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What to do


Eat & Drink

Though not known for its food, Udaipur does have some reasonably good restaurants and cafés.

Ambrai (inside Amet Haveli, outside Chandra Pol)
A lakeside restaurant with a clear and unparalleled view of the City Palace, Ambrai is one of the most popular restaurants in the Old City. It is a pretty magical experience to spend an evening sitting here next to the lake, gazing at the illuminated City Palace, but be warned: this restaurant is all about its location and the food does not quite live up to the ambience. Try either the laal maas or the dungar maas (both Rajasthani specialities), or any of the tandoori dishes. Evenings tend to be busy here so be sure to make a reservation in advance—especially if you want to be seated next to the lake.

Upre (outside Chandra Pol)
Among the multitude of rooftop restaurants in this area, Upre is the best. With a lovely view of the City Palace and Pichola Lake, it is another place which is popular more because of its location than its food. The dal makhani served here is pretty good and the junglee maas on the menu sounds promising. Reservations recommended.

Savage Garden (near Gangaur Ghat)
Don’t let the strange name put you off—this little restaurant is an oasis of peace in the busy Gangaur Ghat area. One can spend hours lounging inside its deep, soothing blue interiors, especially after an exhausting day out in the sun. The menu is small and offers Mediterranean, Italian and Indian fare. Recommended: pastas, bruschetta and the mezze platter.

Café Edelweiss (near Gangaur Ghat)
A sister establishment of Savage Garden, Edelweiss is much smaller, with very limited seating. If you’re looking for a good place to have breakfast or a filling snack, Café Edelweiss is it. There’s a great range of sandwiches (with a choice of freshly baked, delicious breads), pancakes, eggs and even cereal. Recommended: bacon and fried egg sandwich (on bread of your choice) and iced coffee.

Cafe Brewmen (near Saheli Marg)
With its extensive range of beverages and sandwiches on offer, this is a good place near Fateh Sagar lake for coffee and a quick bite.

Krishna Restaurant (Jal Darshan Market, Gulab Bagh Road)
A no-frills restaurant, Krishna is one of the most popular and highly-rated places in the city for traditional thali and Mewari fare, like dal, baati and choorma. Do head here if you’re in the mood to sample some traditional Rajasthani cuisine.

JMB Sweets (opposite Sukhadia Memorial)
Do stop by at this iconic chain store to pick up the popular Rajasthani sweet ghevar—made out of flour, soaked in syrup and topped with dry fruits.


Like most Rajasthani cities, Udaipur is an absolute paradise for keen shoppers. Being an integral part of a rich crafts and textile tradition, Udaipur has something to offer to even the most reluctant shopper, from beautiful sarees and fabric (a speciality of the city), leather bags and maujris, silver and thewa jewellery to its iconic handmade dolls and puppets.

The best way to shop is to hit the criss-crossing market lanes in the Old City and let your eyes guide you.

If it’s silver jewellery you’re looking for, make your way to the silver market in Jagdish Chowk. Make sure to find out if items are real silver or just silver-plated, and haggle accordingly. The shopkeepers here are used to tourists and are open to bargaining, albeit reluctantly.

A dizzyingly large market at Hathi Pol is sure to take care of most of your shopping needs—the chaotic streets have many showrooms selling colourful bandhini and leheriya (tie and dye) sarees and other handicrafts.

It would also be a good idea to stop at the government-approved handicrafts and souvenir shop on Fateh Sagar road, somewhat misleadingly called Arts and Crafts Museum. The shopkeepers here are immensely knowledgeable and chatty, and are ready with a short history lesson on the textiles and crafts of Rajasthan. The prices are approved by the government, so you can be assured that you won’t be getting ripped off!

The Gem Arts Emporium on Saheli Marg, near Saheliyon Ki Bari, is one of the best places to shop for precious and semi-precious stones, and ethnic silver jewellery.

The Sadhna retail store on Jagdish Chowk or in Old Fatehpura is small enough to escape notice if you’re not on the lookout for it. The organisation provides employment to women across Rajasthan and is based in Udaipur. People familiar with the ethnic Indian clothing label Fabindia may recognise the similarity in the style of clothes being sold here—this is because Sadhna is one of the organisations commissioned by Fabindia to make clothes for them! Sadhna sells both men’s and women’s clothes, and certain house décor items like curtains, tablecloths, tablemats and napkins. The products are all priced reasonably.

See & Do

City Palace
The first stop on any tourist’s itinerary has to be the grand City Palace. Located on the crowded City Palace road, the palace is on the banks of Pichola Lake and at the centre of Udaipur’s historic Old City.

Being the prime tourist attraction in the city, it is almost always crowded regardless of the time of the day. However, even the crowds can’t take away from the magnificence of the building; it happens to be one of those places which is worth every bit of hype that it receives. With its huge pols (gateways), curved arches and ornate jharokas (elaborate windows), City Palace is one of the most striking examples of Rajput architecture. Take your camera!

