24 Hours in Udaipur

Tripoto
5th Dec 2013
Photo of by Mitali Chakraborty
Photo of by Mitali Chakraborty
Photo of by Mitali Chakraborty
Photo of by Mitali Chakraborty
Photo of by Mitali Chakraborty

What does one do when you have only a day at hand to experience the beauty of a city as exotic as Udaipur? Is it possible to imbibe the vast cultural and rustic beauty of this magnificent city in a day? Is it possible to witness the unsurpassed glory of this city with all its magnificent palaces, lakes, ethnic bazaars and local cuisine in a day? Yes, it does. And, I am just going to show you a way how.

With just a day at hand, I landed at the Udaipur railway station. Well, when you have just a day at hand, it’s better you have a fixed itinerary. With mine fixed, I immediately booked a taxi, right from the station. The taxi was hired for the entire day, which cost me around INR 5000. There are numerous cab services running around the clock at the station. My first stop was my granny’s home, where I took time to freshen up, and immerse myself in the sweet family ambience for a bit. And, then I set forth to delve into the beauty of Udaipur, the best way that I knew I could. After covering all the spots, step-by-step as indicated in my itinerary below, at night I took the taxi to the station, bidding adieu to a city, where I vow to come again. 

If in Udaipur, Lake Pichola should not be missed. Yes, it is a very popular tourist place and is thronged by thousands of tourists from all over the world, which might make people wonder about the lost peace and serenity. But when the evening comes and you get to witness the beauty of the sunset, it leaves one stunned. One gets to know what the beauty of nature means, when you sit by the lake on the peripherals and feel calm and surreal as you feel the cool breeze from the lake in the backdrop of the sunset. As far as the historical backdrop is concerned, Maharana Udai Singh II extended the lake, by flooding Picholi village, which gave the lake its name. This shallow lake is 4km long and 3km wide. But, one thing to be wary of is that the lake is home to crocodiles, which makes it a bad option for swimming or wading. A simple boat ride is the very best way to enjoy the beauty of the lake. The lake also hosts many palaces on its shore and amidst it as well. The City Palace complex extends nearly 1km along the lake’s eastern shore. The best way to reach the complex is a simple boat ride from the shore costing anywhere between 25 Rs to 100 Rs, depending on the season. The world-famous Lake Palace Hotel island of Jagniwas, which is about 15,000 sq meters in size, built by Maharana Jagat Singh II in 1754, is also present on this lake. Once the royal summer palace, it was extended and converted into the Lake Palace hotel in the 1960s by Maharana Bhagwat Singh, and is now in the hands of the Indian-owned Taj hotel group. It forms the abode of VIP guests along with many film shootings taking place here.
Photo of Lake Pichola, Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mitali Chakraborty
What’s the use of visiting the state of Rajasthan, which is known for its ethnic culture, if we don’t get a taste of this culture? The Shilpgram will solve this problem. 3 km west of Fateh Sagar Lake, Shilpgram is a crafts village imbibing the ethnic Rajasthani culture from hosting folk dances, songs to being home to shopkeepers who sell pure Rajasthani couture. It was inaugurated by Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. It is set in the countryside, and is equally interesting. There are traditional items sold like glittering mirrored interiors, and craft exhibits. As soon as one enters, there is an excellent demonstration by traditional dancers and artisans. The best time to come is during the mela (fair) in the last 10 days of December, it forms an amazing spectacle with hundreds of artisans in attendance. The best way to reach the Shilpgram is a 30 minute auto rickshaw ride from old city which might cost up to 250 Rs.
Photo of Shilpgram, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mitali Chakraborty
1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom used in Octopussy and the Cadillac convertible that whisked Queen Elizabeth II to the airport in 1961. Sound interesting? Well then, The Maharanas’ car collection is a must visit then. Away from the usual sightseeing places of lakes and temples, this vintage collection makes a fascinating diversion. Housed within the former state garage are 22 splendid vehicles, including a seven-seat 1938 Cadillac complete with purdah system. If one enjoys a vegetarian Thali, the joint museum-and-meal ticket should not be missed (lunch 11:30am to 3pm, dinner 7: 30pm to 10pm). The museum is situated 1km east of the City Palace, just opposite Sajjan Niwas Gardens.
Photo of vintage and classic cars collection by Mitali Chakraborty
This 18th-century Haveli was built by a Mewar Prime Minister and is set on the water’s edge in the Gangaur Ghat area. There are 138 rooms set around courtyards. The rooms are specially arranged in decorum to specifically evoke the period during which the house was inhabited; one very interesting house display is the world’s biggest turban. The Haveli also houses an interesting art gallery, featuring contemporary and folk art, and a selection of world-famous monuments carved out of polystyrene. The upper courtyard creates a magnetic setting for the Dharohar performances of Rajasthani dance at night.
Photo of Bagore Ki Haveli Museum, Silawatwari, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Mitali Chakraborty