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Fondly called the “Venice of the East”, Udaipur is the official ‘lake city’ of Rajasthan. It is your best bet if you want a slice of Rajput culture but are too loathe to sweat it out in the heat of the desert state. Here are the best places to see in Udaipur.

City Palace

Without doubt it is the most magnificent structure in the whole of Udaipur. You would need a whole day to see this palace complex which is a fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural elements. After you are done walking through the never ending corridors that whisper stories of the royal Marwar family that once inhabited it, buy a ticket for a boat ride in Lake Pichola and wait like fashionable royals at the waterfront.

Light and Sound Show

Marwar history comes alive during the spectacular light and sound show at the palace. This is the first thing you must do in Udaipur. Listen to the tragic and inspiring story behind the creation of Udaipur, and view the rest of the havelis and forts armed with an understanding of the city’s past.

Lake Pichola and Lake Fateh Sagar

It is the star lake of Udaipur and is bordered by havelis and palaces, now converted into luxury hotels. The evenings are beautiful here, with yellow lights from the hotels reflecting in the lake’s waters. A boat ride in the lake in misty mornings or dusky evenings is the dreamiest thing you can do in the city. And the second dreamiest thing is to dine at one of the rooftop restaurants of these hotels. Despite the royal setting, they are surprisingly affordable, and even cheap if you book on time. Lake Fateh Sagar too is another jewel Udaipur takes pride in. A great picnic spot here is the Nehru Park, an island right in the centre of the lake.

Bagore ki Haveli

A beautiful haveli on the waterfront of Lake Pichola, Bagore ki Haveli has become a centre of art, culture, and dance forms of Rajasthan. Not only does it display works of art, it also hosts music and dance performances by groups of artists.

Sajjangarh Fort (Monsoon Palace)

It’s no surprise that this beautiful palace situated on a hilltop was used as a location in the James Bond movie Octopussy. The monsoon palace offers stunning views of the valley below, of Fateh Sagar Lake, and of the sun setting on Udaipur. The sunset here is nothing less than animation. The road to the palace passes the Sajjangarh wildlife reserve, where if you are lucky you might spot a few tigers, sambhar, wild boars, and a few varieties of rare birds.

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Situated 82km from Udaipur, it is a sprawling fortress built at 1100 metres above sea level. If you are fan of Indian military architecture, warriors, or battle tales you have got to visit this. The massiveness and impenetrability of the structure is incredible. Here are some facts:

  1. The walls fencing the fort extend to about 36 kilometres.
  2. The front walls are 15 feet thick. Not even 10 elephants (who were commonly used to break fort doors and walls in those days) could possibly break them.
  3. The fort houses over 360 temples – after all, if an entire city was to be protected in times of a war, you’d need places to pray.

Dudh Talai

A small and pretty lake near Lake Pichola. A little hill beside it. And a manicured garden on it. Add to it a sunset point and you’ve got the perfect day picnic. That’s Dudh Talai.  Oh and did I mention there’s a ropeway that connects the garden to Karni Mata Mandir?

Nishi Jain spent some precious years of her life studying English literature, editing novels, and writing newspaper articles. Then one day, as she was sitting under a tree with no branches, a rotten pancake fell on her head from the window above and she had her Newtonian moment. From then on, all she does is eat pancakes, write, and profess fake love to pastry chefs.

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