Udaipur or the City of Lakes is a place that has an abundance of touristic spots and things to do. Year after year, tourists, both Indian and others, flood this city to appreciate its architectural richness coupled with the beauty of the expansive lakes. We visited Udaipur by taking a couple of days off before a long weekend. There are plenty of things to do in Udaipur and yet it also has a leisurely vibe to it perfect for a short holiday. If you are planning to visit Udaipur, here is the perfect guide covering the top things to do in Udaipur.
- 1 How to reach Udaipur?
- 2 Where to stay in Udaipur?
- 3 When to visit Udaipur?
- 4 Top Things to do in Udaipur
- 4.1 Day 1
- 4.2 Day 2
- 5 Getting around in Udaipur
- 6 What do we think about Udaipur?
How to reach Udaipur?
Udaipur is a beautifully connected city by all means of transport.
From Ahmedabad, Jodhpur or Ajmer: About 4.5 hours
From Mount Abu: About 2.5 hours
Udaipur is connected by train from all major cities such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Delhi, Ratlam, etc.
Most major cities in India have daily flights to Udaipur.
Where to stay in Udaipur?
The city centre (the area around Jagdish Mandir) is filled with a multitude of hotels and hostels. However, the area is extremely crowded and full of touristy chaos. Our recommendation would be that you stay away from this area if you want some peace of mind. We chose to stay at Akshay Niwas which was in a quiet corner exactly between Lake Pichola and Fatehsagar Lake. We could easily reach all the tourist spots in Udaipur without being surrounded by constant traffic.
When to visit Udaipur?
Most of the things to do in Udaipur involve lots of walking and spending time outdoors. Given that the summers in Rajasthan are extremely harsh, the best time to visit Udaipur is between November and March.
Top Things to do in Udaipur
Sahelion Ki Bari
Start your day by visiting the beautiful royal gardens called the ‘Sahelion ki Bari’ These gardens are decorated with a number of fountains. Colourful flowers lacing the sides of the garden please the eye. However, the primary attraction in these gardens is the fountain area located right at its center.
Tip: Try to reach here at 9.30 a.m. when the gardens are just opening. There would be no rush and you can click amazing photos.
Sajjangarh or Monsoon Palace
Your next stop should be Sajjangarh or the Monsoon Palace. This palace sits right on top of the entire city. You can take your car or your scooter right up to the top through the winding roads of the wildlife sanctuary area. (This being a wildlife area, going on top by scooter is not advisable). If you don’t have your own car, the palace has jeeps which ply tourists to and fro. The actual palace is not that well maintained. But the visit is well worth it for the mind-blowing views of the city that can be seen from the palace. Both the main lakes of Udaipur and the entire surrounding area can be seen from up here!
Tip: If you are not travelling by your own car, expect to wait for about half an hour for you to get a seat in one of the jeeps.
Now its time to head to Old City area of Udaipur. The centerpiece of this area is the Jagdish Mandir. Built in beautiful marble, this temple is a great stopover before having lunch.
Lunch at a rooftop restaurant
The area around Jagdish Mandir is crowded with numerous hotels with roof-top restaurants. If the weather is not too hot when you visit Udaipur, having lunch in one such restaurant is a great idea. These restaurants serve typical Rajasthani Thalis as well a vast variety of other Indian food options.
Tip: Try Mayur Rooftop restaurant.
Visiting the City Palace is the most important and indispensable of all the top things to do in Udaipur. The magnificent palace overlooking Lake Pichola is still the residence of the royal heirs. The interior area of the palace has now been converted into a museum. Arrows are placed throughout the palace area in such a manner that you get to see the entire palace area without getting lost. The Lake Palace and Jagmandir Palace built inside the Lake Pichola can be seen from the beautiful arched windows of the Palace.
Given that this is the second largest palace in the country, exploring it can even take upto 2-3 hours and will block your entire afternoon.
Tip: Hire a guide for historical and structural insights.
Boat ride with a stopover at Jag Mandir Palace
Once you exit from the main building of the City Palace, head to the booking area near inside the palace and book tickets for a boat ride. The boat rides operated from the palace are quite expensive. If you are looking for cheaper options, exit from the palace area and take a boat from Lake Pichola. However, do not remove this item out of your itinerary. You won’t find a better angle to marvel at the majesty of the palace from anywhere else but a boat in Lake Pichola. Midway, get off at the charming Jag Mandir Palace.
Drinking tea or coffee while at the cafe at Jag Mandir is an experience that will instantly transport you to the picture-perfect world of Instagram. Take your own time here to truly absorb the vibe of the place and later, transport yourself back to the shore by boat.
Tip: Take a boat at around 4.00 p.m. The sun won’t glare in your face when you click pictures at Jag Mandir Palace against the backdrop of the city palace.
Mansapurna Karni Mata Mandir
Mansapurna Karnimata Mandir sits atop the many small hills in Udaipur. You can climb all the way to the top if you have the time and energy. But if you are a lazy butt like us, take the ropeway. Find out the timing of sunset beforehand to make sure you witness one of the most memorable sunsets of your life. As the sun goes down, the entire city including the palace begins to light up. This temple is the only place from where you get to witness this magic.
Therefore, of all the things to do in Udaipur, do not miss out on a sunset here at any cost!
Tip: Although we didn’t have to wait at all, we had heard that the minimum waiting time for the ropeway is 20 minutes and on busy days it can even go up to an hour. Factor this time and reach the temple accordingly so as to not miss the sunset. Preserve the ticket for your ride back.
