Udaipur, in Rajasthan, is often called the most romantic city in India because of its famed lakes and palaces. Therefore it's only natural that they feature prominently in the list of top Udaipur attractions and places to visit. Experiencing Udaipur is all about reliving royalty and appreciating the city's regal beauty.
Also, do have a meal at Millets of Mewar restaurant in the Hanuman Ghat area. Healthy, tasty, organic, inexpensive food is served there, which both foreigners and Indians will love.
01 of 08How did Rajasthan's royal rulers survive after India became a democracy, and their states were merged into the Union of India? They converted their palaces into hotels and tourist attractions in order to generate an income. Udaipur's City Palace Complex, belonging to the Mewar royal family, really sets the standard as far as such heritage tourism is concerned. This all encompassing destination incorporates two authentic palace hotels and the City Palace Museum. A collection of vintage cars and Jag Mandir, a pleasure palace in the middle of Lake Pichola, add to the interest. Definitely don't miss any of it! It's the largest palace complex in Rajasthan.
02 of 08
Another place of architectural splendor, Bagore Ki Haveli was built in the late 18th century by the Prime Minister of Mewar. It's located on the edge of Lake Pichola, at Gangaur Ghat (which is a relaxing place to sit by the water). After five years of restoration work, the Haveli was converted into a museum. It's a joy to wander through and provides a further fascinating look into the lifestyle of the royal family. Inside there are more than 100 rooms, courtyards and terraces, many with beautiful frescoes and fine mirror work. Royal paintings, costumes of the royal kings, personal items, and traditional Rajasthani arts and crafts are on display. There's also a puppet gallery, and turban collection with the world's biggest turban. The Haveli is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. A folk dance performance and puppet show is held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are priced at 60 rupees each plus 100 rupees for a camera.
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Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake
Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake (to the north of Lake Pichola and connected by a canal) are the most popular of Udaipur's man-made lakes. A boat ride on Lake Pichola gives a whole new perspective to the city, especially the City Palace Complex. Boats depart from Rameshwar Ghat in the City Palace gardens (you'll need to pay a small fee to get inside the City Palace if you're not staying there). A one hour trip costs 400 rupees for adults (or 700 rupees at sunset) including a stop at Jag Mandir. If you want a cheaper option, the boat stand at Lal Ghat offers 30 minute boat trips for 150-250 rupees (depending on the size of the boat) at any time of the day. Jag Mandir isn't included though. You can also explore Fateh Sagar Lake by hiring a paddle or motor boat from the bottom of Moti Magra hill.
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Ambrai GhatUdaipur has many vantage points for photography but arguably the best one is Ambrai Ghat, especially at sunset. It's located directly opposite the City Palace and also fronts the Lake Palace hotel, so you have an unsurpassed view of both as their lights are turned on. To get to there, head to the Hanuman Ghat area and keep walking along the road that runs parallel to Lake Pichola as far as you can, past the Amet Haveli hotel and Ambrai restaurant. Do be aware that you might feel a little uncomfortable, as Ambrai Ghat is a popular local hangout for couples. (Of course, locals know the most romantic spot with the best views in the city)!Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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The Monsoon Palace can be seen from Udaipur, perched high on a hill above the city. As its name suggests, it was a favored destination of the royal family during the monsoon season. The Palace belonged to the Mewar royal family until it was placed in government hands. After being closed for quite a while, it's been restored but isn't very well maintained. The Palace is a popular sunset spot due to its unsurpassed view over Udaipur. Those who are familiar with James Bond's Octopussy movie will also recognize the Palace as the home of the principal villain, Kamal Khan. The drive to the palace takes around 30 minutes and passes through Sajjan Garh Wildlife Sanctuary. Entry fees are payable, and some people feel that the 300 rupee cost for foreigners is overpriced and not worth it. Auto rickshaws aren't allowed to enter the Wildlife Sanctuary so it's best to hire a car or take the special minivan that departs from Gangaur Ghat at 5 p.m. daily.
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This imposing white Hindu temple, with intricate architecture and carvings, is an unmissable landmark in the Lal Ghat area near the entrance to the City Palace. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1961 and houses a black stone idol of Lord Jagannath (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). The highlight there is the evocative aarti (worship ceremony) every sunrise and sunset.
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Red cable cars ferry sightseers on short (five minutes one way) trips up the hill from Deen Dayal Park at Doodh Talai (next to the Shiv Niwas Palace hotel) to Karni Mata temple. There's a viewing platform there and it's another popular spot for seeing the sunset over the city. Do be aware that the line and waiting time to buy tickets can be lengthy at times. Tickets cost about 80 rupees for adults, and there's an option to pay more and not have to wait.
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Shilpgram (meaning "craftsmen's village") is a rural arts and crafts complex, located three kilometers from Udaipur and set up by the government in 1986. It showcases rural life and traditions from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. The complex has huts from each of the states, incorporating their distinctive architectural features. Artisans also sell their wares and perform folk dances. Horse rides and camel rides are offered as well. The complex really comes alive during the 10 day Shilpgram Arts & Crafts Fair in late December. Otherwise, although it's a great concept, it tends to be sadly rather lackluster.