Udaipur, the city of lakes is one of the throbbing tourist hubs in India. It has lots to offer in terms of culture, history, nature, spirituality and food. Beautifully surrounded by the Aravalli mountain ranges, and home to four big lakes, it houses beautiful palaces, museums, parks and artisan hubs. It would take days to soak into all that it has to offer. Although we would love to, but often we are constrained by time. Recently, we did a trip to Udaipur and spent approximately two complete days in this beautiful city. We created an itinerary for ourselves and made a note of top things that we wanted to do and experience in this city of lakes. We decided to divide the couple of days at hand between two major areas – the old city area around Lake Pichola and the new / expanded city area around Fateh Sagar Lake. The two days turned out to be absolutely stunning. So, here is our recommendation of top things to do in Udaipur in 48 hours.
Start the trip with a temple visit – Jagadish Temple
Udaipur city is full of old temples with beautiful architecture. Temples are open from as early as 6 am in the morning till noon, and then reopen from 4 pm in the evening. Jagadish temple is one of the oldest and renowned temple in Udaipur. It is a temple of Lord Vishnu (one of the Gods of the Hindu trinity responsible for preserving the universe). You could visit this temple post breakfast, or even earlier to offer your prayers. You can spend some peaceful moments in this temple premises and then start off to the next destination. We spent 30 minutes in solitude in this temple and the positive feeling gave a nice start to our day!
Head to the Udaipur City Palace
Udaipur City Palace is the biggest palace in the state of Rajasthan, India. While a large part of it is open to the public now, the royal family still resides in one part and the rest of the part is leased out by them to two five-star hotel chains. The main (public) entrance to the palace is conveniently located just 200 meters from Jagadish Temple. We recommend that you take a guided tour to understand the historical significance of the places that are to be discovered next.
There is a big weapons and artifacts museum as one enters the palace, followed by different chambers where the king performed his official duties. Then comes the queen’s palace where she and her retinue resided, king’s palace and finally you will find a silver museum before the exit. You can also find a crystal gallery inside the palace. Admission to it requires additional tickets.
You can easily spend two to three hours in the palace complex and enjoy every bit of it.
Its Lunch time! Try a local restaurant
By the time your Udaipur city palace tour is over, you would have walked a lot, climbed up and down the stairs and synced in a lot of history. The next best thing to do would be to satisfy your stomach with the delicacies of Udaipur. There are lots of options for lunch both inside and outside the City Palace complex. However, if you want something more local, exit from the same public entrance door of the City Palace. The road outside the city palace is lined up with several restaurants and cafes (though not upmarket, it is sure to satisfy your taste buds).
Lets now go to Bagore ki Haveli
Bagore ki Haveli is an ancient Haveli (royal residence) turned into a museum now. It is 700 meters from City Palace, and thus, an ideal choice to visit next. It has over 100 rooms that have different costumes, artifacts and other items of use on display. The museum has a weaponry section. Here, the weapons used during the ancient battles are on display. There are hundreds of rooms which display various objects used in the Haveli by its erstwhile residents. There were three more sections in this museum which we found very interesting:
(1) A puppet museum where various puppets are at display representing a royal court setup, soldiers, camels and horses etc.
(2) A turban museum which has different turbans from Rajasthan and adjoining states of India, with description of what differentiates them from the rest.
(3) A section where the stages of a royal Indian wedding are depicted through beautiful 3D models.
It takes around 2 hours to visit the museum.
Admire a glorious sunset over Lake Pichola
Bagore ki Haveli is located right on the bank of Lake Pichola. A little walk of about 8 minutes takes you to the boating complex. From here, a boat can be hired to take a ride on Lake Pichola and you can watch the mesmerizing sunset into the horizon. Against the backdrop of the sunset, you will get to see the grandeur of the City Palace and Bagore ki Haveli on one end and Udai Vilas Palace on the other end. Jag Mandir Palace is a coveted stop in the middle of the lake (PS: special boats run till there). If you want to give your spouse a pleasant surprise of a romantic dinner or want to have a fine dine experience amidst the lake, you can as well book a table in advance at the restaurant here. Alternatively, you can choose to end the boat ride at one of the many restaurants that surround the Lake Pichola and provide amazing view of the glittering buildings and palaces under the night sky. PS: For a high end fine dine experience, you can also head to The Leela, on a boat.
That would bring us to the end of day! What would we do now? Head to a cozy accommodation for the night and have a beautiful sleep, dreaming of the little waves that are produced in the wake of your boat in Lake Pichola and the shimmering reflection of the dazzling city lights!
