It is often called ‘Venice of the East’ or ‘city of Lakes’. It is located in Southern Rajasthan and very close to Gujarat. One can reach here easily by road and rail. Udaipur is famous for its lakes, gardens, palaces (many of which are now converted into luxury hotels), arts, crafts and about its miniature paintings. Every year many foreign and domestic tourists visited it.
As the distance from Gurgaon to Udaipur is 650 kms and road condition on Delhi-Jaipur Expressway is not good due to on going construction, we decided to go by train. I searched on IRCTC website for tickets but due to ongoing school vacations all trains were booked. My friend advised me to take a break journey from Gurgaon to Jaipur and then take the train from Jaipur to Udaipur as there is more chances to get a reservation from Jaipur. We did the same thing, boarded the Ranikhet Express (Kathgodam to Bikaner). We reached Jaipur railway station and enquired for the train’s seat from the reservation center for Udaipur. We came to know that during vacations special Holiday Express – Lakecity Train runs daily. We immediately booked the tickets and luckily we also managed to get the reservation for our return journey on Chetak Express.
After crossing Ajmer Junction our train stopped at Nasirabad station where we saw a very big Kachori. The name for this big Kachori is Kachora. Kachora is very big round shape chapatti/kachori (bigger than the serving plates – please see the picture in google as I forgot to click it). The weight of one kachora is more than a Kg. It is made of dal, potato and local spices. It’s the most famous mouth morning snack in this area. Our fellow passengers told us that this is only found in Nasirabad and not any other part of the Rajasthan and many people specially came here to eat it.
Finally we reached Udaipur in the afternoon and here is my guide of “10 Must visit places within Udaipur”
1. Sukhadia Circle
It’s a large roundabout located on the road to Ranakpur and Mount Abu. Sukhadia Circle is well known landmark of Udaipur. This circle is made in the memory of Sh. Mohan Lal Sukhadia, Chief Minister of Rajasthan. In the center of Sukhadia Circle there is a 21m high fountain. The fountain is surrounded by circular pond and nearby to pound is pleasant gardens. Paddle boats are also available for children and families. Like other families we too enjoyed the boat ride (local people are calling them duck ride better as many boats shapes are of duck). Visitors are coming with their families or with their friends. Many roadside vendors are selling Cold drinks, snacks, toys etc. as it was crowded with kids. Best time to visit park is in the evening when light illuminated the fountain.
2. Saheliyon Ki Bari
It’s a small but well maintained garden. The place gets its name as it’s a popular relaxing spot where royal ladies came along with their friends for a leisurely walk and spend time with them. The garden was built for the royal ladies by Maharana Sangram Singh (in the 18th century). It’s a major tourist destination in Udaipur. Entry fee is very nominal and one can get enjoy a good time in the garden with family. The garden is famous for its lush green lawns, fountains, marble elephants and one can find a good place to pose for beautiful pictures.
3. Nehru Park & Fateh Sagar Lake:
Nehru Park is situated in the middle of Fateh Sagar Lake. One can easily reach their by pedal boats, motor boats or speed boats which are available from the bottom of Moti Magri. We buy the ticket of Rs. 150/- per person for motor boat (steamer) which takes ten to fifteen minutes time to reach at Nehru Park.
The lake water looks golden due to sunset which makes the ride rememberable. On Boat we have many fellow passengers from Gujrat. My wife chats with one Gujrati lady and she told us that due to close vicinity with Gujrat they visited Udaipur every year during their children vacations.
On island we found that Nehru Park is covered with beautiful flowers and with green grass. The garden is well maintained and it was made on a huge area. The garden is named on Late Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. From garden boundaries one can view the ancient Moti Mahal of Mahrana Pratap and Aaravali hills. Park was well illuminated with night. After spending almost an hour we travelled back towards the Moti Magri. By this time it was dark. As there are no more places left for today in our list, we decided to walk along with Fateh Sagar Road. It was crowded with tourists. Many families are roaming in the street. There are many small gift shops and restaurants which are used by the visitors. Many persons enjoyed horse & camel riding, while some are enjoying horse cart and camel cart riding. My kids decided to go for camel ride as they never sat on it. After spending some time there we returned back to hotel and dine in the hotel itself.
The next day we woke up early and decided to go for morning walk. My wife decided to stayed there and pack the luggage for the day trip. At 8:00 a.m. we left the hotel room. We selected one restaurant next to tour operator shop to enjoy some local breakfast.
