Udaipur : City of Royalty and Romance

Harshita Kasera
Digital Global Traveler
12 min readDec 30, 2023
Udaipur Grafiti | Ambrai Ghat (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Udaipur Graffiti | Ambrai Ghat (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

On a recent trip to India, my husband and I got a chance to visit Udaipur. We had a great time exploring this city of romance aptly known as the heart of Rajasthan.

Nestled amidst the Aravalli hills, Udaipur evokes a sense of romance, royalty and timeless beauty. The narrow lanes of the city whisper so many tales of the rich Indian history. Our trip was of 2 days and Udaipur captivated us with its peaceful lakes, historic havelis, stunning gardens, vibrant bazaars and delicious food. Udaipur is a perfect getaway for a winter honeymoon in India.

Day 1

We flew into Udaipur late in the morning around 11 am. Maharana Pratap Airport radiates warmth from the moment you arrive. We enjoyed this vibrant art installation showcasing the diverse cultural and heritage elements of Rajasthan.

Art Installation | Maharana Pratap Airport (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

There are various different options for lodging in Udaipur luxurious palaces, boutique hotels, heritage hotels, homestays and guest houses. We decided to stay in Seasons, a boutique hotel on Sajjangarh Road. We took an Uber from the airport to our hotel. After checking in and freshening up, we decided to step out and explore the Ambrai Ghat area. Most of the popular spots and restaurants we wanted to see were at walking distance from the ghat so it seemed like a perfect choice.

Ambrai Ghat

Exploration Time : ~1 hour | Entry Fee : Yes

Ambrai Ghat is one of the oldest and most charming ghats in Udaipur. It’s located on the banks of serene Lake Pichola and offers stunning views of the City Palace, Jag Mandir, Taj Lake Palace and the surrounding Aravalli Hills.

A ghat is a stepped waterfront often found in India. It holds tremendous religious, cultural and historical significance in India.

Taj Lake Palace | Ambrai Ghat (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Taj Lake Palace | Ambrai Ghat (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

In the early morning, you can find locals doing yoga, taking baths in the lake and performing different everyday activities and cultural traditions at the ghat.

We hopped on a tuk-tuk, which dropped us off as close as possible to the entrance. The actual entrance was located at the end of a narrow alley. We stepped into the alley following the sign called Manji Raj ka Ghat.

Ambrai Ghat is also known as Manji Raj ka Ghat. According to a popular folk tale, this ghat is named so after a skillful fisherman named Manji Raj who was granted special permission by Mewar kings to use this ghat for his boating activities.

Narrow Alley to Ambrai Ghat, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Once we reached the end of the alley, there was a fee station where we needed to pay a nominal entrance fee to the ghat. The ghat gets its current name from a small temple near the ghat dedicated to the goddess Ambrai, who is believed to be the guardian deity of the lake.

The brilliant graffiti on the walls of this old temple was amazing.

Graffiti | Ambrai Ghat, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Graffiti | Ambrai Ghat, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Once we entered further, we saw a garden with many concrete seats to enjoy panoramic views of the city & its various landmarks in the backdrop of lake pichola.

Ambrai Ghat provides a picturesque setting for visitors and is a popular spot to enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset over the lake.

Views from Ambrai Ghat, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Amet Haveli

Exploration Time : 30 mins | Entry Fee : No

Amet Haveli is a beautiful boutique hotel built by the builder of the Lake Palace in Udaipur. It has some of the best views of Lake Pichola. We initially wanted to stay in Amet Haveli but we couldn’t get reservations so I decided to take a stroll around the property.

Amet Haveli | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Amet Haveli | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

The Ambrai restaurant in this property is also one of the famous restaurants in the area. We didn’t get a chance to try out the food here this time as we wanted to go to Upre for lunch.

Upre by 1559 AD

Udaipur is immensely popular for food and it was definitely on top of our mind while we were exploring Udaipur. Rajasthani cuisine has plenty of delicacies to offer like Dal Bati Churma, Gatte ki Sabzi, Rajasthani Kadi, Laal Maas and Shahi tukda.

