Udaipur beckons tourists from all over the world with its romantic landscapes and ethereal monuments. Bordered by the crags of the hazy Aravallis, the city that was established in the 16th century by Maharaja Udai Singh, is now a major heritage tourism hotspot for India. With a seductive old-warm charm, opulent palaces and lively bazaars, tourists will never run out of places to visit in Udaipur. Some enchanting attractions in the city include the filigreed walls of Bada Mahal, the mountain pass of Haldighati, the lavish gardens of Saheliyon ki Bari and the placid waters of the Jaisamand Lake. The shimmering Lake Pichola hosts numerous things to do in Udaipur, such as a boat ride through the lake to the Jag Mandir Palace, from which you can witness the most stunning sunset. For those with a penchant for automobiles, the Vintage Car Museum in the Garden Hotel, hosts a fantastic exhibit of vintage vehicles. Udaipur's cuisine comprises of Rajasthani staples such as the flavoursome dal baati choorma and gatte ki sabzi. Popular eateries here include Chandni, Ambrai, Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel, Lotus Cafe and Mayur Rooftop Cafe. Hotels are easily available in Udaipur, and several retain their old world feel.
Also called Amdavad, this place happened to be the former capital of the state of Gujarat. The third largest of all the cities in the state, it is situated on the banks of the famous Sabarmati River and happens to be the industrial and economic hub of the state. The Ahmedabad Stock Exchange is also the second oldest one in the country and the city second when it comes to cotton production. There are some very famous places like the Sabarmati Ashram and Kankaria Lake that one can visit when in Ahmedabad.
Popularly known as Baroda, Vadodara is great travel destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts. The town is known for the grand Laxmi Vilas Palace and the Fatehsingh Museum (both located in the same premises). Do keep aside an entire day if you are fond or art and culture since the palace is huge and deserves that kind of time. You can also visit Sayaji Baug, a lush, refreshing garden in the middle of the city. It is the perfect place to visit if you are travelling with children since it has a small kid's zone, a cafeteria, a small museum and a zoo. If you are in the city for more than a day, do visit Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum since it houses numerous rare and beautiful paintings, sculptures and murals from all over the world, collected by the royal family. Vadodara may not be a traveller's perfect destination, but it does have its fair share of history, culture and art.
Considered to be one of the greenest cities in the country, Bhopal, is a place that one cannot afford to leave off their tourist trail. Adorned by many natural and as well as manmade lakes and water bodies, Bhopal is often referred to as the City of Lakes. The city is home to a number institutions and places that are of great national importance. The city houses ISROs Master Control Facility and the famous National Institute of Technical Training and Research (NITTTR), AIIMS and BHEL. The city has a number of attractions that lure many a tourist to tread along its roads. If one does plan a visit to this city, do not forget to pay a visit to the Bhimbetka Rock Caves, the superb artificial Upper Lake, try out the food at the historic Lazeez Hakeem Restaurant and visit the many mosques here. An unfortunate incident in December 1984 propelled Bhopal into the international arena. The case of the Union Carbide India Limited, a plant that manufactured pesticide, saw the leakage of a poisonous mixture of gases, especially methyl isocyanate that lead to the great disaster. Nevertheless, the city is clean now and promises one a great visit.
A rapidly developing city in Madhya Pradesh, Indore is the perfect example of a small town packed with the right kind of holiday experiences. Especially if you are a foodie! The Sarafa Bazaar which is open till the wee hours of morning is a must visit and should not be missed! The market opens only around midnight and this is perhaps what makes it a little more special. The bazaar offers a plethora of street food and it's one of the best foodie experiences you can have in the country. Other than that, you can visit the beautiful Central Museum. The museum houses collections dating back to the pre-historic era and if art and history interest you, do head here. Indore is also at a prime location for tons of tourist spots including Shri Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, Patalpani and Maheshwar. If you are in the mood for trekking, you can head to Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary for a bit of adventure. The summer months here are quite harsh, so it's best to go during winter. The people of Indore are warm, welcoming and quite adventurous so if you happen to know an Indori, you will have a chance to explore a different side of the city.
Mount Abu is the only hill station in the deserts of Rajasthan. Among forts and palaces, this quiet hill station is quite popular with local tourists as well as visitors from across the country. A place of great religious reverence to the Jain community, the Dilwara Jain Temple is a set of five temples, all belonging to a different century. The temples are carved out of white marble and depict scenes of Gods and Goddesses and are a must visit for their architectural brilliance. You can also spend a day at Nakki Lake. Lying in the hills, this lovely lake offers boating opportunities to visitors. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is another wonderful way to spend your time on this hill station and can take up your entire day, so do keep yourself free. For trekkers and adventure enthusiasts, the Guru Shikhar is the highest peak in the region and trekking here is a memorable and adventurous experience, though if you aren't an experienced trekker, you may need a little help! There are numerous hotels and guesthouses here, though depending on the type of traveller you are, it might be a good idea to do a little bit of research before settling on a place to stay.
We could not make it to Chittorgarh, our target for the second day. Instead, we took a pit stop at Hotel Ajanta Palace in Ratlam, the city in Madhya Pradesh well-known for its sweet and spicy namkeens. Reaching late worked out in our favor because we had an unwelcome guest with us, neatly tucked in her travel crate, making her seem like nothing more than an extra bag - a bag that would stir and bark when neglected. Azal took her for a walk later so that she could relieve her bowels before getting cozy in bed. The next morning, we bought some Ratlami Sev from one of the shops near the railway station before heading out to the highway. Sammy's stardom first evidenced when we stopped for breakfast that morning. She attracted admirers wherever she went with her large emotive eyes sparkling with awe and her painfully wrinkled face radiating an innocence mankind has long forfeited.
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