My journey to Udaipur started with a plan to volunteer in a village school in Udaipur district of Rajasthan. I had quit my job recently and wanted to do something that was meaningful and fulfilling. Hence, I decided to volunteer in a school at a place I had never visited. But that is another story. This post is about my experience of exploring Udaipur solo which was both amazing and enriching.
I traveled to Udaipur by an early morning train for Jaipur. The journey was also an interesting one as I got to meet many people during the journey who offered me insights about village life in Rajasthan and about Udaipur. It took me about 8 hours to reach Udaipur.
I often travel solo by train to various places in India. If you want to travel in India by train but are scared to do so, read should check this How to travel safely by trains in India?
Initially I had planned to stay in Udaipur for 2 days before returning to Jaipur. But I loved this place so much that I extended my stay to 5 days. Also because I wanted to travel slow and not just checking the places off my travel list.
Places to stay in Udaipur
I arrived in Udaipur late morning and checked in at Gypsy Child Lake Hostel. And I am happy that I chose the perfect place to stay in Udaipur. I can’t emphasise it enough how I loved staying here. For some reasons this place actually felt like home.
So much that I spent hours just roaming around the place, spending time on the terrace and lakeside right next to the entrance of the hostel. I could feel the positive vibes and hospitality was awesome. City Palace, Lake Pichhola, Jagdish Temple, Bagore ki Haveli and local market- all these were within walking distance. Click here to check reviews, images and booking.
Looking for luxury amidst the Aravalis? Taj Aravali Resort and Spa is located close to the city center and Fateh Sagar Lake. It is very clean, well-maintained and peaceful. Mountain-view rooms, family rooms and suites are available for booking. Click here for reviews, images and booking
Synonymous with luxury, the Oberoi Udaivilas offers landscaped gardens, courtyards, pools, huge rooms with terraces and all the luxuries that you can think of. Restaurant, gymnasium, luxury spa, swimming pool, all these facilities make it a favourite luxury hotel in Udaipur. Click here for reviews, images and booking.
Slow travel in Udaipur
I explored many places walking through the streets. The locals, just like most of the places in India, are very warm and friendly. You would often find random people greeting you or smiling at you. Early morning walk through these streets would give you an insight into the lives of the locals. People start waking up with the dawn. You can hear the noises in the neighborhood, sound of bhajans, kids going to school, devotees visiting temples, some stray animals roaming around, fragrance of food being cooked.
A fan of slow travel? You are going to love Pushkar! Pushkar is famous for its Brahma temple. Due to this temple and Pushkar Lake, Pushkar holds the status of a very holy place among Hindus. Pushkar has also become famous for the annual Camel Fair or Pushkar Fair which attracts thousands of tourists from different places. Read more here.
Lake Pichhola- A place for the romantics
The place where I was staying was located just next to lake Pichhola. I spend some good time just looking at the lake, ghats and life going on around. Often after exploring the city during the day, I would spend time sitting at the ghats. A great place for photography. But I spent more time soaking in the tranquil atmosphere and just being there.
City Palace- blend of art, history and culture
On the eastern banks of lake Pichhola, stands this magnificent City Palace. Maharana Udai Singh II started the construction of City Palace during the 16th century. His successors kept adding to this palace subsequently. While entering the palace I could see many shops on both the sides. These shops sell various handicraft items. There are a number of structures inside the palace that comprise courtyards, gates, palaces, gardens, art galleries etc. The palace is built in marble and granite. It is an amazing blend of various architectural styles.
Jagmandir- the island hotel
After visiting the City Palace, I boarded a boat to reach Jagmandir Palace which is located on a small island in the lake. As it was late afternoon, the cool breeze and peaceful garden were quite tempting. I removed my shoes and walked on the grass to soothe my tired feet. After spending some time relaxing in the garden, I felt refreshed again. A restaurant offered various food items and drinks to the visitors. It offered lovely views of the lake.
