UDAIPUR – City of Palaces and Lakes

UDAIPUR, what do I say about this beautiful city? The city of Lakes and palaces. A long ago dream to visit this place was fulfilled last year in November.

We reached Udaipur at around 1pm. I had already planned out where all I wanted to go, and what I wanted to see by exploring the internet. I had booked a reasonably priced accommodation which was close to the City palace. That was all I knew. After getting down from the bus, it was a bunch of new experiences, pleasantly surprising me. First we took an auto and told him the address of the accommodation, Bhanwar Vilas Guest house. When we came to our destination, I was a little apprehensive, because the way he showed us to the accommodation was in a gully and I couldn’t see anything resembling the present day hotels. When we finally entered the small entrance door, we realised that many houses of the old city (the place where we were staying) were converted into Guest houses providing accommodation to travellers. It was neat with basic comforts. It is at a walkable distance to Jagdishji mandir, Pichola Lake and Udaipur palace. We deposited our luggage in the room and went in search of a hotel for our lunch. It was in a walkable distance, so had lunch and after freshening up a bit, took a cab and went to see Saas Bahu temple and Eklingji temple which are a 45 minute drive from the main city.

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Saas Bahu Temple complex

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Toran with carving

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Beautiful carving.                                                       Carving on ceiling

Saas Bahu temple is a Lord Vishnu temple in Nagda village. The temple was actually called Sahasra Bahu (thousand arms) temple, where the deity was a thousand armed Vishnu, later the locals started calling it Saas Bahu temple. The temple is in ruins, the deity no longer there, but you can appreciate the beautiful carvings on the walls.

Then we went to the Eklingji temple which is in the fort of the Mewar rulers. Eklingji is supposed to be the principle deity of the Mewar rulers. It was a different experience going into the fort to see the temple. Leather items and cell phones and cameras strictly prohibited, so they were kept in lockers at the entrance. Inside it is more like a temple complex with many small temples. The carvings are good which made us feel the loss of the camera. Had a good darshan and started back to the guest house.

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Wall of Jagdishji mandir.

After relaxing for sometime, went to Jagdishji mandir which again was in walking distance. It is beautiful. Fully carved marble temple, not only are the aesthetics amazing, but the atmosphere in the temple is also divine. When we went, a bhajan was going on, we had darshan of Jagdishji and sat for sometime, enjoying the bhajan and blissful atmosphere. Then we went for dinner at White Terrace Restaurant and had Laal Maas, a special lamb curry which is a famous delicacy there, and which was awesome. The houses in the old city are converted into restaurants and guest houses and so many foreigners stay there. . The roads in between were narrow, with small shops on both sides. Having said that, the old city is the place to be. For a tourist, to absorb the atmosphere of Udaipur, you have to stay in the old city.

Next day morning, we started our city sightseeing. The weather in November was very pleasant, bright sunny day, not too hot and nights were a bit cold.

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Maharana Pratap on his Chetak.               Model of Chittaurgarh fort.

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Beautiful views of Fatehsagar Lake and Udaipur.

First we went to Moti Magri, a memorial to Maharana Pratap and his beloved horse Chetak. It is a lovely place overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake with beautiful views all around. There is something about the place that lifts your spirits. Took some photographs and went to the adjoining museum. It has some beautiful paintings of the Mewar rulers and models of the Udaipur palace and Chittaurgarh fort.

Then we went to Bharatiya Lok kala Mandal, which is a collection of some arts and artifacts of tribals and locals. Saw a nice puppet show there.

Then we went to see the Vintage car museum, which is the collection of the vintage cars of the Mewar royal family.

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Saheliyon ki bari.

Then we went to see the Saheliyon ki bari, a garden built by one of the kings for his queen to enjoy with her friends and maids.

Then we went to the highlight of our trip, the City Palace. img_20181127_063123

We took tickets to see the palace and for the boat ride to see Jag mandir. The boat ride in Pichola lake was great. First he takes us around Lake palace, which has been converted now into a 5/7 star hotel. So we just see it from outside.

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The white palace in between the lake is the Lake palace and the Udaipur palace on the  bank .

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Jag mandir

Then we stopped at Jag mandir, which is also in between the lake, like the Lake palace. There we got down to spend some time to see the place, which is small but lovely, then we took the next boat back to the palace which is on the bank of the Pichola lake.

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Part of the palace

The palace is HUGE. It has 5 or 6 floors and is spread over such a huge extent. Hiring a guide is a must. Otherwise you will not understand where to start and where to go. A guide will take you to all the important places and explain everything. One more thing to take care of is that it is not for people with joint problems or leg problems. Some steps are huge that it takes a toll on you. Moreover climbing 5 floors on such type of steps will take a toll on average people too. But it is not everyday that you go to such places. So my policy is ‘Grin and bear it’. In the palace, you see the life of the royalty, beautiful courtyards and converted museums.

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This garden is on the second floor of the palace.

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An extremely beautiful peacock courtyard.

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The palace of the present king and the horse carriage gifted by a Bikaner (I think) king during a wedding between both families. The carriage is beautiful but the horses are awesome and so lifelike. Couldn’t take my eyes from it for some time.

Within the palace walls, there is a shop which is overseen by the royal family, which sells all the Rajasthani stuff, dresses, sarees, handicrafts etc. If you want to shop, that is the place. Everything is reasonably priced in comparison to other places in Rajasthan. So if Udaipur is in your schedule among other places of Rajasthan, plan to shop in the Udaipur palace grounds. Your guide will tell you which shop is managed by the Royal family.

By the time we finished the palace, we were in no position to go anywhere else. We were extremely tired. So took rest because we had to leave the next morning to Chittaurgarh. Thus ended a lovely trip to Udaipur.

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