A far cry from the hustle and bustle of Delhi, Udaipur proves there’s a lot more to India than booming cities and honking cars. This city’s beauty is apparent from the moment you arrive, whether from atop the Monsoon Palace or by the shores of Lake Pichola. However, Udaipur is much more than just a pretty face and the warmth of the people and relaxed atmosphere of the city make it the perfect place to spend a few days. So if you’re wondering how to pass the time, here are the best things to do in Udaipur.
Visit the City Palace
With a facade measuring 244 metres in length and just over 30 metres in height, the City Palace is Rajasthan’s largest palace. Construction began in the 16th century by the city’s founder, Maharana Udai Singh II, however his successors made their own additions over the centuries to give the palace its appearance today.
Inside the palace you’ll find different living quarters and, amazingly, a luscious garden full of trees on the fourth floor! Hire a local guide to take you through the history of this highly unique building.
Soak up the views at the Monsoon Palace
Perched high on a hill and providing sweeping, panoramic views of the city, lakes and countryside, the Monsoon Palace is a must-visit for anyone travelling to Udaipur. Originally used to look for monsoon clouds and as an observatory, this unique building is impressive in its current form – but was planned to be nine stories high.
The palace is surrounded by a national park and was one of the filming locations for the James Bond movie ‘Octopussy‘ (the Lake Palace being another). Its views are so impressive, that if you’ve arrived from one of the more populous cities in India, you would scarcely believe you’re in the same country. Look out for the troops of monkeys and other wildlife that can be seen about the complex.
Take a sunrise or sunset river cruise
One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the region is with a river cruise at either sunrise or sunset. The cruise takes you out into the middle of the lake, giving you a unique perspective of the scenery and city that you just can’t see from the shore.
If you’re struggling to choose what time to go, we’d recommend opting for the sunset river cruise. That way, you can top it off with a chilled gin and tonic at one of the many restaurants that surround the lake.
Discover the backstreet artisans
You can’t be in Udaipur for more than five minutes without noticing the abundance of art in the city. There are murals on walls, artists selling their paintings at stalls and locals carving small statues by the curbside.
Visit one of the co-operative studios to see several artists come together to showcase their different works. Or, if you’re feeling creative, there’s also the opportunity to take some lessons for yourself.
Shop at the local markets
As Udaipur isn’t as hectic as Delhi or Jaipur, it’s the perfect destination for shopping at a more leisurely pace. Take a tuk tuk or simply walk about and soak up the sights and sounds of the local markets.
Vendors here are more than happy to let you come to them and some stores even have fixed pricing (in case haggling isn’t your thing). Whilst art is definitely Udaipur’s specialty, you’ll find stalls and shops selling everything from statues to phone chargers.