Known as the ‘Venice of the East’ for its romantic aura, Udaipur is a magical city in western Rajasthan, which is situated on the serene banks of Lake Pichola.
Offering magnificent, imperial water palaces, breathtaking scenery and bursts of colour and culture, Udaipur is one of my favourite spots in Rajasthan.
Despite it being one of the smaller cities in this region, Udaipur is jam-packed with great things to see and do. Therefore, here is my pick of things not to be missed whilst visiting this calm(er) corner of India.
The City Palace
Seeped in majestic history and splendor, Udaipur’s City Palace is situated on the east bank of Lake Pichola and encapsulates an enchanting assortment of rooms, courtyards, corridors, terraces, pavilions and hanging gardens – this place, is a child’s hide and seek haven.
Ideally you need a day to uncover and appreciate the historic story behind this architectural masterpiece however, if you don’t mind skimming a few areas, half a day is a sufficient amount of time to learn a lot about the palace and absorb its’ unique beauty.
The palace is open from 9.30am-5.30pm (last entry is at 4.30pm) and tickets are around Rs115 (£1.20).
Take an Indian cooking class
Despite being able to take an Indian cooking class anywhere in India, I decided to channel my inner Gordon Ramsey in Udaipur.
As I was spending every day stuffing my face with delicious, Indian delicacies, I thought it was only wise for me to learn how to cook some of my favourite dishes before heading back home, to bland old England.
Depending on the size of the group, a lot of the cooking classes in India are hosted by a local in their home kitchen, meaning you get a great insight into the role food plays in Indian culture (a big one).
From pakoras and dal to chapatti and chai, I learnt about all of the important spices in Indian cooking as well as how to create the crucial, prominent flavours in the dishes by using these spices.
Although these classes don’t come cheap, they are definitely worth the dent in your pocket AND you get to eat your yummy ‘masterpieces’ at the end of the class meaning… one less meal to budget for!
The Taj Lake Palace
Recognised for its outstanding, white marble exterior, extraordinary positioning floating atop the calm surface of Lake Pichola and its tranquil lotus ponds, open-air courtyards and opulent marble carvings, it is no wonder why nowadays, the Taj Lake Palace is prime postcard and James Bond material!
Oozing a fairytale ensemble of seclusion, beauty, luxury and romance, this iconic palace looks like a mysterious, cloudy mirage amidst the water and is definitely worth the bumpy boat ride over to admire.
Now an affluent hotel, rooms here can cost up to £400 per night however, day trips are available at a more budget friendly Rs300 (approx £3), which tends to include a boat ride around the lake and a stop over at the palace.
Dharohar Folk Dance Show
Hosted every evening in the grand palace, Bagore-ki-Haveli, Dharohar is an exhilarating dance performance, which combines traditional Rajasthani folk dances with vibrant, elaborate costumes and classic Indian music.
From elegant women dancing with an eye-widening number of pots on their head to fun, comical puppet performances, the hour-long production demonstrates seven exciting Rajashthani dances in a rustic yet, charming setting.
Performed in a cute outside courtyard amidst the ancient history of the royal predecessors, the museums’ intricate architecture accentuates the shows’ authenticity and allure, making it even more enjoyable than if it were displayed elsewhere.
The performance is at 7-8pm every night and costs approximately Rs100 (around £1).
The Monsoon Palace
Situated atop a luscious mountain on the outskirts of Udaipur, The Monsoon Palace offers an unrivaled, panoramic view across the city’s lake and countryside.
With peaceful gardens, a view to die for and one of the most mesmerising sunsets I’ve ever laid eyes on, visiting this palace is unmissable.
Head up early with a good book, relax in the vibrant, blossoming gardens and admire the naughty monkeys bounding from tree to tree.
Entry to the palace is Rs80 however, unless you are looking to tackle the steep, winding road to the top of the mountain, I’d advise paying the extra for a car to take you up.