Upre by 1559 AD was one of the restaurants on our list and we had the privilege to check it out.

Upre | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Upre meaning “upstairs” in Mewari

The location of this restaurant and the ambience makes it one of the most popular rooftop restaurants in the city. It is located on the terrace of Lake Pichola Hotel with a spectacular view of Lake Pichola. It also oversees the magnificent City Palace. It is the perfect destination for an unforgettable dining experience in Udaipur.

I ordered Rajasthani kadhi and missi roti. My husband ordered the famous lal maas. The food was mouth watering.

After finishing the yummy lunch, we decided to take a stroll and explore the property.

Upre | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Upre | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Leela Palace Udaipur

Exploration Time : ~1 hour | Entry Fee : Yes

Leela Palace showcases the very best of Indian culture and five-star hospitality in the most luxurious of settings. It captures the grandeur of the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan in a spectacular natural setting.

Leela Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by Antriksh Saxena)
Leela Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by Antriksh Saxena)

Gangaur Ghat

Exploration Time : 30 mins | Entry Fee : Free

After checking out the Leela palace we started walking the Ambrai Road to head to our next destination. On the way I was admiring the beautiful art & intricate architecture of the shops.

Ambrai Road | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Daiji Ki Pulia is a good walking option to cross over Lake Pichola from Ambrai Ghat to Gangaur Ghat.

Gangaur Ghat | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Gangaur Ghat | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Gangaur Ghat is full of hustle and bustle. There are street vendors selling souvenirs and snacks, pigeons fluttering, musicians playing traditional tunes, and photographers capturing pre-wedding photos.

The ghat gets its name Gangaur as it played a significant role in the Gangaur festival, an important celebration in Rajasthan dedicated to Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva. During the festival, idols of the deities are immersed in the lake from this ghat, adding to its historical and cultural significance.

In the evenings, Gangaur Ghat hosts cultural performances featuring Rajasthani folk dances, puppet shows, and music.

Bagore ki Haveli

Exploration Time : 1–2 hours | Entry Fee : Yes

Bagore ki Haveli is a stunning mansion located on the banks of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan. It was built in the 18th century by Amar Chand Badwa, Prime Minister of the Mewar dynasty. It now serves as a museum and cultural center, offering a glimpse into the rich history and vibrant traditions of Rajasthan.

The Dharohar Dance Show, which begins at 7 p.m., is the most popular feature of Bagore ki Haveli. The Neem Chowk courtyard is the setting for this one-hour performance. The Neem chowk’s beautifully lit balconies serve as a backdrop for the Rajasthani folk dance and music of the Haveli. Unfortunately we could attend this because of the limited time but definitely will try it next time.

Bagore Ki Haveli | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Jagdish Temple Street

Exploration Time : ~1 hour | Entry Fee : Free

This street is a popular one for shopping and street food. Though we didn’t have time to check it out, a little further on the street is the Jagdish Temple. It is not just a place of worship but also a stunning architectural marvel and a major landmark of the city.

Jagdish Temple Street | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Day 2

We got up early in the morning to try the famous pyaaz kachoris (onion savory pastries) at the JMB Nasta Center. This outlet is located hardly 100 meters from the Chetak Circle, a roundabout named after the loyal horse of Maharana Pratap named Chetak.

We tried the pyaaz ki kachori and jalebis , both were an absolute delight.

JMB Nashta Center | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

If you come to Udaipur and you don’t eat Pyaaz ki kachori then you have not seen Udaipur, try this place for best kachori. Other specialties include Khandvi, Mirchibada, Mawa Kachori, Fafda, etc. and not to forget, the pleasurable sweets and namkeen items. Just don’t count the calories :)

Tip: There are no benches here so order one item at a time to enjoy eating them else you will have to struggle holding them in your hands while eating.

City Palace

Exploration Time : 2–3 hours | Entry Fee : Yes

City Palace may look very simple in exterior, but it has amazing interiors with delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, and so much of Indian history. ( Where Majesty Meets History)

City Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Built by Udai Singh II in 1559, this fortress contained a self-sufficient ecosystem since strategic defense was the driving force behind its construction.

