Unbound at Udaipur

Rajasthan

 

Historic, romantic and full of colour, Udaipur is a colourful depiction of Rajasthan's diversity in more ways than one.  Known as the city of lakes, the city has a lot more on offer than royalty and water bodies. While Rajputana Forts and ancient temples, dominate the mind space of the most tourists, the city has another quieter side to it amidst the arid vegetation of the land and the low lying Aravali hills.

A popular destination for Big Fat Indian Weddings, the vicinity of Udaipur offers shades hardly associated with either the state or the city itself. In this travel guide to the city, we hope to allure the curious traveller in you.

History

Founded by the Maharana Udai Singh II in 1558 after shifting the clan’s capital from Chittorgarh after the latter was besieged by Akbar, and remained the capital until 1818 when it became a princely state under British Raj.

 

The region, collectively known as the Ahar Riverbank, was however inhabited far before the Rajputs in as early as 2000 BC. The indigenous tribe known to have inhabited the land before the Rajputs were the Bhil/Bheels, who still reside in the region in large numbers.

 

Places of Interest & Things To Do

Experiencing Udaipur is not just about reliving royalty and appreciating the city’s man-made beauty. Often referred to as ‘Venice of the east’, hemmed in by the Aravallis, the city provides for an ideal escape for couples, solo travellers and large groups alike.

City Palace

The city of lakes ought to have the Palatial Abode for its Royal Family by the lakes as well. Symbolising awe-inspiring architecture that combines Rajput and Mughal styles, the palace was built across 4 centuries by as many as 22 Maharanas from the 16th to the 20th century. While the royal family still resides in a section of the palace, the majority of the structure is now a museum which has a ticketed entry. Key mention – The palace also organized an hourly boat ride in Lake Pichola that also takes guests to the island-like Jag Mandir.

Forest Tours

While the forests surrounding Udaipur are not particularly known for wildlife sightings, a visit to the lands presents a different and less explored part of the city and is a must visit for those keen on exploring the flora & fauna of the land.  

Jag Mandir

Majestically located on an island in Lake Pichola, this 17th-century marvel of a temple can be accessed only by a boat ride, most popular of which runs every hour from the City Palace. Famous for film shootings and destination weddings, the island temple also holds a plush restaurant and café (exorbitant prices mind you) within. With fresco artwork on the inside of the temple walls and beautiful black and white marble tiles outside, to complement the lush gardens on the east end, the place isn’t just meant for religious devotees alone.

Ahar Cenotaphs

The Ahar Cenotaphs or locally referred to as the Ahar Mahasatyaji, are a group of cenotaphs, located about 2 km east of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. There are over 250 chattris or cenotaphs of the maharajas of Mewar, that were built over 400 years at the place. The site also contains 19 cenotaphs that commemorate the 19 Maharanas who were cremated in Udaipur.

Lake Pichola

The lake of all the lakes in the city of lakes.

Lake Pichola is the lifeline of Udaipur and all the charm that the city is famously known for. Located in the heart of Udaipur, Lake Pichola is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur. Enveloped by the various hues of the city that include the City Palace, Kothis, Temples, Ghats, and fine-dine restaurants, the lake also holds two other prominent sites in the Jag Mandir, as well as the palace-turned-luxury-hotel The Taj Lake Palace.

Unbound Tip – Other than the usual checklist, do pay a visit to either Upre or Ambrai for an evening fine dining experience.

Lake Badi View Point

For those who want to do more than just sit and admire the beauty of Lake Pichola or Lake Fateh Sagar, the more popular and frequented lakes of Udaipur, Lake Badi is an ideal alternative. And while the lake in itself is magnificent from its banks, a short 15-minute trek (for slow climbers) to the top of a viewpoint for the lake is quite something. 

Tip - Ideal to go early morning in the wee-hours around dawn before other tourists take up the sparse rock sittings from where views like the one here are on offer. Also best to wear appropriate footwear as slipping and sliding isn't the adventure you want to indulge in!

Lakeside Fine Dining

Lake Pichola is peppered with a number of eating options that complement the beauty of the lake and the surrounding structures. If you're not on a tight budget however, we do recommend a visit to some of the more famous fine-dining restaurants around the lake, to places such as Ambrai, Upre, and The Darikhana (part of the Jag Mandir) 

Village Tour

The outskirts of Udaipur is peppered with local tribal villages that continue to live in rural agrarian ways which in itself holds a unique charm in itself. 

To truly make the most of such experiences, we recommend travellers to spend a good amount of time with the locals and try and strike up conversations. 