Bagore ki Haveli- a slice of local culture
This is an old heritage building (haveli) that has been converted into a museum. I found the haveli to be a beautiful place in itself because of its architecture. It houses many interesting things relating to the lives of people of older times like cloths, turbans, weapons etc. One section exhibited various rituals that are performed during a wedding ceremony. A whole room was dedicated to traditional puppets (kathputli). It looked like a royal court to me. In the evening, puppet shows and folk performances are held which are worth your time and money if you are interested in such things. I loved this place and also the folk dances, music and puppet show. It was a chance to know the local culture better.
Ambrai Ghat- experience the tranquility
I decided to roam around in the streets of Udaipur with another fellow traveler woman. We had become friends while staying in Udaipur. The staff of the hostel (we were staying at) was was helpful and kind. We asked them about how safe it was to stay out late at night. They told us that being a tourist place, Udaipur is quite safe and you can see other travelers out late at night. So, we went out to have dinner and returned at about 11 p.m.
Jagdish Temple- a rendezvous with the divine
I was spellbound looking at this architectural beauty. I hadn’t seen the pictures of this temple before visiting it. So, the beautiful design and carvings on this temple were an added bonus when I visited it. I spent about an hour here looking at this temple and spent some time attending the aarti and praying inside the temple. I felt the peace engulfing me despite many devotees and visitors coming in and going out frequently. There are many stairs that one needs to climb up to enter the temple. This could be difficult for some people with mobility issues.
If you are heading from Udaipur (the city of lakes) to Jodhpur (the Blue city) or vice versa there are many places worth visiting en route- Eklinji Mandir, Nathdwara, Ranakpur, Kumbhalgarh, Haldi Ghati, Maharana Pratap Museum etc. Click here to read more about it- 7 Awesome Places near Udaipur to Explore
Taste the flavors of udaipur
Most of the tourist places in Rajasthan have amazing rooftop restaurants and Udaipur is no less. In fact the lakes and scenic beauty add to the romantic charm of this place. There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to food and places to eat. It is up to you how you want to relish your meals. There are high end restaurants, budget-friendly cozy ones and not to forget the street food. Trust me you won’t be disappointed with the food. Indian and international both kinds of cuisine is available. I would highly recommend you to try the street food in the local markets.
India has an amazing array of street food. They are so tempting that at times you can’t resist. The List of Indian street food is endless. But I think the most popular ones would be Pani Puri, Bhel, samosa, kachori, jalebi to name a few. Check these tips to eat Indian street food safely.
A walk to the local market
I chose to go for a walk in the local market with a guide. She took us to the traditional market where there were spices, vegetables, local food, sweets etc. We also visited a temple in the streets and also a very old haveli. The haveli was undoubtedly beautiful but also in a very bad condition. How I wish it could be saved!
Just like any other tourist place in India, there is a lot to shop here in Udaipur. Better check out a few places before you finalise on buying something. Foreigners are often charged much more than the usual price. So you better do your research and get an idea beforehand about the price of the stuff you wish to buy. Rajasthani Mojri, leheriya or bandhani saree, dupatta, bags, handicrafts, miniature paintings- there is a lot to shop in Udaipur.
No plans to travel yet but want to shop? Check these out-
Traveling to Rajasthan? Read Awesome travel tips for planning a trip to Rajasthan. A guide on what to do, where to stay & travel around Rajasthan in India. Rajasthan Travel Tips: Everything You Need To Know.
Frequently asked questions
Popularly known as ‘city of lakes’ or ‘venice of east’ Udaipur is famous for its lakes, history, palaces, art, museums, temples and beautiful locations.
Udaipur is definitely a worth visiting place. If you are interested in palaces, lakes, art, architecture, temples and museums, then Udaipur is a must visit place for you.
October to March is the best time to visit Udaipur. The weather is pleasant during this time. December and January months can be cold but there is plenty of sunshine during the daytime.