Since Colonel James Tod declared Udaipur “the most romantic spot on the continent of India” in the late 1820s, the “Lake City” has done its absolute best to capitalise on its idyllic, natural surroundings and magnificent Rajput-era palaces. Tourism has boomed here, enthusiastically supported by Maharana Mahendra Singh Mewar of the former royal family of Udaipur. Rolling hills and picturesque lakes are a far cry from the desert surroundings of Jaipur or Jodhpur. Today, it may take visitors some conscious effort to step away from the hustling around the lake, the sky-high hotels that are vying for your patronage, and the predictable tourist menus at mediocre restaurants.
What remains an absolute pleasure in Udaipur is a boat trip across the lake, admiring the intricate paintings and mosaics and experiencing the colours, sights and delicious smells of an evening bazaar. The City Palace is a sight to behold; a flamboyant and grandiose monument perched on the hilltop overlooking the city. The Lake Palace, adorned in white marble, spans four acres with 83 rooms, now used as a luxury hotel. A walk through Sahelion Ki-Bari (Garden of the Maids of Honor) is a delight. If you’re lucky enough to be in town for a festival, take in the brightly coloured costumes and Rajasthani songs and dances.
Once you’ve ticked off the must-sees, leave some time for Udaipur’s gorgeous countryside. Visit Monsoon Palace, greet a local tribe or admire Nathdwara, the temple town. For exceptional cuisine, visit the distinguished Bedla family, and for beauty and tranquillity, take a trip to Rajsamand Lake and admire the marble carvings.