“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
– Anthony Bourdain
As we entered Udaipur, it was already dark and this quote by my favourite traveller Anthony Bourdain resonated in my mind as our trip to Chittorgarh was full of obstacles but so much fun at the end .Udaipur meanwhile was bathed in neon lights, oozing a mysterious vibe as it welcomed us with open arms and some snarly traffic. I always wanted to visit Udaipur. Those beautiful palaces by the lake and those fancy Bollywood wedding scenes shot in this place have only made me more eager to visit.
Whenever I am travelling, I cannot sleep till late. I get so eager to go out and explore that the sloth bear version of me goes into a lifestyle shock. That day too was no different. I woke up early, made myself a cup of black tea and pulled the curtains. Our hotel was situated near one of the many lakes of Udaipur. As I sat near the window, Udaipur greeted me with one of the most beautiful sunrise. I quickly woke up the mister to witness it with me. As Paulo Coelho rightly puts it, there is no point seeing a beautiful thing if we don’t have someone to share it with.
A quick session of freshening up and dressing up later, we met Abhishek on the breakfast table planning out the itinerary for the day. Our first stop was the City Palace of Udaipur.
City palace of Udaipur is a palace of what dreams are made of. So grand and beautiful. It’s much bigger than the city palace of Jaipur. Although some insist that it’s more beautiful too, but I wouldn’t go there. All these forts and palaces are so uniquely beautiful in their own way that any kind of comparison will just be blah.
The city palace of Udaipur on the banks of lake pichola instantly transports you to another era. There are several palaces built within the complex. The present palace was built over a period of four hundred years. The construction was started by Maharana Udai Singh. As we moved further inside the palace complex, the architecture blew our mind. Every room inside the palace is painstakingly done to perfection. Delicate mirror work, marble work, tinted glass work can be seen in different parts of the palace. The architecture just like the palace of Jaipur too has some Mughal influence to it.
From its upper terraces one can have a breathtaking view of the Lake Pichola. Some parts of the palace complex like the Shiv Niwas Palace and the Lake Palace have now been converted into five star heritage hotels.
Reach the city palace early and take your time to go through the beautiful architecture and history of this place. Just outside of the palace is the “Jagdish temple” which is an old temple built by the king and is worth checking out . The market right outside the city palace sells beautiful Rajasthani trinkets. You can choose from colourful scarfs to earrings to some handmade paper journals. The colours of the streets of Udaipur can turn any dull day bright and sunny.
It was almost lunch time when we finally came out of the palace premises, we decided to first go check out the other beautiful lake of Udaipur “Fateh sagar lake”. As we drove around the beautiful lake, we chanced upon an old haveli kind of place with a restaurant inside. We decided to stop for lunch at that place. As we went inside, it was one of the most beautiful heritage house with a beautiful restaurant inside. We sat down and ordered some Rajasthani delicacies which turned out to be delicious.
Our next stop in Udaipur was “Saheliyon ki Badi” which was a small garden palace built by the king for his daughter and her friends. It has one of the biggest fountains and a beautiful garden. A small art gallery is inside the premises with some beautiful art work. “Saheliyon ki Badi” is a small complex and hardly takes an hour to explore. Although trying to get those perfect shots for the gram does add some minutes to it.
I always feel that we live in such good times where so much information is available to us online from different platforms. Travel bloggers are doing such a great job in helping our wanderlust souls. When one of my favourite travel bloggers Savi and Vid from “Bruised Passports” shared this amazing picture in their Instagram from Udaipur, I sat down to research what place is that. It was the “Ahar Cenotaphs”.
Cenotaph complexes are where the royal family members were cremated and beautiful structures are built in their memory. These cenotaphs were not easy to locate as tourists seldom visit them. When we reached, the gate was closed and my heart sank. But soon a security personnel appeared out of nowhere and told us that it’s open. He asked for some money if we want to take photographs as it’s not allowed. Although I didn’t see any sign boards there, we decided not to argue with the gentleman and paid him fifty bucks. Ahar cenotaphs were beautiful. There was nobody else there except us. Cenotaphs ranging from small to huge and all built in white marble were spread across the place. We soaked in the vibe of the place and clicked some beautiful pictures.
Our final stop for the day was the “Sajjangarh Palace” also popularly known as the monsoon palace. We drove out of the city and reached the foothill of the Aravalis. Sajjangarh Palace is situated at one of the highest peak of Aravali range overlooking the valley. It was built by the king for his stay during the monsoons when they used to hunt in the dense forests of Aravali. Now it’s a great place to witness beautiful sunset over the Aravali mountain ranges. As we made our way to the palace, we entered dense forest area. A narrow concrete road leads to the palace with some mind numbing hair pin turns along the way.
The palace complex is not very big and has nothing significant inside. But as you reach the backyard of the palace, you will have the most stunning view of the Aravalis. Stretches of green as far as your eyes can see.
As we waited for the sun to set, the entire place quickly filled up with tourists. Everybody waiting for the sunset. We sat there with hundreds of strangers watching the most beautiful sunset I will ever witness in my life. Such a profound sense of joy was filling our hearts at that beautiful moment. As the sun slowly sets over the Aravali, everybody watching the sunset claps and cheers.
The evening thereafter was dedicated for some market hopping and shopping. The biggest and most popular market of Udaipur is the “Hathi Pole” market. Hopping around in markets in general is one of my favourite thing to do. After getting my hands on the leheriya yardage I was looking for, we decided to end the day lazying around in the open air restaurant of the hotel we were staying in. We reached hotel, quickly freshened up and put on our pajamas. Yes, we ended our most beautiful day in Udaipur in our pajamas, sipping cocktails under the open sky.PERFECT!!!
Our next stop was Kumbhalgarh which will be a day trip from Udaipur as it gets difficult to keep changing hotels. Watch out for my next blog to know more about it. If you haven’t checked out my first two blogs from Rajasthan, you can click on the links below
I hope you liked reading about our experience in Udaipur, which is one of the most beautiful city I have ever been to. Follow me on Instagram for more pictures as I have flooded my grid with beautiful pictures from Rajasthan. I will meet you here again with my stories from Kumbhalgarh.