When you hear about Udaipur, the opulent hotels oozing with luxury come to mind immediately. Indeed there are many such amazing hotels in Udaipur where you can be pampered like a prince or princess. Luckily, there also many budget friendly options available that allow you to explore the city of Udaipur and experience its unique beauty without breaking the bank. We had an opportunity to visit Udaipur and this is what we were able to accomplish in two days.
Day 0 – Travel Day
Udaipur has an airport located about 45 minutes from the city. Even though it is a small airport, it has good connectivity with other major cities within India which makes traveling into the city easy. The only glitch – you can potentially spend a day traveling. In our case, we arrived in Udaipur around 5pm on Day 0. After a long day of traveling we headed straight to the hotel. Once we reached the hotel, we had our dinner and called it a night.
Day 1 – Exploring Udaipur inside out
After an early breakfast, we headed to City Palace – our first sightseeing spot. It was high tourist season and the City Palace was very busy. You need to walk up a steep ramp to reach the entrance of the Palace from the parking area. This took some time as we were a mixed aged group. However, since the City Palace is located on the banks of Lake Pichola, we were able to enjoy beautiful views of the lake as we slowly walked up the road.
The first part of the City Palace was a complete human zoo… no other way to describe it. As we literally pushed our way through the crowd, we were able to see some pretty paintings along the way. After about 15 minutes of feeling claustrophobic, we reached Mor Chowk within the Palace and were able to breathe once again. Stunning glass inlay surrounded us as we explored the area. We then continued to explore the museum part of the palace and were thrilled to see unique stone statues.
After about 2 hours we exited the palace and headed to the ferry start point. While the boats do arrive at regular intervals, we spent about an hour waiting for our turn to board. The boat ride was fantastic. The views of the City Palace from the lake were phenomenal. Our plan was to quickly complete the boat ride and head for lunch. But, the universe had different plans. The boat has a mandatory stop at Jag Mandir Island in Lake Pichola. This unexpected compulsory stop turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We had a nice lunch on the island before heading back to the mainland.
By the time we returned to the dock it was around 4pm. We quickly got into our car and headed to Sajjangarh Palace (Monsoon Palace) to watch the sunset. We had heard the views were spectacular, so we did not want to miss it. We reached there about 1/2 hour before sunset. The place was already very crowded. The palace itself is simple and it appears to be undergoing some renovation work. From the palace we were able to see both the Pichola and Fateh Sagar lakes and the city of Udaipur between. We were also able to see the Solar Observatory in Fateh Sagar lake from a distance. The sunset itself is nice… but personally, it is okay to miss it.
After Sajjangarh we headed back to the City Palace area with intention of visiting Jagdish Temple. The elder folks in our group went back to the hotel as they were exhausted and the approach to the temple has steep steps which they did not wish to climb. By the time we reached the temple, the area was quiet and we were able to enjoy a peaceful visit.
After the temple visit we did some shopping in the surrounding area before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night.
Day 2 – Rest of Udaipur and Travel Day
While having dinner on Day 0, we met other travellers who had been visiting Udaipur the previous two days. They recommended we visit the Eklingji temple located about 1 hour away from Udaipur.
So, after a good breakfast we drove around Fateh Sagar Lake and then headed to Eklingji Temple. The temple is open for a short period of time. By the time we got there, a long line of waiting visitors greeted us. At the entrance we found out that bags and cameras were not allowed inside. Since we had parked our car far away, one of the members in our group stayed outside and held all of our bags and cameras while the rest of went inside. The complex contains one main Shiva temple surrounded by many, many small temples all around… some accessible, others out of bounds.
After the visit, which took about 45 minutes, we headed to our next destination.
1) Udaipur is a beautiful and very popular tourist city. Unless you don’t have any other choice, avoid the peak tourist season.
2) Wear comfortable shoes. You have to walk a lot and there are quite a few steep inclines.
3) Boating – Do not miss the boating opportunity… the views you will witness are special.
4) Sunset at Sajjangarh – watching the sun set in the mountains is pretty… but, it is okay to miss also. However, do consider visiting Sajjangarh – the views are very nice.
5) If you are splurging on a luxury stay, then do spend at least 2 to 3 days and actually enjoy the hotel you are staying in.