Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, Udaipur is a popular tourist attraction in Rajasthan, India.
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!
We reached Udaipur early morning by train.
We had pre-booked a self-drive Zoom Car .
Zoom Cars are available at Rana Pratap Nagar railway station which happens to be the second railway station located in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, besides the main Udaipur City railway station.
Interesting Places to visit near Udaipur
As a long weekend getaway from Delhi, our Itinerary looked something like this:-
Udaipur – Eklinji Mandir – Nathdwara – Ranakpur – Kumbhalgarh Leopard Safari – Kumbhalgarh – Haldi Ghati – Maharana Pratap Museum – Udaipur.
- Approximately 25kms from Udaipur city is Eklingji Mandir, located in the town of Eklingji (Kailashpuri). The temple has fixed timings for Darshan. Since we reached at a time when the temple was closed I am sharing few pics from Instagram.
The Eklingji temple complex houses 108 temples chiseled out of sandstone and Marble. Built of marble and granite, the main temple dates back to the 16th Century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The temple belongs to the Royal Family though the general public is allowed entry.
Distance from Udaipur Railway Station: Approximately 25 kms ( 40 minutes) by road.
Dedicated to: Lord Shiva
Temple Timing: 4.30 am to 7.00 am, 10.30 am to 1.30 pm and 5.00 pm to 7.30 pm
Transport: Government as well as Private buses are available.
Entry Fees: No Fees
Bappa Rawal, also known as Prince Kalbhoj was the eighth ruler of the Guhilot Dynasty and was the founder of the Mewar Dynasty.
When Bappa Rawal was about 16 years of age, his Guru, a sage named Harit Rashi predicted that, Bappa Rawal would come to rule Mewar, not in the conventional manner but as the Diwan (Prime Minister or Vice-Regent) of the supreme ruler, Eklingji.
When Bappa Rawal, eventually defeated his enemies and became the ruler of Mewar he built the Eklingji temple in 734 A.D. in a town called Eklingji. The town was later renamed as Kailashpuri.
The original temple and the main idol were destroyed by Mughal invaders and over the years the ruling Mewar rulers have rebuilt, renovated, expanded and maintained it.
Five Faced Shiva Lingam – Maharana Raimal ji (1473-1509) built the present temple and installed a five faced Shiva lingam made of black marble.
The face on the west is that of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu in North, Lord Surya the Son god in East, to the South is the face of Rudra (Lord of storm also a synonym for Lord Shiva) and the upraised top is Shiva Lingam (Phallic form of Lord Shiva), which is an embodiment of Sadashiva with Amba his consort.
- Keep in mind the temple timing and plan your visit accordingly.
- No handbags, camera, footwear or photography allowed. Locker facility is available.
- The ‘Mirchibada’ sold near the Eklingji Mandri is worth a try.
- You can club a trip to ‘Saas-Bahu’ temple, Eklingji Temple and Nathdwara temple. The intricately carved 11th century ‘Saas-Bahu’ temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Nagda is 15 minutes drive away from the Eklingji temple.
- Nathdwara Temple is around 27 km (30 mins) away from here. Read more about Nathdwara temple in the description below.
Approximately 48 km from Udaipur city located on the banks of the Banas River in Rajsamand District is the Nathdwara Mandir.
This famous temple also known as ‘Haveli of Shrinathji’ houses the deity of Shrinathji, a 14th-century, 7-year-old “infant” incarnation of Krishna.
Distance from Udaipur Railway Station: Approximately 48 Km (1 hour) by road.
Dedicated to: Shrinathji (Lord Krishna manifested as a seven-year-old child (Balak))
Temple Timing: See Image below for timing.
Entry Fees: No Fees
Originally this idol of Shrinathji was in Govardhana near Vrindavan. In 1665, in order to protect it from the vandalism of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the custodians of the idol of Shrinathji left that place with the idol in search of a new abode.
Maharana Rajsingh of Mewar undeterred by Aurangzeb’s threats offered refuge. The idol went on a journey to Mewar which took 32 months to complete.
Legend – The legend goes that when the idol of Shrinathji was being carried to Rajasthan, the wheel of the chariot got stuck in the mud at a place called Sihar. Maharana Rajsingh saw it as a divine sign that Lord Krishna wished to settle here.
A temple was built at the place where the chariot had got stuck and thus the holy township of Nathdwara grew around the temple.
In 1672 Lord Shrinathji was placed in a new Temple built in village Sihad, now called Nathdwara, on the banks of river Banas.
- The nearest Railway Station is Mavli Junction which is 30 km from Nathdwara.
- Udaipur City Railway Station is 48 km far Nathdwara Town.
- Nearest airport to Nathdwara is Udaipur, which is at a distance of about 60 km (1 hour).
