The neighborhoods in Udaipur are divided into old and new parts of the city. The historic Old City lies along the eastern bank of Lake Pichola and was once protected by an extensive wall with a series of entry gates. Many neighborhoods are still known by these gate names, with Surajpol (Sun Gate) being the main one. Although the Old City is more crowded and congested than the new part, it's where all the atmosphere is!
Some visitors, meanwhile, may choose to spend their time outside the Old City enjoying the serenity offered by Udaipur's manmade lakes, constructed by Mewar kings as part of a remarkable rainwater management system.
But if you need help deciding where you want to stay, and where you want to explore, read on for the top neighborhoods in Udaipur.
Jagdish Chowk, the junction in front of landmark Jagdish temple, is the hub of Udaipur's tourist activities. Maharana Jagat Singh built the temple close to the City Palace in the Old City during his reign in the 17th century. It's dedicated to Hindu god Lord Vishnu (the preserver of the universe) and is the largest temple in the city. The streets radiating out from Jagdish Chowk are lined with restaurants and shops catering to visitors. Udai Art Cafe is a groovy spot for breakfast and coffee, while O'zen is ideal for meeting other travelers and hanging out. You'll get all kinds of souvenirs in this area, but with prices that reflect the fact that it is frequented by foreigners. Do bargain to get a good price.
Lal Ghat fronts Lake Pichola behind the Jagdish temple. It's the perfect place to stay on a budget if you want to be close to the action and have spectacular lake views. Many old havelis (mansions) in the neighborhood have been restored and opened as heritage hotels and guesthouses. Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel is one of the best and is situated right next to the lake. Not surprisingly, relaxing at a rooftop restaurant and soaking up the views is a popular pastime here (try renowned restaurant Charcoal by Carlsson, atop Hotel Pratap Bhawan, for grills and tacos). Boats also depart from the jetty at Lal Ghat for trips around Lake Pichola.
Next to Lal Ghat, Gangaur Ghat—named after the annual Gangaur festival held here—is Udaipur's main lakeside area. The main attraction is Bagore ki Haveli, an 18th century mansion that's partly been turned into a cultural museum and hosts evening folk performances. A lofty and elegant triple-arched gate opens out onto the waterfront, where it's worth taking a break from sightseeing to sit down and people-watch. The ghat is also an evocative place for photography. Stop by Jheel's Ginger Coffee Bar and Bakery for a bite to eat by the water's edge.
Situated on the opposite side of Lake Pichola, this neighborhood offers a slightly more laid-back local vibe and views across to the City Palace. Backpacker hostels and guesthouses accommodate budget travelers, while boutique Hotel Udai Kothi adds style with its Syah fine-dining restaurant. There are many other outstanding eateries in the area, including Ambrai at Hotel Amet Haveli, Upre on the rooftop of Lake Pichola heritage hotel, Hari Garh, Grasswood Cafe, and Yummy Yoga. Speaking of yoga, don't miss an early morning session with Seethu, who hosts her practice inside a 300-year-old Hanuman temple at the ghat.
Haridasji Ki Magri
Several of Udaipur's luxury hotels are located further out on the western side of Lake Pichola, in the quiet and upmarket neighborhood of Haridasji Ki Magri. It's named after Rao Haridas ji, from the noble family of Bisalpur, who spent most of his youth in Udaipur and left a great impression on the city. The area is about a 15-minute drive from attractions such as the City Palace. Top hotels here are the opulent Oberoi Udaivilas, the Trident, and Chunda Palace heritage hotel. Hotel Jaisingarh and Dev Villa are lighter on the pocket.
Clock Tower Area (Ghanta Ghar)
Similar to other major cities in Rajasthan, Udaipur has a clock tower (ghanta ghar) in the heart of its Old City. The tower's history can be traced back to 1887, when it was installed under the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh as a symbol of harmony following a conflict between Mahajans (influential Hindu traders) and Bohras (a sect of Muslims). Both communities were fined for their behavior, and the money was used for the clock tower—Udaipur's first public timepiece. Nowadays, the area around the clock tower is a congested market hub specializing in silver and gold jewelry (although some pieces are merely coated in silver paint). Traditional Rajasthani jewelry is available here, along with handcrafted copperware. Do note that many of the shops are closed on Sundays.
Nada Khada and Delhi Gate Area
To the east of the clock tower, Nada Khada is a fascinating Old City neighborhood with wholesale fruit and vegetable markets, a spice market, tea market, and a community of traditional bamboo basket weavers. The market area around Teej ka Chowk is where you'll find most of them, though there's another vegetable market not far away at Anjuman Chowk. Explore the streets for a captivating peek into daily life!
Hathipol, north of the clock tower, is one of the remaining gates into the Old City. It's possible that the kingdom's elephants were once housed here, giving rise to the name hathi (elephant) pol (gate). This neighborhood is where to shop for souvenirs without the inflated prices of Jagdish Chowk; the market is frequented by locals and Indian tourists more so than foreigners but has the same variety of products. Note that while vendors charge less, they are also less open to heavy bargaining. Block-printed fabrics, textiles, colorful wooden handicrafts, traditional footwear, Rajasthani miniature paintings, costume jewelry, and home furnishings are just some of the items up for grabs. Do note that most shops are closed on Sunday afternoons.
Continue north of Hathipol and you'll reach Chetak Circle in the new part of the city, easily identified by the large white statue of Chetak (erstwhile ruler Maharana Pratap's beloved horse) in the middle of the roundabout. This commercial neighborhood draws hungry hordes to its street food stalls and sweet shops. There's an entire row of stalls devoted to bhurji, the Indian version of scrambled eggs. The Egg World is the most famous one; its owner, Jay Kumar, has even been on MasterChef India. Jayesh Misthan Bhandar, on Hospital Road, sells snacks and sweets in a more hygienic environment, while freshly ground spices create a tantalizing aroma at the spice market near Chetak Circle. There's a modern shopping mall, too, where legendary Chetak Cinema used to be.
If you're looking to stay in a peaceful neighborhood that's within walking distance of Hathipol market and the buzz of the Old City, Swaroop Sagar fits the bill. One of Udaipur's man-made lakes—and one that's been cleaned up a lot in recent years—Swaroop Sagar connects Lake Pichola to Fateh Sagar lake on the northern fringe of the city. Maharana Swaroop Singh constructed it during his reign in the mid-19th century to help regulate water levels in the lakes. While you're here, you'll find a paved track around part of the lake along with a footbridge, making it a scenic spot for a sunset stroll. Swaroop Vilas is a stylish water-facing boutique hotel with a swimming pool and lawns.
This large and picturesque lake was built by Maharana Fateh Singh in the late 19th century after the original one, made by Maharana Jai Singh in the late 17th century, was damaged by flood. Fateh Sagar is enclosed by hills, so the area is ideal for those who'd prefer to be closer to nature than the city center. Boating is a popular activity, and it's possible to take a boat ride out to Nehru Park, located on an island in the middle of the lake. Many other parks and gardens surround the water, including Saheliyon-ki-Bari, which Maharana Sangram Singh established for the royal ladies in the early 18th century. There's also a park dedicated to heroic ruler Maharana Pratap atop Moti Magri hill. Hotel Lakend and The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace provide stunning luxury accommodations, whereas Ram Pratap Palace and Panna Vilas Palace are cheaper heritage options.