Udaipur is a city, where you see the influence of the Royal Family everywhere you go, with the symbol of the Mewars across the city, an underlying reference to the royals and of course the palaces that stand tall. An ideal destination from Mumbai, it takes about an hour to fly there and 45 minutes to reach the city. So when you have a weekend getaway planned, you will be able to make the most of it.Here is my list of things that could make a weekend getaway truly memorable in the City of Lakes as it is popularly called.
- Visit the City Palace.
The City Palace is Majestic. Built over 400 years, the Complex houses 11 palaces. It should take you about 2- 3 hours to complete the tour. The complex is extremely well maintained and you can hire a guide a la Raju from Guide. In fact we spotted a flashy guide in red pants and a printed shirt speaking in fluent Italian to tourists.He was surely inspired by Dev Anand.
Even if you are not a fanatic follower of Mewar history, just seeing the palace, display of wealth and the panoramic views will leave you wanting more. There is also the crystal gallery which we gave a miss but is said to be world’s single largest private collection of crystal under one roof.
2. Walk the streets of the Old Town.
We were staying at the Leela, which is very close to the Old Town. The Old Town is a delight to walk through. Really interesting graffiti, art and shopping beckon you at every turn. I thoroughly enjoyed the art, graffiti and the intricate detailed art on the doors.
Much to our amusement several restaurants screened Octopussy every night. I’m surprised they left out Guide because Udaipur plays a fairly significant part in the movie.
3. Meals with a view.
We ate Rajasthani food in two places which were poles apart but had the most mesmerizing views in their own ways.
Millets of Mewar
One would describe this as a health food restaurant. Friendly, to vegans, those on a gluten free diet and those happy to experiment with Indian twists to fare. My favorite were the Nutella Pancakes, I truly wished I had more meals there, to be able to have them again.
The Sheesh Mahal at the Leela Palace in Udaipur, has one of the best views of the Lake Palace on the Pichola.. The name of the restaurant is Sheesh Mahal, because on a good day you dine to the glistening reflection of the Palace on the lake.
This was the restaurant where we indulged in thoroughly traditional Rajasthani Fare – Gatte Ki Sabji, Papad ki Sabji and of course Laal Maas along with Millet Rotis. We understood why dining at this restaurant tops the list of things to do in Udaipur. Impeccable Service, Unmatched Views and meals that you will remember for a lifetime
4. Chittorgarh Fort
This is a Morning – Evening Trip. I wanted to do this primarily for Rani Padmini, Meera Bai and of course the movie Guide. The Song Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai was shont here, and if you are to see the song again, you will recognize some of the places. And as a child, all I probably wanted was to wear a saree and look like Rosie when I did.
It is a two hour drive, and about two hours is what you would spend there. It’s better to have your own car at the fort. It may be pretty much impossible to cover this on foot and you would be more comfortable in your own vehicle. The Kumbha Palace, The Meera Temple and Rani Padmini;s palace were the main places I wanted to see and managed to tick them all of.
It’s simply surreal to walk down the path of figures, that you read about in History Text Books. It is a UNESCO heritage site, and fairly well maintained. Watch out for the Langoors who hang around the fort.
5. Stay on the Pichola Lake.
There are several hotels on Lake Pichola, and most of them super exclusive. Udaipur is so much about the luxury, that I would recommend that you choose where you stay with care. Staying in one of them can truly take your experience a few notches.
There is the Taj Lake Palace, Udai Vilas, Jag Mandir, Fateh Sagar, and of course the Leela. We stayed at the Leela and woke up to glorious skies everyday and that undeniably adds to the Magic of the Udaipur Holiday.
While Jag Mandir and Lake Palace are on the Lake, the rest of the hotels, while having an access by road, are best visited on a ferry and a romantic ride on Lake Pichola
Udaipur is a city which you would in all probability promise yourself you will come back to. I sure did. I would love to know if there’s something that I missed out and I must try so that I love Udaipur more.