Udaipur is beautiful.
We arrived in the evening to our hotel, Oberoi Udaivlias and fell in love at the first glance. So much so that we extended our stay by one night. Everything about Udaivilas is enchanting.
The architecture is superb, the location with view over Lake Pichola and the Lake Palace is perfect, the grounds are vast and meticulously maintained, the rooms are spacious and comfortable, the restaurant is excellent, the spa is great, the two heated outdoor pools are amazing, the staff are courteous and attentive….and I can keep going on. We had booked through American Express Platinum and were upgraded to a suite with semi-private pool and lake view which was divine.
The early morning walks were an absolute pleasure, in fact, walking anytime or anywhere withing the hotel grounds was a treat. The architecture with multiple domes of various sizes follows Moghul and Persian styles and attention to detail is what makes it stand out. During our three nights stay here, I could not stop taking pictures.
Now, about Udaipur: it is a pretty, clean, mostly traffic-free and fairly compact town. It would be a shame if first time visitors to India would miss experiencing this delightful city. There are lots to see in and outside of Udaipur which would require a minimum of two full days. Do hire a guide; you will not regret this inexpensive, efficient and time saving choice. Here is an effective and practical itinerary utilizing a guide and driver:
- First Day:
- morning to early afternoon (4-5 hours): Head to heart of old town and climb the steep steps to visit Jagdish Mandir Temple (30 min.).
- Then, walk the charming and exceptionally clean old streets toward the grand City Palace (20-30 min.) and pay a visit (1.5-2 hrs.). do a bit of shopping (15-30 min.). The famous James Bond Movie, Octopussy, was extensively filmed in Udaipur around City Palace, Lake Pichola and Monsoon Palace.
- Get back to the car and head for the beautiful Prakash Palace and Garden about 15 minutes away (45 min-1 hr.). Return to hotel for some food, rest and perhaps a quick dip in the pool.
- About an hour before sunset, head for the tranquil Monsoon Palace to see one of the best views over Udaipur and witness the most magnificent sunset. The drive itself is beautiful. While there, we met an amazing and delightful lady from Germany, Iris, on her second solo trip to India and became fast friends. Upon arrival to India, she had met a German couple at the Delhi’s airport and they had became travel companions for a week or so. We liked each other so much that we made plans to meet the next day for dinner and had lots of fun and laugh. Every year she leaves her husband in charge of the household and kids and travels by herself for 6 weeks. I so envy her. She was and is an inspiration to me.
- Day Two:
- Full Day: Head out of town to visit Eklingji and Nagda Temples. The drive and temples are fantastic. It is about 45 minutes to Eklingji Temple. Allow 45 minutes for the visit and do not forget to take a walk in the old narrow streets of the town. After exiting the temple, take the first left turn leading you up a narrow and steep alley. You will see smiling children, goats, maybe a holy cow or two and women doing their daily chores and washing clothes in the nearby lake. Afterward drive through yet another pretty countryside to the ruins of Nagda Temple (40 min.). I fell in love with this old,lonely and serene temple. The visit can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as you wish it to be. We stayed for an hour and tried to absorb as much of its charm as we possibly could.
Once you can bring yourself to say farewell, continue for a well deserved and delicious lunch at the restored, once-upon-a-time castle turned into a small hotel, Devi Garh. Make sure you get a tour and sit on the balcony or by the windows for terrific views over the village.
Wherever you stay at for however long and doing whatever- I guarantee Udaipur will charm you and becomes a favorite on your list.
Next & Last Stop: Mumbai
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