Within the palace complex is Badi Mahal, a beautiful raised garden which affords some of the best views of the city. Also check out Badi Chatrashali, a gorgeous courtyard overlooking both the city and Lake Pichola from its jharokas. The courtyard is also called Chini (Chinese) Chatrashali because it has some Chinese (and Dutch) tiles on its walls. The Sheesh Mahal, embellished entirely with coloured glass, is so opulent it almost hurts the eye!

Unfortunately, the exhibits inside the palace museum aren’t half as exciting. From a mix of paintings to odd exhibits like Ben Kingsley’s glasses from the film Gandhi, the museum seems a bit random at times.

Tickets to the Palace, which is privately owned by the royal family, are priced at 250 INR each. The ticket counter also sells tickets for a boat ride on Lake Pichola at 200 INR (10am to 3pm) and a steeper 700 INR for evening rides from 4 to 7pm!


Jagdish Temple
On City Palace road, less than a kilometre away from City Palace, Jagdish Temple is hard to miss. Built in the late 17th century, the temple is covered in intricate carvings of gods and figures from Hindu mythology. The impressive temple spire rises to a height of about 80 feet and is a sight to behold. The resident deity of the temple is Vishnu and the sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses a stone idol of the god.


Pichola Lake
When you’re in the old City, you’re going to spend a lot of time gazing at Pichola Lake, against the scenic backdrop of the Aravalli Hills. Make your way to the rooftop and lakeside restaurants offering prime views of the palace and the ghats, where you can idle for as long as you wish—the lake casts such a spell over visitors that you’re always left wanting more.

Unfortunately, the glamorous structures in the middle of the lake have all been converted into hotels and are not open to tourists. Both Jag Mandir and Lake Palace (famously a location for James Bond Octopussy) are majestic palaces from the 16th and 18th century respectively and are now two of the most expensive hotels to stay at in the country. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t see them close-up, thus a boat ride on the lake is worthwhile. A 20-minute ride round the lake will take you on a circuit past Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, and close to the City Palace, and presents great photographic opportunities.

An evening ride just before sunset is highly recommended, as the weather cools down considerably, and the setting sun washes Lake Pichola’s buildings in a soft, golden light.

Dudh Talai on Pichola has a wonderful quay and is the perfect place to wind down and lounge about. The benches placed under the shade of trees look out at the lake, and remain cool and breezy even during the hot day, It’s no wonder that the lakeside bustles with picnicking locals, especially in the evenings.


Fateh Sagar Lake
Although the Old City is endlessly charming, the newer part of the city is no less so. Fateh Sagar is another of the city’s main attractions, located close to the quieter residential part of town. A wide, tree-lined road, with benches placed every few metres, runs around Fateh Sagar Lake and makes for a lovely walk. A boat ride from the jetty takes you around the lake, which is surrounded by the Aravallis on three sides. The Nehru Island Park, in the middle of the lake, is also popular with visitors. A smaller island on the lake houses the Udaipur Solar Observatory.

Although less frequented by tourists than its Old City counterpart, Fateh Sagar has its share of tourist traps, like camel rides, tonga (horse-drawn carriage) rides, and photographers who will dress you in traditional Rajasthani costume for a small sum.


Saheliyon ki Bari
A serene 18th century pleasure garden is situated about 1.6 kms away from Fateh Sagar. Though a mere 5-minute auto ride away, the walk to Saheliyon ki Bari, via the wide and shady Moti Magri Road is pleasant and easily manageable.

Once inside, it’s hard not to be charmed by the expanse of lush, colourful lawns, decorated with beautifully crafted fountains and sculptures. Although the gardens can get crowded, the vast lawns allow enough space for wandering, and even unexpected solitude should one desire it.


Monsoon Palace
A little out of the way, about 7kms from the Old City, Monsoon Palace was built in 1884, and is alternatively known as Sajjangarh Palace. The palace, constructed in typical Rajput style (though less lavish than the City Palace), is situated atop a small hill, from where one can catch amazing, panoramic views of the city. The palace is open from 9.30am to 6pm.


Other attractions

Udaipur is the kind of city where it’s hard to run out of things to do and places to see! For those interested in cultural activities, head to Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal – a museum showcasing folk art of Rajasthan, or to Shilpgram – an artificial folk village which has daily folk performances in the evening. Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal is open from 9am to 5.30pm and has a daily puppet show at 6 pm. Shilpgram is open from 11am to 7pm. The Vintage Car Museum is also popular with tourists.

Bagore ki Haveli, near Gangaur Ghat, is an 18th century palace which has been converted into a museum displaying exhibits of Rajasthani music and dance and folk arts. The museum is open from 10am to 6pm, and there’s also a musical show and puppet show every evening at 7pm.

Badi Lake and Swaroop Sagar are the other picturesque lakes in the city, situated away from the tourist circuit.

