Udaipur, the lake city, is a beautiful, and relatively quiet, Rajasthani city. We recommend starting at the City Palace, still home to Udaipur’s king, which will help to situate the city within its impressive history. City Palace is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it was originally made up of 11 palaces constructed over four centuries of successive rulers it is well-known for the uniformity of its design. Once used solely as a royal residence, the mass of towers, balconies and gardens now house two restaurants, Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel, City Palace Museum and Crystal Gallery.
The museum itself is extremely informative and well-explained in both Hindi and English, meaning it is unnecessary to pay for an additional guide. There are separate areas depicting the clothing, silverware and family portraits of the royal family in addition to the palace itself in which you can explore both the King and Queen’s quarters. The Crystal Gallery is a stunning collection of the royal jewels and should not be missed.
From the City Palace, a short walk takes you to the Jagdish temple. Built in 1652 and dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Vishnu, the temple has the ease of a city-centre location, and is popular for its beautiful stone carving; however, it is fairly small and open so does not get too crowded during the day. Look out for the famous black stone idol of Jagannath
After Jagdish Temple, don’t forget to visit Sahelion-ki-Bari to continue the royal experience. These gardens are particularly outstanding around the rainy season. Historically, these were a place for the close female friends of the Queen; the English translates as the ‘Garden of the Maids of Honour’. Formal garden areas surround fountains, whilst winding pathways lead to open lawns that provide space for picnicking.
Lake Pichola & Lake Fateh Sagar
No visit to the City of Lakes would be complete without exploring Lake Pichola and Lake Fateh Sagar, the two lakes of Udaipur. Boat rides are available, especially worth taking in the late afternoon to watch the sunset. These often include a closer look at the island-set Taj Lake Palace and Jagmandir Island Palace.
Your afternoon can be spent exploring the cities markets (please note these are largely closed on Sundays) and for a more metropolitan shopping experience, Celebration Mall can be reached on your way back to Devigarh as it is located in Udaipur’s suburbs.
Leela Palace ($$$) – Leela Palace is a lakeside hotel and perfect for dinner. The range of Indian and international food options will not let you down, nor the views of the lake, which are quite special. Do ask at the hotel for any further recommendations.
Sunset Terrace ($$) – Part of Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel, this al-fresco restaurant has beautiful views over Lake Pichola. This restaurant serves a good variety of continental food along with a selection of great Chinese and Indian dishes.
Savage Garden ($$) – If you are looking for a change after exploring the Indian culinary scene, Savage Garden offers a variety of Middle-Eastern and European dishes in a stylishly-decorated, blue and white haveli. The menu is carefully put together to create exciting and delicious combinations of flavour.
Natraj ($) – This has been Udaipur’s top thali joint for more than 20 years. Having thali is a great way to try authentic Rajasthani food as it allows you to try different curries, breads, rices and desserts in one meal. At Natraj your food will be refilled before your eyes by the serving staff as you learn which you like and dislike. The restaurant has a polished and modern look; usually quite busy but you can always find a free table.
For more advice about places to eat in Udaipur please do not hesitate to ask the hotel driver or guide who will be happy to help.