We ordered for Pohaa, kachori (matar & pyaz) and jalebi. Here Pohaa preparation was different then us. Taste of Pohaa is little bit like Dhokla and bhujjia and boondi (namkeen) is spread on it. We enjoyed the breakfast and requested shop owner to pack two plates of pohaa for our journey.
On 2nd day, we then moved on to Haldi Ghati but I would cover those places in a separate post. Lets cover the remaining ‘Must Visit’ places, which we did on our 3rd day at Udaipur.
4. City Palace
It is located on the banks of Lake Pichola. City Palace is one of the most-visited tourist attractions of Udaipur. Maharana Uday Singh initiated in the construction of this palace which was later added by several palaces and structures by succeeding Maharanas. City Palace comprises 11 wonderful palaces. The Palace has various towers, domes and arches.
City Palace has several gates (in local language known as “Pols”). The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol (Elephant gate). The Bari Pol brings you to the Tripolia gate. Main ticket office is near to it. You can also hire a guide or take the audio tour for getting familiar with the events and historic happenings of this beautiful monument.
The main part of the City Palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artifacts. After entering the Pol the armory museum is situated there, exhibits a huge collection of old war weapons. The rooms and the halls of the palace are decorated with mirrors, tiles and paintings. The Palace has large collection of royal paintings, jewelry, crockery, photographs and beautiful silver “Shadi ka Mandap” covered with glass wall. The palace has an old history which has many kings and rulers and there details, photographs and belongings can be seen in the different areas and rooms of the palace. The new small museums of silver, sculptures and music instrument were great.
Some famous Mahals situated in the City Palace are:
Manak Mahal – famous for glass and mirror work
Krishna Vilas- for its miniature paintings
Moti Mahal – for lavish decor
Sheesh Mahal – for beautiful mirror work
Chini Mahal – decorated with Chinese and Dutch tiles.
We finished the visit in almost two hours. A person can spend whole day here. The entire city can be easily viewed from the top of the palace. The best time to visit the City Palace is in the evening when light illuminated the palace. Lake looks golden as lights reflected in the water and make it more rememberable moment. We missed this because we have to leave the city but still we enjoyed the visit.
5. Pichhola Lake
The picturesque lake is surrounded by hills, palaces, temples ghats. Two island palaces, Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) on the lake are of breathtaking magnificence. One can easily enjoy the lake with the help of paddle boats or steamer.
6. Doodh Talai
Doodh Talai is situated on a small hill from which one can enjoy the sunset view in Lake Pichhola and can view old city of Udaipur. Also one can enjoy the five minutes one way Ropeway ride which connects one of the Doodh Talai gardens to Karni Mata temple.
7. Sajjan Garh
Our next stop was Sajjan Garh. At the enrty of the Fort area one have to leave their vehicle and hire Govt. vehicle or pay amount for entry ticket of vehicle. We booked the Government Vehicle which is Innova. During the ride we observed that mountains are well covered with various types of trees. The Sajjan Garh is also known as monsoon palace. It offers a panoramic overview of the city’s lakes, palaces and the surrounding. There is a small museum in it and local guide told us that fort have water harvesting system from the beginning and during the mansoon, rain water is collected stored for daily use.
8. Gulab Bagh & Zoo
We all are tired but kids want to visit the zoo. Day was very hectic today as it was the last day of our journey and we have to board the train also. But in the end kids won and we decided to go to our last destination of the day Gulab Bagh and Zoo. Gulab Bagh/Rose Garden itself has many things to view. It has many varieties of roses. Park has many types of swings for kids. Gulab Bagh has old library which has a rare collection of ancient handwritten manuscripts and books. A small zoo is also there at Gulab Bagh. Though zoo is small but it was well maintained and animals are well kept. There is small toy train which can be ride by kids or by their parent. It takes the whole round of the garden and covers all the three main facilities of the Rose Garden i.e. Garden, Zoo and Library. Many children dressed in local dresses for photo click. My son also tried one Rajasthani dress for photo click. Kids enjoyed it lot. We have seen one local Rajasthani village family those are returning from the marriage and visiting the garden. Kids clicked there pictures and they also happily obliged them.
So that was my list of must visit places. I would write another post on Haldi Ghati, Rakt Talai, Srinathji Temple and Eklingji Temple.