The City of Lakes, also known as the Venice of the East, Udaipur is a firsthand experience of the history and culture of Rajasthan. Grand palaces situated on the banks of the lakes as well as on islands inside the lakes, which used to be the seat of the rulers of Mewar, the Rajputana clan and later the Mughals are the main attractions of this city. Many of these palaces have been so perfectly restored that it is like taking a walk through the lifestyle of the Maharajas and Maharanis themselves.
1. Luxury Hotels And Fine Dining
Udaipur is a city that is recognised the world over for the unique way they choose to preserve and promote their heritage. Ancient palaces such as the Lake Palace, built in as far back as the 16th century and used and added upon by various rulers and dynasties, thus giving its architecture an interesting mixture of Rajput, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese styles, have now been taken over and converted to luxury hotels and resorts that one can actually live in like a Maharaja, and feast on the fine delicacies prepared by some of the best chefs in the country. These resorts, due to their roots, are located on islands in the middle of the lake, and on hilltops surrounding the city of Udaipur. All this had led Udaipur to be a major wedding and honeymooner’s destination, gaining the reputation of the most romantic place in the country.
Another palace that makes for a wonderful romantic getaway is the Monsoon Palace, originally meant to be a location from which to view the approaching rainclouds. It is situated on the Bansdara peak by the Fatah Sagar Lake and offers magnificent views of the surrounding areas, including that of nearby Chittorgarh, as well as a sunset that is famous across the globe.
2. Rajasthani Culture
A trip to Udaipur, the cultural capital of the nation is incomplete without walking oneself through the colourful culture and festivities of the Rajasthani people. One can shop in local markets to purchase jewellery, clothing and other artefacts of the descendents of the Rajputana clan. There is also a variety of local street food to sample, and get a taste of life in Udaipur.
Perhaps the best way to partake of Rajasthani culture is to watch Dharohar, the show that takes place daily at the Bagore ki Haveli. Dharohar features Rajasthani folk dances, songs and theatre, including the charming puppet shows. For true enthusiasts, there is also a grand museum within the building that showcases relics from the Rajputana Empire, such as hukkas, jewellery boxes, dice games, hand fans etc.
3. Boat Rides
In a city where lakes are the most dominant feature, and where all life revolves around the ghats of the lakes or in the islands within them, it is difficult to imagine a trip without a ;long leisurely evening boat ride, enjoying the sunset, especially if one is making the trip with their significant other. Of all lakes, the most well known is the central Lake Pichola, which stretches over 1720 acres. Lake Pichola has long and beautiful boat rides to offer and also houses the famous Lake Palace on an island inside it.
4. Museums And Galleries
The Rajputs were a proud clan, a tradition that has continued in 21st century Udaipur. Despite the ravages that the city and its historical artefacts have endured over time, local, national and even international historians have taken interest in preserving the objects used by the Rajputs. Various museums and galleries are present, in almost every notable structure, with the more significant ones including the City Palace Museum, each with breathtaking collections and newere ways to showcase the life and times of not only the Rajputs, but also the Mughals and then the British.
Udaipur is a city has resiliently stood against the test of time and yet adapted itself with it and today has emerged as not only a salute to the Rajputana heroes but also as a romantic and lavish getaway for people everywhere.