- Regular buses and taxis ply to Nathdwara from Udaipur.
- The temple opens only for specific hours. Keep in mind the temple timing and plan your visit accordingly.
- In all there are 8 darshan timings. At each darshan time one can witness a new Avtaar of Lord Shreenathji.
- One of the mandir walls has 8 paintings which give a description of the importance of these avatar and arti.
- Since the temple is opened only intermittently, it becomes extremely crowded when it does open for public.
- If you have very young children with you or you happen to be claustrophobic you might want to re-consider visiting this place or atleast do not visit during the aarti as it is most crowded and unmanaged at that time.
- For ‘Mangla arti’ there is separate queue for ladies and gents. All other times everyone enters together or as security personnel decide.
- No handbags, camera, mobile, footwear or photography allowed.
- Separate counters for keeping luggage and shoes are available by the trust, Free of Charge.
- Nathdwara is also famous for its ‘pichhwai‘ paintings, handmade terracottas, ivory articles and dairy sweets.
- You can club a trip to ‘Saas-Bahu’ temple, Eklingji Temple and Nathdwara temple. The intricately carved 11th century ‘Saas-Bahu’ temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Nagda is 15 minutes drive away.
- Eklingji Temple is around 27 kms (30 mins) away. Read more about Eklingji in the above description.
Ranakpur Jain Temple
The magnificent fifteenth century Ranakpur temple in Mewar region of Rajasthan, India, is dedicated to Adinath, the first Tirthankara, of this era.
The grand scale and sheer architectural complexity of Ranakpur temple is alluring. It also boasts of being one of the five most important holy shrines of the Jains.
Distance from Udaipur Railway Station: 90 km
Closest Railway Station : Falna 35 km
Dedicated to: Adinath, the first Tirthankara, of this era
Temple Timing: 7am to 7pm for Pilgrims. For non-pilgrims noon to 5pm (photography is also allowed only during these hours)
Entry Fees: No Fees
The temple has four separate entrances, one on each side. For tourists only the west side has been kept open.
Aged and Handicapped pilgrims can access the temple from South Gate. Each of entrances lead through a series of columned halls with exquisitely carved pillars.
At the central sanctum, there are four statues of Adinath, each statue facing the four directions.
The entrance door is intricately carved with Pratihars – the door guardians. There are carvings of meditating Tirthankaras and dancing nymphs.
Watch the Video Below
- It takes around 45 Minutes to 1 Hour to visit the temple.
- There is no entry fee unless you want to carry camera or Mobile for which you need to pay Rs. 100.
- For Video Camera and Tablet, the fees is Rs. 300/-
- As above, there is an abandoned temple structure on the left side of the temple (there is no idol there). It’s a little steep climb but gives a good view for capturing the Temple on camera.
- Though photography is allowed between noon and 5pm, taking picture of the main deity Adinath is forbidden.
- Like all other Indian Temples, you cannot enter with footwear. You need to take off your shoes at the entrance.
- Leather articles be it wallets or belts are not allowed inside the temple. You can either leave them behind in your vehicle or take lockers in the premises on rent.
- Click to read more – Ranakpur – An Architectural Marvel of India
Kumbhalgarh – the Great wall of india
Built in 1458 A.D by Rana Kumbha the Kumbhalgarh Fort in the rugged Mewar terrain is the second longest wall in the world and is the second largest fort in Rajasthan (after the Chittorgarh Fort). It is one of 6 Hill Forts in Rajasthan to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Watch the Video Below
Distance from Udaipur Railway Station: 115 km
Closest Railway Station : Falna 68 km
Famous for: The Second longest wall in the World
Fort Timing: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Light and Sound Show: 7pm (Post sunset )
- Tourists from India, SAARC countries, and BIMSTEC countries have to pay Rs. 15 while the tourists belonging to other countries have to pay Rs. 200 as an Entry Fee.
- Tourists have to separately purchase tickets for the light and sound show for Rs. 100. The show is conducted only in Hindi language.
As Compared to the Great Wall of China which is 22,000 km (approximately) in length, the Kumbhalgarh Wall which is 36 km long may seem relatively modest, but is, in fact, the second longest wall in the world.
It is popularly known as the “Great Wall of India”.
The fort was built on the ruins of land of the Jain king Samprati, who was the grandson of Ashoka. So there is no surprise that there are 364 temples in the fort out of which 300 are Jain temples.
- It takes around 1 and half to two hours to visit the fort. Wear comfortable footwear and carry water if you have younger kids with you.
- The climb to the fort is steep and while manageable for kids, senior citizens with knee issues might find this climb tedious and strenuous.
- Toilet facility (without charges) is available inside the premises.
