivals like Navratri, Jal Jhulni Ekadashi and Ganesh Chaturthi are also celebrated here.
Folklore goes, Maharana Pratap was fatally injured in the battle of Haldighati. But before the enemy could get to him and finish him, his horse Chetak ran like the storm itself, crippling all those who came in his way. He ran, ran and ran from the battlefield with his master half-dead on his back, and jumped across the mountain pass of Haldighati to deliver the Maharana safely home. The Maharana made a full recovery, but his horse, alas died at that very instant. Such loyalty was rewarded by Maharana Pratap in the form of the Chetak Smarak in Haldighati. There is a museum here that you must visit to know more about the Maharana and his heroic horse, as well as Balicha Village nearby that is renowned for its terracotta crafts.
Haldighat is 40 km from Udaipur.