The palace is very fascinating to history buffs, photographers, and art lovers. It is a perfect architectural marvel offering a trip through time and a knowledge of the Mewar dynasty’s heritage. If you’re looking for a glimpse into the luxurious past of royals, the City Palace is a must-see.

City Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

I would highly recommend a guided tour to the palace as the things you will know will make this place even more fascinating.

Few highlights for me were the details of the Battle of Haldighati.

In the Battle of Haldighati, fought between the forces of Mewar, led by Maharana Pratap, and the Mughal Army, headed by Emperor Akbar’s general Man Singh, Pratap’s loyal horse, Chetak, was made to wear a mask which would give him the appearance of a baby elephant. Appearing as baby elephants, the elephants carrying the enemies would instinctively not attack them, giving the Rajputs an advantage of attacking first. This was so fascinating! I wouldn’t have known this without the guide.

Statue of Chetak | City Palace, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Another highlight were the paintings in the palace. One of the fascinating ones was the painting below. The bear was depicted five times, creating a compelling narrative of the event. These things are better noticed with a guide so highly recommend getting one.

Paintings at City Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Saheliyon Ki Bari (Garden of Maidens)

Exploration Time : 1–2 hours | Entry Fee : Yes

Saheliyon ki Bari is a beautiful and historic garden that is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Udaipur. It is an architectural marvel, known for its stunning fountains, marble elephants, and lush greenery. This garden is located on the banks of the Fateh Sagar Lake.

It was built by Maharana Sangram Singh in the 18th century to please his queen and the 48 maids of honor who came to Udaipur with the queen.

As per one legend, the queen was very fond of rains, in order to satisfy the her wish to have rain “at will” the whole garden is decorated with the five beautiful fountains namely Swagat fountain, Savan Bhodo fountain, Kamal Talai fountain, Rasaleela fountain and Bin-Badal barasat fountain.

Rasleela fountain | Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Kamal Talai fountain | Saheliyon Ki Bari, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

The fountains are specially engineered by the use of water pressure and no pumps are used for the inflow of water.

We discovered a really interesting practice that prevailed back then and continues even today in the garden. A tour guide will loudly clap his hands as if to announce the arrival of the tourists. When the tourist group walked in, they were amazed by how the row of fountains turned on at once as if their entry had caused this! At the other end of the tour we could see a man, whose job was to open and close the water valve on clap cue.

These little things are so interesting and that’s what I love about these places. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a peaceful stroll, Saheliyon ki Bari is a must-visit destination that should not be missed.

Chappan Bhog (56 Bhog)

We were quite hungry so we went to this restaurant called Chappan Bhog (56 Bhog). The Rajasthani food here was really good. They have giant thalis if you have the appetite for it.

Hathi Pol Bazaar

There are a number of vibrant shopping areas in Udaipur. We went to Hathi Pol Bazaar as it seemed pretty popular. They have a great collection of traditional clothese & footwears.

Hathi Pol Bazaar | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Monsoon Palace

Exploration Time : 1–2 hours | Entry Fee : Yes

Monsoon Palace is located high in the Aravalli Hills (3100 ft above sea level), just outside Udaipur. It is also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace. It overlooks Fateh Sagar Lake.

It is named Sajjangarh after Maharana Sajjan Singh (1874–1884) of the Mewar dynasty, whom it was built for in 1884. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built mainly to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, popularly known as Monsoon Palace.

We also saw a number of gray langurs roaming around the garden and the top of the palace.

Gray Langurs | Monsoon Palace, Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)
Monsoon Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

The palace itself is not in tip top condition but the vistas are undoubtedly the highlight, and it’s worth visiting for that alone. The palace offers a beautiful view of the sunset.

Monsoon Palace | Udaipur (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

Enjoy!

Whether you seek romance, history, natural beauty, or diverse experiences, Udaipur promises an unforgettable journey.

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