- There are couple of shops from where snacks and other eatables can be purchased.
- Click to Read More – The Great Wall of India – Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
Kumbhalgarh Leopard Safari
The Kumbhalgarh sanctuary can be accessed from the Kumbhalgarh as well as Ranakpur side. Since we stayed longer at Ranakpur we went for the safari from Ranakpur.
The Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary was a nice drive around the jungle however animal spotting was rare.
Though the kids enjoyed the experience of driving through the jungle and the anticipation of getting to spot the elusive leopard, we adults felt this safari could be avoided for lack of animal sighting and high pricing.
As a matter of fact, we saw more Sambar deer in our Resort than during the Jungle Safari.
We were charged Rs. 2800/- for the Jeep safari and were asked for Rs. 3000/- for night safari. Better sense prevailed and we refused night safari.
There are trekking opportunities inside this jungle as well. We didn’t explore that since we were visiting the place in March by which the days were considerably warm.
Keep scarves, caps and water bottles handy during your safari.
Haldi Ghati & Chetak Smarark
If History interests you, you must visit Haldighati and Chetak Smarak.
Haldighati is a narrow gorge which connects Rajsamand and Pali districts in Rajasthan.
Distance from Udaipur Railway Station: 146 km
Closest Railway Station : Nearest railway station to Rajsamand is Kankroli
Famous for: An interesting geographical feature of the pass is its soft turmeric-coloured yellow soil (Turmeric is called ‘Haldi’ in Hindi).
Entry Fees & Timing: No Fees – it is a drive through.
The very mention of Haldighati brings in memories of School time history books about the famous Battle of Haldighati fought on June 18, 1576. Even though the famous battle between Maharana Pratap of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber (who was the general of the Mughal emperor Akbar) lasted only for four hours, it still is an outstanding example of the art of defensive mountain warfare.
When the Mughal forces marched through the narrow gorge, the Bhil tribals attacked them and caught them by surprise.
The Sudden attack led to many Mughal Soldiers being slain and as a result the retreat of the Mughals from Haldighati.
The Mughals reassembled in the plains and the battle which eventually followed led to such blood bath that the battlefield came to be called as Rakht-Talai (Pool of Blood).
The pool of blood has long been washed away and today lush green farms can be seen.
During the battle Rana Pratap Singh’s white Arab stallion Chetak got injured, but it is believed that he fought on till he took the Rana away from the battlefield to a safe place.
Chetak Samadhi in remembrance of the fearless Stallion is at a drivable distance from Haldighati.
Interestingly, the Hindu Mewar army was led by Hakim Khan Suri who was a Pashtun warrior and chief of artillery in Rana Pratap’s army.
On the other hand, the Mughal emperor Akbar’s army was led by a Hindu Rajput, Raja Man Singh of Amber.
- Haldighati is on way from Kumbhalgarh Fort to Udaipur and can be visited enroute.
- Haldighati is also world famous for its charity rose product and the mud art of Molela. Colourful boards advertising several rose products dot the landscape.
Maharana Pratap Museum
Of all the light and sound shows that we have seen, the kids liked the light and sound of Maharana Pratap Museum the best!
Why? Not only did we move in an air-conditioned corridor but the light and sound show was made alive by moving clay models.
Distance from Udaipur Railway Station – 1 h (50 km)
Closest Railway Station – Nearest railway station to Rajsamand is Kankroli
Famous for: The Museum depicting the life of Maharana Pratap and the famous battle of Haldighati
Visiting Hours: 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
Entry Fees: Rs 20
Contact +91 9799003405
Website – https://www.maharanapratapmuseum.com/
The structure of the museum looks like a fort from far. It showcases the life of Maharana Pratap, his ancestors and his legacy.
The visitors are sent in a group of approximately 50 people at a time. As one enters there is an Art Gallery with Historical Literature.
After this the visitors are asked to move to the Cinema theatre which plays a 3D movie on the life of Maharana Pratap.
Though the animation of the movie is of poor quality and the theatre is not well maintained, I observed that the kids enjoyed the movie nevertheless.
Post this point comes the best part of the museum. 8 Corridors of light and sound show.
Post this is an Arms Gallery.
As one exits the air conditioned corridors, there is a small lake for boating and installation exhibiting the village life in Rajasthan.
- Though this place has deteriorated with time, it is highly educational for children and I would recommend it.
- Toilet facility is availble at the museum.
- There is a restaurant and a Shop selling Rajasthani wares, inside the premises.
There is so much more to explore in and around Udaipur but for a 3-4 days long weekend getaway this itinerary is good enough.
On our way back we indulged at Oladar Village Cafe in Udaipur.
Which of these places have you visited? What else would you like to add? Don’t forget to mention it in the comments 🙂