Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan is known by many names; it’s called the Venice of the East, City of Lakes, City of Dawn, Regal Haven and The Nation’s Most Romantic Spot. Visitors to this beautiful city will find they all suit Udaipur perfectly.
Surrounded by the Aravalli mountain range, the landscape of this 450-year-old city is marked by citadels, marble palaces, temples, monuments and gardens, all in close proximity to several placid blue man-made lakes.
For centuries, this imperial domain was the playground of kings of the famous Mewar dynasty; and today, whatever remains bears testimony to their pride, power and wealth.
CITY PALACE This sprawling complex is considered one of India’s largest royal residences. It contains a grand assortment of many regal homes, and is built entirely with granite and marble. The fortified complex has courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, hanging gardens and temples, as well as ornate gateways.
The interior of these palaces showcase exquisite paintings, murals, crystal and porcelain artefacts, antique furniture, and some dazzling mirror and tile work.
LAKE PICHOLA The city’s lakes bestow the perfect backdrop for its romantic setting. Lake Pichola, upon which the white tinted Taj Lake Palace hotel sits, provides a surreal fairytale atmosphere to the city.
Boating on this lake is a favourite activity among locals and visitors alike, particularly at sunset when the last rays of the dipping sun colour the facade of the City Palace complex that stands on the water’s edge.
REGAL STAY It’s possible to sleep like a Mewari royal if you stay at one of their former residences. Known as havelis, these exquisite homes have now been converted into comfortable heritage hotels. One such is the Karohi Haveli, which is located at the top of a hill in the older part of the city opposite the magnificent shoreline of the City Palace.
HOLI FESTIVAL Holi, which is observed in March, is the festival of colours. It’s celebrated widely in this city with people having loads of fun. Part of the two day festival begins with the lighting of a fire around which people sing and dance to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
DAY TRIP Located 112 kilometres away is Chittorgarh, the former capital of the Mewar dynasty. This ruined settlement is famous for its 7th century fortress that echoes with tales of enduring Rajasthani heroism and sacrifice.