There are some places that make for a good holiday. And then there are some that transport you into a magical wonderland. Udaipur falls in the latter category. The City of Lakes, as Udaipur has rightfully come to be known has the look of a colorful Rajasthani painting, and you really have to muster all your will power to make yourself leave. Sparkling lakes, enormous forts and palaces, delicious ‘daal-baati-choorma’ and other dishes from the Mewari cuisine, are a few things that will have you hooked. Here are some places to visit in Udaipur that we’ve picked out for you.
Famous forts in Udaipur are:
The City Palace
Overlooking the Lake Pichola, this palace complex that has eleven palaces, is an architectural blend of Mughal, Mewari, European and Chinese styles. Some of the things that will dazzle you are the ‘Mor-Chok’ or the Peacock courtyard, with colorful mosaics in glass adorning the walls, the Mughal –style Amar Vilas, the Badi Mahal, with its meticulous paintings of elephants and the Sheesh Mahal, the palace of glass and mirrors. Elephants and horses are symbols of strength and power, respectively in Mewari culture, and the paintings on the various walls depict their significance during the days of Maharana Pratap and other kings. Preferably, take a guided tour of the City Palace, because that way you get to know the little stories behind each installation. An Udaipur sightseeing tour is incomplete without a visit to the City Palace.
Bagore ki Haveli
Located on the Gangori Ghat, close to the Lake Pichola, this sprawling haveli was built in the 18th century by the then Mewari Prime Minister Amar Chand Badwa. There are more than a hundred rooms in the mansion, and as you walk through the ancient interiors, you can catch a glimpse of Rajputana life. There are paintings, jewelry boxes, copper vessels, mirrors and other knick-knacks that belonged to the kings and queens, which are now on display this haveli-turned-museum. In the evenings, performances of Rajasthani folk-music and dance by local artistes, as well as fun puppet shows are held. It’s quite an experience watching the graceful dancer as she effortlessly glides along the courtyard balancing as many as ten earthen pots on her head.
The Monsoon Palace
As the name suggests, this was the monsoon-getaway of the Royal family. Located on a hill with a nice view of the city, the palace has a rainwater harvesting system that was designed 500 years ago. The drive to the Monsoon Palace will take you through the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Jag Mandir Palace
Perched on its own island on Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir Palace has an impressive set of structures including the Gul Mahal, the carved elephants flanking the façade, Bara Patharon ka Mahal and the Zenana Mahal. Legend has it that Maharana Karan Singh offered refuge on one occasion to Shahjahan, then known as Prince Khurram at the Gul Mahal. The Palace today is a venue for high profile events, celebrity weddings, and parties.
Around Udaipur: Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh
The birth-place of Maharana Pratap, Kumbhalgarh, is home to an enormous 15th century fort built by Rana Kumbha. Walk up to the top and enjoy views of the Aravalli Hills. Kumbhalgarh is around 85 km from Udaipur, and the drive is quite enjoyable. The Chittorgarh Fort, steeped in history, and best known for witnessing Queen Padmini’s act of jauhar is located around 112 km from Udaipur, and is definitely worth a visit.
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