Known as the Venice of India, Udaipur is an incredible tourist destination’ known for its formidable monuments, colourful culture, golden sand dunes and the desert. Surrounded by lakes, Udaipur is a paradise for architecture lovers as the edifices tell the tales of prosperity, gallantry and tragedies of a bygone era.
The scenic beauty of Udaipur makes it a favourite destination among film directors. A lot of Hindi as well as English movies have been shot at various places in the city, including the James Bond film Octopussy. A racy chase sequence with Roger Moore as 007 dipping in and out of Udaipur’s maze-like lanes, auto rickshaws and palaces stole many hearts and won critical acclaim. Also, the Lake Palace Hotel served as the floating palace in the movie.
Labelled as one of the most romantic as well as safest places in India, Udaipur casts its spell with the unique experience of the desert, brilliant architecture and the tradition of the Mewars, not to mention amazing food. The wise historical rulers literally created an oasis amid the desert, thanks to their love for leisure and passion for creation. There is so much that one can see in Udaipur and most of these attractions have been built and created by the Maharanas. Check out the list of top ten attractions of tourist places that Udaipur offers:
1. City Palace: Built by Maharana Udai Singh, the City Palace is grandeur personified. A conglomeration of several buildings with towers, balconies and cupolas built all over, the City Palace also houses a crystal gallery, which boasts of royal artefacts and the world’s largest private collection of crystal. It is one of Rajasthan’s largest palaces and offers a splendid view of Lake Pichola. A must-see experience in Udaipur is the hour-long Mewar Sound and Light Show. This regal rendering of the history of Mewar takes place every evening at the City Palace complex.
2. Bagore ki Haveli: Bagore ki Haveli portrays the mural paintings of Rajasthan from the Mewar perspective. The palace has more than a hundred rooms that display different costumes of the royal kings, their jewellery, hookahs, pan boxes, copper boxes etc. The haveli is also famous for its fine mirror work and traditional dance shows of Rajasthan. While strolling in the Haveli, one can see the bathrooms, dressing rooms, bedrooms, living rooms and recreational rooms of the royal ladies as well. It was built by Amir Chand Badwa, the Chief Minister of Mewar, in the 18th century. The West Zone Cultural Centre converted it into a museum in 1986.
3. Jagdish Temple: Udaipur is home to some of the oldest temples in India. One of the most popular temples is the Jagdish Temple located in the City Palace complex. Representing the true Indo-Aryan style of architecture, this temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The four-armed idol of Lord Vishnu that stands in the main shrine is an astonishing work of art, carved out of a single piece of black stone. The main shrine, which is at the centre, is ringed by four smaller shrines, dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Surya the Sun God, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva, respectively.
4. Fateh Sagar Lake: Fateh Sagar Lake is an artificial water body in Udaipur and one of the four beautiful ones in the city. Constructed in 1678, the lake comprises three small islands and is surrounded by the mighty Aravalli Mountains. One of the islands has been converted into a public park called Nehru Park, which is a popular picnic spot and has a striking water jet fountain. The Udaipur Solar Observatory is also situated on one of the islands in the lake.
5. Saheliyon Ki Bari: Saheliyon-Ki-Bari or ‘garden of the maids’ in English was built by Maharana Bhopal Singh for a group of 48 young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry. With its lush greenery, flowers, beautiful fountains, lotus pools, and marble artefacts and pavilions, Saheliyon-Ki-Bari offers splendid views and makes up for an ideal romantic setting. Some old Bollywood movies were shot here too.
6. Lake Palace: Situated on the Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace is the most compelling of Udaipur’s attractions. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II almost two-and-a-half centuries ago and is now revered as the Taj Lake Palace, one of the most beautiful and romantic hotels in the world. With the Aravalli Hills and city palace as a backdrop, the beauty of the Palace and its surroundings is further accentuated. The Lake Palace is one of the most photographed monuments of Rajasthan. Capture the monument in all its beauty as it shimmers in the moonlight in the midst of Lake Pichola.
7. Sajjangarh Palace: Sajjangarh Palace, also called as Monsoon Palace, is a glorious residential palace situated on a hill-top. Overlooking the magnificent Lake Pichola in Udaipur, the Palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1884 and offers spectacular panoramic views of Udaipur city and its stunning lakes, mountains and palaces. This majestic palace is truly a sight to behold especially when it is illuminated in the evenings.
8. Vintage Classic Cars Museum: If you are a car enthusiast, then this place belongs to you. The Vintage Collection of the Classic Cars Museum is the place with cars which are almost 70 years old and still in working condition. The Rolls Royce Phantom, Cadillacs, Chevalate, Morais, Mercs and Austins are some of the cars that you can look forward to seeing. These cars include not only those belonging to the current Maharaja, but those of his predecessors as well.
9. Kumbhalgarh Fort: A trip to Kumbalgarh is definitely a great idea for you if you are looking for a quiet and offbeat vacation. Magnificent views and a peek into the Aravalli countryside can give you an unforgettable experience. You can also enjoy sightseeing at the Kumbalgarh Fort and adventure activities like horse riding and camping.
10. Ek Lingji Temple: With the mesmerising architecture and four-faced idol of Lord Shiva (in black marble), Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple will definitely leave you spellbound. Anyone seeking solace can plan an excursion to this famous religious site in Udaipur. The cool, calm and beautiful surroundings are beyond description and have to be seen to be believed.