Dharohar at Bagore ki Haveli
Bagore ki Haveli located on the Gangrai Ghat is just a stone’s throw away from Jagdish Mandir. It houses a folk dance performance every evening. The music and the captivating performances will bring you closer to the cultural richness of Rajasthan. If you have no idea what Rajasthani folk dance is, you should definitely attend this performance.
Tip: If you are well-versed with the folk culture of Rajasthan, skip this performance and just hang out at the Gangaur Ghat or the Ambrai Ghat.
Dinner at Ambrai / Natraj
After you are done watching the captivating dances at Bagore ki Haveli, head to Ambrai – one of the most famous restaurants in Udaipur. This restaurant sits on Ambrai Ghat which is bang opposite the Udaipur City Palace. At night when the palace is lit up, dining here is a special experience.
If you cannot eat at Ambrai, you can eat at Natraj. It is a thali-serving restaurant close to Udaipur Railway Station and a favourite among locals.
Tip: Make a reservation at Ambrai well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Bagore Ki Haveli
Start your day 2 of exploring Udaipur by going back to the Bagore ki Haveli. Bagore ki Haveli used to be the residence of the prime minister. Now, they have converted it into a museum possessing a rich collection of traditional costumes and paintings. The Haveli itself boasts of 138 rooms and provides a wonderful peek into the royal lifestyle.
Tip: The place will be pretty crowded. Reach here at 10.00 a.m. sharp to see the museum in peace.
If you are a foodie, one of the most important things to do in Udaipur must be eating their local food like Dal Bati Churma and Pyaz ki Kachori. You can find these items at the small restaurants around Bagore ki Haveli and Jagdish Mandir. The restaurants may not look very pretty but the food they serve would be authentic Rajasthani food. After lunch, explore the lanes around Jagdish Mandir and satisfy your sweet cravings by eating the piping hot
If you are a strict fine diner, book a table at 1559 AD.
Shopping at Bapu Bazar, Bada Bazaar, Haathi Pole
A trip to Udaipur is incomplete without indulging in some desi buys. Udaipur is famous for its silver jewellery, bandhej clothing, mojris and wooden toys. Bapu Bazaar, Bada Bazaar and Haathi Pole are Udaipur’s main shopping areas. All these areas are located close to one another. You can easily walk around their lanes and spend a leisurely afternoon filling up your shopping bags!
Tip: Bargain heavily. Watch out for shopkeepers selling you cheap metal for the price of silver.
Sunset at Fatehsagar Lake
About an hour before sunset, head towards the Fatehsagar Lake. The promenade circumferencing the lake is decorated with classic royal arches. In the evening they play soft instrumentals of Indian Ragas on the speakers planted on the promenade making the ambiance truly mesmerising.
Add a piping hot kullad coffee to this scenario and you will be so smitten, you wouldn’t ever want to leave this place. After the sun goes down, you can warm yourself up by eating ‘Bombay Pavbhaji’ or the good old Maggi Noodles at a nearby shack.
Tip: The experience at Fatehsagar is incomplete without a Kullad coffee. Even if you are a tea person, have coffee.
Timepass at Sukhadia Circle
Ideally, the experience at Fatehsagar Lake will leave you in a happy daze and you wouldn’t want to spoil it by visiting any other place. However, if you have kids, there is a chance that they may not be in a mood to appreciate the Fatehsagar Lake and would be craving for some fun. In this case, take them to Sukhadia Circle. Kids can play at the garden here and then you can take them out boating in the water surrounding the main fountain. You can call it a day by eating some local chaat at the many food stalls surrounding the Sukhadia circle.
Tip: Sukhadia circle is totally avoidable.
Getting around in Udaipur
Most of the top things to do in Udaipur are located around the Jagdish Mandir and can be easily covered on foot. However, for other places, you can avail any of the following options:
Car: Hiring a car in Udaipur can be pretty expensive and unnecessary. Most travel operators charge a minimum of Rs. 2,500 per day for local travel. Spending this amount is pointless as you will spend very little time travelling and a lot of time inside palaces, museums and temples.
Rickshaw: You can hire a rickshaw to take you to any place in Udaipur. Just pay for your desired destination and hop off when you reach that destination. Do not hire a rickshaw for the entire day. If you want to save some more money, travel in one of the shared rickshaws.
Scooter: Renting a scooter or a bike for two days is the best way to enjoy Udaipur to the fullest. Scooters or bikes are available for about Rs. 400 for 12 hours. Many shops around Jagdish Mandir provide two-wheeler rentals. We rode around the entire city on a scooter. Most touristic attractions have their own paid parking ensuring the safety of your scooter.
What do we think about Udaipur?
Udaipur is a beautiful city having all the essential requirements of making it an all-round tourist destination. There are plenty of things to do in Udaipur, lots of places to eat and a variety of accommodation options. The people in Udaipur are quite warm and do their best to make your trip enjoyable. Most of the tourist attractions in Udaipur are well-maintained and a delight to visit. Besides things to do within Udaipur, many incredible forts are also just a day trip away. Overall, Udaipur is a fantastic place for a short vacation and a definite must-visit for both Indian as well overseas travellers.
Have you been to Udaipur? What will be on your list of top things to do in Udaipur? Let us know in the comments below!
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For detailed information of the places listed in this article, visit the official tourism website of Rajasthan.