I had high expectations for Udaipur.
And if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that usually means I’m going to end up disappointed.
Yes, the more I hype up a destination in my mind, the more likely it is that I arrive and mark it down with a big old meh.
But everybody unequivocally loves Udaipur. It seems like every travel blogger who’s been to Rajasthan comes away listing it their favourite spot in the state.
And so, I gave myself four days in the city — longer than anywhere else in Rajasthan — because if it did turn out to be my favourite place in India, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to soak up as much as possible.
Yeah, I’d say my first impressions were pretty acceptable. Just look at that gorgeous light!
After checking in to our adorable guesthouse, Dave and I dumped our bags and set out for the ghats. Fortunately, they were just a five-minute walk from where we were staying. I’d read that Gangaur Ghat was one of the best parts of the city to catch the sunset, and I was immediately wowed by the scene in front of us.
Teenagers crowded by the water, listening to tinny dance music on their phones, competing with an elderly man who was strumming a tanpura several metres away. Stray dogs lazed in the warm breeze while a hundred pigeons flocked around a container full of food.
I wandered to the lake’s edge and sat down, eager to spend a few moments watching the calm waters lap beneath my feet, the sun drifting lower through the hazy orange sky. It was such a magical moment and I wanted to take it all in.
I stood up after half an hour of wide-eyed wonder and wandered over a bridge to nearby Ambrai Ghat — another vantage point that was also said to be the perfect spot for sunset. There’s a lot of those in Udaipur.
As I stood by the water, I was hit by a sense of unease; almost like I was about to have a panic attack. Something felt really, really off.
It took a solid 15 minutes to figure out why I was feeling so strange.
It was so discombobulating to not hear the sound of horns and engines and bells and music.
I wouldn’t describe Udaipur as peaceful, but in a country as loud as India, I was excited to stumble into areas where you could hear nothing at all.
A quick check of my phone showed me that Yummy Yoga — one of the best-rated restaurants in the city — was a few minutes away and had a rooftop terrace with spectacular views over the city and lake. The two seemed at odds with each other: I typically associate restaurants with great views with mediocre food, but this was India. I had yet to have a bad meal in the country, so I decided to take a risk.
The owner greeted us with a warm smile, and handed us menus and a bottle of hand sanitiser. As we watched the city begin to light up before us, we filled our stomachs with one of the best meals from our time in the country.
Talk about the perfect introduction to a city!
I couldn’t wait to delve more into Udaipur.
Where is Udaipur?
Udaipur is located in Rajasthan, the desert state of India, roughly mid-way between New Delhi and Mumbai.
It’s one of prettiest cities in the state, spread across a series of seven lakes and surrounded by the green, hilly Aravali Range. It often feels far more like a chaotic European city than a dusty, desert destination in India.
And it has plenty of nicknames. It’s known as the White City of Rajasthan. It’s referred to as the most romantic city in India. Some people call it the Venice of the East, and some the City of Lakes.
It’s known for being the place for chilling out and relaxing. It’s a city to visit with your partner and soak up the romance. It’s a beautiful spot, full of glistening palaces and historic havelis, with street art to take photos of, ghats to watch the sunset from, and peaceful lakes to wander alongside. It’s wonderful; as wonderful as everyone says it is.
It’s because of this that many travellers opt to stay for a while. Been racing through India at breakneck speed and desperate for somewhere to rest for a week? Udaipur is the place!
And while there are plenty of things to do while you’re in town, it’s also a city where simply meandering through the streets is the perfect way to spend a day.
I’ve put together a guide to share everything you need to know about visiting Udaipur. Let’s get stuck in with a list of some of my favourite things to do:
Check Out the Jagdish Temple
One of the most popular attractions in Udaipur is Jagdish Temple — a Hindu temple that has been in continuous operation from 1651. It was so impressive!
It’s easy to get templed-out in India, but I still really enjoyed my time at Jagdish. It’s one of those structures that looks just as impressive up-close as it does from afar. The closer you get to the intricate sculptures, the more you can appreciate the work that went into carving it.
If you can, aim to time your visit with one of…
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