Unbound Tip - The best way to top off such visits, is by breaking bread with the locals. Rajasthanis take deep pride in their hospitality and there is no better place to experience this than in their own homes.

Pratap Gaurav Kendra

Pratap Gaurav Kendra on the Tiger Hills was a project initiated with aplomb, aimed at sharing the rich history about Maharana Pratap through a multitude of new means including a light & sound show, a museum and last but most certainly not the least, a 57 feet tall statue of Maharana Pratap.

Shilpgram

Aimed at providing an outlet for rural arts and crafts, Shilgram, located 3 km west of the city centre at Udaipur is spread over approximately 70 acres of land surrounded by the Aravalis. The complex holds a museum and other cultural centres that depict different art forms of the rural west India and is best known for hosting cultural events every other week at its open-air amphitheatre.

Travel Tips

 

Accessibility & How To Get There

Recommended Mode of Transport:

Air & Railways

While Udaipur is located right in the heart of Rajasthan, being an almost mid-point between Delhi & Mumbai, unless one is a true blood road-tripper, we recommend either a flight or a train given the city hosts both with good connectivity from all across India.

For people looking to drive, the city is part of the Golden Quadrilateral that connects Delhi & Mumbai and thus boasts of the best highway National Highway connections from both north and the south.

Distance from key cities:

- From Delhi – 660 km

- From Jaipur – 390 km

- From Ahmedabad – 260 km

- From Mumbai – 760 km

Best Time to Visit

Summers are hot and winters are not! While the phrase describes the peak tourist season and the best time to visit - November – February, we strongly recommend a visit during the monsoons. Why? Low tariffs, un-congested streets, and while you can enjoy the hotels and air conditioners during the day, the evening temperatures are just ideal to step out and culturally immerse oneself in the locale.

The monsoons also mark the time when the city almost blooms in itself. The Lakes swell up, and the hills change their colour with the browns of the arid vegetation, changing to a more pleasant green. 

Rajasthan is home to the Thar Desert which makes the temperatures during the day vs night extreme opposites. While the winters see the city host several regional festivals, most notable being the Mewar Festival which marks the onset of spring.

Weather

Summers: April to June

While summers in Udaipur can be extremely hot and unforgiving, with temperatures ranging from 27°C - 45°C, the travel mantra is to enjoy the chill of the ACs at hotels & havelis during the day and step out in the evenings when the weather turns for the better. While it may sound odd, the summers are probably the best time for travellers looking to a) Stay away from crowds that throng the city during peak travel months, and b) get the best hotel deals with prices often being halved in light of the off-season.

 

Monsoons: July to September

 

The monsoons hit Udaipur in July marks the changing of the complete landscape and weather of the place. The lakes swell up, the Arvalis change their hues from brown to green and the general weather becomes extremely pleasant for stepping out and seeing the city, with temperatures ranging from 20°C - 35°C. The sporadic rainfalls continue until September.

 

Winters: October to March

Winters can be felt in Udaipur from late November until late February. The general weather is ideal to step out and enjoy the outdoors with the temperatures ranging from 5°C to 30°C.

Where to Stay

 

Unbound at VSR

Udaipur

Concocting the traditional and the modern, I, Villa Sagat Raaso, or VSR, as friends call me, come with the amenities of a hotel and the warmth of a home.

Theme Villa

Unbound at Jungalow

Udaipur

Located 5 km south-west side of Lake Pichola, I can best be described as a luxury boutique villa, ideal to explore a quieter, more picturesque side of Udaipur.

Theme Villa

 

Location

Being in the heart of Rajasthan, Udaipur is easily accessible from all the major cities, by multiple modes of transport.

By Air: Maharana Pratap / Dabok Airport of Udaipur is located 22 km from the city centre. The airport sees frequent traffic from all major domestic cities and taxis/buses are also easily available for further travels.

 

By Train: Again, being in the heart of Rajasthan means that several trains plying between Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities plan a stop at the Udaipur Railway station. Extravagant options present themselves here too with the likes of the famed Palace on Wheels also finding a stop at the station.

By Road: Rajasthan’s road network is said to be one of the best in the country and being part of the Golden Quadrilateral Project connecting Delhi and Mumbai means Udaipur can be comfortably accessed by road. Distances from major cities are highlighted as under:

- From Delhi – 660 km

- From Jaipur – 390 km

- From Ahmedabad – 260 km

- From Mumbai – 760 km

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Tel. 999-989-8202

Email: info@unboundstays.com

999-989-8202

© 2019 By Unbound Stays LLP