For more panoramic views of the city, do go on the Karni Mata Ropeway, named after a small temple on top of Machla Hill.


Around Udaipur

Udaipur is blessed with many beautiful places – temples, palaces and forts – situated a short drive from the city. If you’ve exhausted yourself in the city, or just want to explore the stunning historic monuments around it, you’re going to find yourself spoiled for choice.

Eklingjee Temple
Just 22 kms away from the city is this remarkable temple dedicated to lord Shiva. The main complex, built from granite and marble, dates from the 15th century, and contains 108 striking temples—a few of them believed to have been built in the 8th century by a founding ruler of the Sisodia Rajputs. The main shrine houses a four-faced shivling made from stone.

The temple is most crowded on Mondays, which is believed to be holy to Shiva, so plan your visit accordingly. The temple does have fixed timings for its aartis (prayer ceremonies), so if you wish to attend one make sure you check with some locals, in advance.


Chittorgarh Fort
Rajasthan is the land of forts, and none has captured the imagination of people over the centuries like Chittorgarh. Located 112 kms from Udaipur, this is one of the largest forts in the country and the most important one in the state.

The main fort complex was constructed in the 15th century by the Mewar rulers, and its storied past speaks of the bravery and sacrifice of the Rajput rulers and the Rajput women.

Chittorgarh is perhaps most famous for the siege of 1303 by Alauddin Khilji, when it was under the rule of Rana Ratan Singh. After a fierce battle, which led to the defeat of the Rajputs, Rani Padmini led her women to commit jauhar (ritualistic mass-suicide by self immolation to avoid being taken hostage by the invading army).

The fort was again sacked in 1537 by Bahadur Shah, sultan of Gujarat, and a decisive victory again saw thousands of Rajput women committing jauhar. In 1567, when Akbar decided to capture the fort, Rana Udai Singh decided to shift the capital of Mewar from here to Udaipur.

Rajput pride is integral to the state even today and Chittorgarh Fort is arguably its most evocative symbol.

Important buildings in the fort include the Victory Tower (which commemorates the victory of Rana Kumbha over Mahmud Shah Khalji I of Malwa), Padmini Palace, which was Rani Padmini’s palace and was reconstructed in the 19th century, and Rana Kumbha’s Palace.

Because the fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is quite popular with tourists, so expect it to be crowded.

The drive to Chittorgarh is smooth and you can take one of the state-run buses or hire a private cab. For those not fond of long car rides, Chittorgarh is also connected to Udaipur by train, although it takes longer to reach that way.


Kumbhalgarh Fort
Yet another fort near Udaipur which is incredible in its scale and grandeur. This is the second largest fort in Rajasthan with a perimeter wall running for 36 kms. As you drive to Kumbhalgarh – about 90 mins / 103 kms from Udaipur – you catch tantalising glimpses of the fort. However, it’s not enough to prepare you for your first proper view—the mighty fort sitting on top of a rugged hill, and a majestic, serpentine wall running around it.

The fort was built between 1443 and 1448 and is considered to be the second most important fort of Mewar, after Chittorgarh, and is said to have fallen only once to the combined might of Akbar and Raja Man Singh. The most important building inside the fort is the Badal Mahal, which was added in the 19th century. Kumbhalgarh is also the site of Maharana Pratap’s birth.

The walk from the main gate to the top of the fort can be tough, but a rewarding experience. The views from the top of Badal Mahal – situated at the highest point in the fort complex – are astounding. The sight of the whole fort complex laid out below, including 300 or so Jain and Hindu temples, hemmed in by the imposing wall, is humbling!

Although the fort was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, little has been done by the Archaeological Survey of India to make navigation here easy. Encountering the fort with just a few sign boards pointing the way, and a fading map listing the important buildings, is quite daunting. The sprawling fort complex could benefit greatly from the services of government approved guides but sadly there are few in sight.

Though not as crowded or popular as Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh is no less magnificent and definitely deserves more attention. If you time your visit wisely you can also catch the sound and light show here in the evening.


50 kms from Kumbhalgarh and 94 kms from Udaipur is the 15th century Shvetambar Jain temple at Ranakpur. This exquisite temple is made entirely of a rosy-coloured marble and stands on more than a thousand pillars.

The temple has no electricity and relies on the sun for light—the natural light illuminates the marble beautifully, and highlights the ornate architecture. The intricacy of the craftsmanship is almost mind-boggling, each pillar being covered in fine carvings from top to the bottom, and no two pillars are the same according to the temple pujaris (priests). You can have a pujari guide you around the temple and explain its history to you, and then pay him whatever you wish. There are no guides available and no fixed charges.

Because it is a temple there are strict rules which must be followed. Women should cover their shoulders and legs, and leather bags and belts aren’t allowed inside so make sure to stow these in your car. A camera fee of 100 INR is also charged.