A boat ride at Fateh Sagar Lake & a walk through Nehru Garden
A perfect start to the day two morning would be Fateh Sagar Lake. Boating on the lake starts quiet early in the morning. The lake is serene and ultimate during the morning hours and the icing on the cake is that there is no tourist rush in the early hours. Nehru Garden is a beautiful garden in the middle of the lake. It is about four square kilometers in area. The garden opens by 9 am in the morning. Boats pickup and drop visitors at regular intervals to and from the garden. A morning walk surrounded by greenery in the middle of a pristine lake – what could be a better start to the morning!
Meet the artisans at Shilpgram
We highly recommend you next proceed to Shilpgram. It is a craft village. It is located just 3 kilometers from Fateh Sagar Lake. This is a government initiative to encourage and provide right exposure to skilled craftsmen and artists. Every artisan is given a shop to sell his work and the artist groups are provided a platform where they can showcase their art (folk dances, magic shows etc.).
The shows run multiple times a day. They last approximately for an hour. Each performance typically lasts for 10-15 minutes. Puppet shows are also organized here. During our visit to Shilpgram, we thoroughly enjoyed the performance of artist groups which had come from not just the state of Rajasthan, but also from the neighboring states as well. Post this, we met several artisans and skilled workers who exhibited and sold their fine handmade products. This included a Mojri shoe maker who has to his name the world record for the smallest shoes, another thread-worker who had an entry in limca book of world records for his fine work and several others. The shops are full of authentic hand woven clothes, bandhej, lah bangles, bed covers, Katha work, fashion jewelry, nail art work, paintings, eco-friendly kitchenware and much more. You can easily spend half a day at Shilpgram.. Once done with the tour of Shilpgram, you can have lunch in a small and tidy restaurant in the same complex, almost near the exit. There’s a fine dine restaurant too, just besides the Shilpgram complex.
Sahelion ki Bari next
Sahelion ki bari is located 3 kilometers from Shilpgram, quiet near to Fateh Sagar Lake. This is a garden constructed by the king for his daughter. Apparently, the little princess was in love with rain and water. It was not in the power of the king to be able to make it rain whenever he desired. So, he got this garden constructed.
The garden is divided into several sections. Each of them has a different kind of fountain and water body amidst greenery. The princess would come here with her friends and enjoy the artificial rain from the fountains and swim in the little pond (or was it a huge bathtub!) whenever she desired. Hence the name, Sahelion ki Bari (Girlfriends Garden).
Ahar, the Royal Cremation Ground
Although, some may not be very keen to consider a cremation ground as a site, still, it would be a good idea to visit Ahar once. It’s the royal cremation ground of Udaipur. It has 372 cenotaphs of kings and queens of Mewar. Each one of them is beautifully made in fond memory of the deceased. Over the years, this place has held a strange fascination for travelers. While some come to admire the architectural beauty of the cenotaphs, some are drawn by the sepulchral peace of the place. Whatever your reason, you would love to spend some time in this place. It is around 3 kilometers away from Udaipur city and it would take around 15 minutes to reach from Sahelion ki Bari.
Its shopping time!!
By the time you head out from Sahelion ki Bari, it would be dusk. Udaipur is a shopper’s paradise. So set aside some time for shopping. No one would want to leave Udaipur without shopping. The main textile market Hathipole is just 2.5 kilometers from Sahelion ki Bari. The color and variety of fabric available here would simply amaze you.
Do checkout nearby streets for handicrafts as well. You can also head to government emporium or NGOs like Sadhana that have small boutique in their complex, just to pick a few souvenirs back for loved ones. Even if you do not want to shop, it’s quiet an experience to just stroll through the thriving local markets and have a glance around and do window shopping.
So, that’s almost the end of the 48 hours in Udaipur! Wait! Reflect back a little at the two days. Didn’t we have a tryst with history at Bagore ki Haveli & Udaipur City Palace, spirituality at Jagadish temple, nature at Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, culture at Shilpgram, Handicrafts and textiles of Udaipur whilst shopping and local food during the meal times! No wonder the 2 days spent turns out to be the most magical 48 hours spent in Udaipur!
This is a guest post by Neha. She and her husband Abhishek are travel enthusiasts & travel bloggers by passion and software engineer by profession. Neha is the planner and the writer. Abhishek is the executor and the photographer. They plan their family trips at the beginning of each year, putting good use to all holidays and extended weekends available. Post the vacation, they share their experience through their travelogue Revolving Compass. When they are not able to travel physically, they travel virtually reading blogs of fellow travelers (and that happens daily!)
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