Places to see
Udaipur is best known for the Palaces & Forts. The City Palace was founded by Maharana Udai Singh & later built upon by the Late Rulers. In 1754, Maharana Jagat Singh built Lake Palace & Jagandir Island in Lake Pichola. Maharana Sajjan Singh built
one more Fort "Sajjan Garh" also known as "Monsoon Palace" on a Hillock. Kumbhal Garh Fort was built by Rana Kumbha in 15th Century at the height of 1100 Meters, still stands robustly, attracting the lacks of Tourists.
Lakes Udaipur 'The City of Lakes ' is adorned by the 5 beautiful Lakes...Fateh Sagar, Lake Pichola, Swaroop Sagar, Badi Lake & Udai Sagar, located in its Heart along with numerous others like Jaisamand 'Asia's biggest artificial Lake', Rajsamand & Bagdada Lake .
These Lakes are surrounded by the lush green Aravali ranges, which further makes them more eye-catchy and ambient. Some of the important Temples and Picnic Spots also lies in their surroundings, so moving to these Lakes could be a multi-purpose Tour.
Moderate height and greenery of Aravali Ranges has persuaded two Parks to be built by cutting Hills called ML Verma Park & Moti Magri. Both of these Parks are popular for the Sun-set view.'Nehru Island Park' situated in Lake Fateh Sagar, is reached by a small Boat
Journey. Gulab Bagh offers a complex of Gardens & a well maintained Zoo. Sahelion Ki Bari Garden was constructed in 1710, for the Maids & female Companions of Princess of Palace. Sukhadia Circle is a Landmark in Udaipur & best known for the 70 feet high Fountain and Boating facility. GANGAUR GHAT.
Kumbalgargh fort, Ranakpur temple + shivika lake
be warned that Ranakpur temple is a full 3 hour drive from udaiput airport! I didnt know this and it was a surprise. However, taxis can be pre arranged for good value - for me it was 1900rs to take meto the fort and temple, then another 1900 on another day to go back.
Kumbalgargh is 100rs entry for foreigners and 5rs for Indians. You can walk up the steep slopes to the main building, and also walk around the wall to the right - see how far you get! Its a 36km wall. I think i walked about 1km round it. Allow around 2 hours to spend looking round the fort.
Ranakpur has a stunning large Jain temple, and 2/3 small temples. 50rs charge to take in a camera. No bottled water,leather belts, cigarettes or shoes allowed inside but you can leave these outside or with the guard. Allow 30-60 minutes for a leisurly look around.
I stayed in nearby Shivika lake hotel in Ranakpur for 1200rs per night. i stayed 2 nights, althoughreally only 1 night is necessary. They can organise wildlife safaris jeep or walking, for 2 hours to 2 days. i did a 2 hour jeep ride which was OK - we saw antelope. There are wild leopards around but chances of seeing them are slim. From what i heard, it would be good to do a night safari in the dry season (october-march), as you can see animals come to drink at the pool as you are inside a hide.
The hotel staff are friendly, the rooms are basic. They offer a cheaper 'non A/C' room but I wouldnt bother. The a/c room, as well as having a/c, also has a patio, and a much nicer bathroom with a flushing toilet!
The bread I had as toast for breakfast was mouldy, and considering the heat, its not too surprising. I would avoid eating the bread there. Also the peas in the puloa rice were hard. Go for fruit or omlettes for breakfast, and aloo palak was good for dinner. very reasonable food too, at around 100rs for a simple meal with mineral water.
There is also a lake at the hotel - if you go up the right hand path there is a way to get down to the lake. You can walk aroud to the left and see water buffalo and egrets, and on the tower to the right there are some kingfisher nests.
be warned that the hotel does not have internet access for guests, and their own private connection was faulty when I stayed.
The hotel can arrange a good value taxi to take you from udaipur and see the sights - I had chandra who was very fair and friendly and spoke broken english. he knows Rajasthan very well.
Lake Nagda Ghats
There are of course many lakes in the regions, most of them reservoirs of sorts that retain the water through the dry season. During our visit, we were often captivated by the ordinary duties of bathing and laundry on the lake. In this series of images, not the related cropping of an elderly woman whose grey hair is long. These Indians did not appear unhealthy or underfed. What's remarkable to me is the connectedness of the village Indians to the water. There are similar lakes in California, but the access to them is over gravelly or mud beaches, whereas the ghats provide a wonderful marble shelf from which to reach into the water. I've always loved to swim and bathe in the alpine lakes of California, but the water isn't near so warm as in the region around Udaipur. Probably, these villagers see no advantage nor romance in such natural methods of bathing and laundry, and certainly over time I would tire of it, but the open air and seemingly fresh water was very nice at Nagda and Eklingi.
A little away from Fatehsagar ring road, close to the Village Havala, 3 Kms. away from Udaipur lies Shilp Gram (literally means A Village of Craftsmen), a Village concieved as a living ethnographic Museum. Shilp Gram depicts the life style of the Folks of not only Mewar but the whole Western India. It also includes the Tribal folks.
Traditional Huts have bee constructed here featuring Household Articles of everyday use like Terracotta, Textiles, Wooden, metal & decorative objects etc. with appropriate signals and explanatory details. It provides an opportunity to the Visitors to observe and learn about the rich traditional and ethnic Crafts and Arts, the various facets of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, and Maharastra. The Village generates a better appreciation of the extra-ordinary diversity of designs and ethnic sense of the rural Craftsman. A huge open air amphitheatre is the venue of major Festivals.
There is a Museum representing the 4 member States West Zone, which has Turbans, Household Items, Toys, Musical Instruments, Decorative etc. used in the Village areas of these member States.
In the Month of December, West Zone culture Society arranges a 10 days Craftsmen Fare called 'Shilpgram Mahautsav'. It is witnessed by the Craftsmen from around the India. Each Day of the Fare is dominated by the guest Craftsmen of different Region. Several Stalls and Counters are put for the sale and exhibition of beautiful Handicrafts made by these Craftsmen...
Lake Pichola looks good from a distance, but up close in areas is quite dirty, having soap suds and algae growing around the edges. However, the marble palace, which was inaugurated in 1746, has been turned into a hotel and restaurant. We viewed the palace from a distance at the City Palace, and immediately decided that we had to eat dinner there. That evening, we took the launch that leaves from below the City Palace. In the darkness we arrived at the quay servicing the lake palace, and after a stroll around the grounds, were seated in at a corner table with windows of the lake on two sides. The meal was extraordinary, but so was the price. We also saw antique sailing vessel depart from the palace into the night. Aboard was a full restaurant and bar for a special party.