The city of Udaipur is one of the big cities of Rajasthan, famous for its magnificent palace in the middle of the water. This palace (called the Lake Palace) cannot be visited because it has been transformed into a luxury hotel. At several hundred euros a night, we spent our tour! But we can admire the whole city of course!
In Udaipur, as in many cities of Rajasthan, there is a palace-fort which is still the home of the Maharaja. This fort (called the City Palace) has hundreds of years, and has been built over the centuries by different generations of maharajas: the ensemble now forms a sumptuous palace, which we visit a part converted into a museum. The other part has been reconverted … into a luxury hotel! The museum is quite interesting and allowed us to walk in the labyrinths of terraces, corridors, and rooms of the palace. It’s still very beautifully carved and beautifully painted!
We also took advantage of our visit to Udaipur to rent bicycles and go around one of the lakes of Udaipur: we met dozens of Indians on vacation (for Diwali), and we participated with pleasure in long photo sessions. Indians who smiled when they had nothing to sell us, what happiness!
Finally, we also climbed on a hill in the city to admire the sunset on the lake, behind the Lake Palace.
Murals on Udaipur Street Wall
We do not know if this is a specialty of Udaipur but it is in this city that we saw the most: murals are found in every street, around the doors mainly. They often represent Hindu gods, women or elephants.
The Diwali Festival
The Diwali festival is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar (a bit like a new year). For the occasion, many Indians take several days of vacation and everyone gets “on his 31”: the women compete in beauty with their saris, everyone paints pretty drawings at his door and lights small candles in the evening. A pleasure for the eyes! A little less for the ears, because the evening of Diwali, it is fireworks and firecrackers at will!
Advice to travelers:
- Plan a few days in Udaipur, you will not regret it! This is the city that seemed the most enjoyable of our trip to Rajasthan.
- On the lodging side, we were at the Udai Haveli guesthouse. A little expensive because of the festival of Diwali, but in normal times, there are rooms at 800 Rs.
- As for restaurants, we have several to recommend to you:
- For the view: Jasmine Restaurant (lakeside) and Jheel’s Ginger Coffe Bar (roof-top with lake view)
- For healthy cooking (and a bit expensive): Millets of Mewar
- For its simplicity, its excellent value for money and its adorable welcome: Rathore Restaurant, in the street Bhatiyani Chotta (the one that goes to the Tibetan Market)
The Diwali festival takes place every year in October, check the date on the internet. Be careful, the hotels are stormed and it may be useful to book a few days in advance. The advantage of Diwali is that you will meet many Indian tourists who see few Westerners, and who will be very nice to you!