Wall murals at Shilpgram

The Tiger

View from City Palace

City Palace at Dusk

'Chandni' at Daylight

Chandni is the rooftop restaurant at Lake Pichola Hotel.

Udaipur Unmatched

It’s been sometime since I have written anything. It’s pretty late to even say that I was on vacation, since I have been back long ago. Anyways, something to fill the void of the past days…

“Chali jo jhoomne galiyon
Mein uss rasiya ke
Bhool gayi main bawri
Raah apni
Uske chal mein”

Enchanting. Mesmerizing. Impish. Mysterious. Proud Udaipur.
Pick up a paintbrush. Colour its many-hued characters. Elephants, camels, peacocks, horses, donkeys, deers, lovely lakes, palaces and people. Experience and embrace!

Carry your bucks: The moment you step into its heart, the tangerine coated Udaipur cunningly draws at your purse strings, beguiles you with its many attractions. You hesitate; count your precious money and then part with it happily, be it for the lip-smacking food, street shopping, sight-seeing or the palatial hotels. They are worth every penny.

Paint the town: The city breathes of blues and reds and yellows... And hangs on every shop window. It will muddle your head with miniatures, abstracts, madhubanis, etc. In case you have never ever painted all your life, let Udaipur hold your hands and help you make your own miniature. Most shop that sell miniatures also teach you to make a miniature, all in 2 hours!

Ponder at Palaces: Every home in its land is grand, since every home is either a palace or a mahal or a haveli. Udaipur shows off swollen with pride, the abode of Maharana Pratap, City Palace. The City Palace Museum takes you to another era completely, as it is adorned with its treasures of Rajput armoury, King’s Throne, Queens’s bedroom covered in posters of child Krishna, many intricate palanquins, large vessels for cooking food for the royal feast, ancient miniatures and recent photographs of the members of the royal family and, so & so forth. Little away on the Pichola is the elusive Lake Palace, mischievously showing its tongue at you and laughing at your inability to reach it. Post terrorism attacks at the Taj, Jag Niwas or the Lake Palace is open only to the people who are staying there. Lucky if you can afford to stay at the Jag Niwas.
No matter how tired you might be feeling of the palace routine by now, Udaipur will still be dragging you to yet another palace. This one’s on top of a hill too - Sajjangarh. Undergoing renovation which it desperately needs, this hunting retreat has a spell-bounding location and the drive through the sanctuary is unparalleled. As you gaze at the orange minded sun setting against the bird’s eye view of Udaipur and wonder at the beauty of nature, the city gives a ‘I knew it smile’.

Laze at the lakes: Udaipur unleashes Pichola on you, the magical nymph in the full splendour of a chameleon. Disappointing at times because of the moss green carpet on one side of the lake and people still bathing openly at the banks. Captivating at other times, when you realize it’s all so real. Evenings it conspires & hypnotises you with its beautiful attire, dressed in nothing less than the stars of the heaven and the crystal lights of the surrounding palaces kissing it. Waste hours sitting by it. For once, you can forget the pen and papers. To borrow from Wordsworth “The music in my heart I bore, long after it was heard no more.” And just when you thought the magic is over there is Badi Lake or Tiger, the only natural lake in the city. Villagers claim tigers from the nearby hills still visit the lake for a drink at night. Clear and natural, it’s simply breathtaking. Also in the city’s armory is the Fateh Sagar Lake.

Still more...
Shilpgram: A crafts village with live performers and artisans. Must visit for those who love places with old world charm. Take your cameras along.

Nehru Park: An island park in the Fateh Sagar Lake, great place to relax especially if you love boating
Sahelion ki Bari: Or the Queen’s Garden complete with a fountain

Shopping: Beware of expensive leeches aka emporiums. They will trap you till you settle for a ‘bandhani saree’ you get at half its price at apna Lajpat Nagar. Udaipur will, however, entice you with wall hangings with a lot of detailing, interesting sarees, traditional juttis and sandals, fabrics of various kinds, wooden sculptures, earthen crockery and paintings. Also try the tailor shops that work at break-neck speed to create great fusion ensembles.

All said, Udaipur is steeped deep in romantic rajput culture even it wakes up slowly to urbanization. The magic of golden city, Udaipur will surely keep your heart captive.