As the lakes meander through the heart of Udaipur, there’s a sense of European influence on the architecture of this chaotic, beautiful city. It’s not called ‘Venice of the East’ for nothing. 

As we arrived in Udaipur after a lengthy 7 hour train ride we was instantly greeted by the Indian smog, but with a hint of moisture & humidity from the 5 lakes that cut through the city.

Udaipur has three palaces, one for summer, one for monsoon and one for winter. As you enter into the heart of the city, by tuk-tuk of course the foreboding summer palace can be seen from a distance which surrounds the south east peninsula of the city. It’s the second largest palace in all of India, but this by no means stops its being awe-inspiring with its beautiful towers and stunning light display.  

As we arrived around 3 in the afternoon it was time to check in and quickly head out for some early dinner. Udaipur has a wealth of restaurants that boast ‘roof top bars’ with a cool vibe, however our first night we were treated to dinner with a view on the literal edge of the main lake, with a cityscape featuring the palace. Udaipur in our experience was a little more expensive than other places and dishes can be bought for around 300-700 INR (£5) however don’t let this deter you, it’s a huge city with so much to offer. 

Awaking in the morning to the familiar sound of car horns and chaotic traffic we were ready to tackle some of the tourist traps that Udaipur has to offer. However travelling round this large city is super easy, and there is a subculture of modified tuk tuks. Making journeys to and from the hotel a lot more enjoyable. 

We were introduced to a man who’s skills included art and henna. It’s worth mentioning that here in Udaipur their style of art is called ‘miniature art’ which is a skill passed from generation to generation. If you’ve seen any Indian art at all, there’s a high chance at least one of these pieces is derived from this style of painting. 

After a short introduction to his works we were offered the opportunity to get our hennas done. Abbie went for a complex wrist and hand piece and I had Abbie’s name written in Hindi on my arm. These cost us around 250INR (£2.80) which is a pretty good price. 

From here it was almost time to enjoy our cooking class, this day was a little rainy as we’re in the shoulder of monsoon season right now but that doesn’t stop Udaipur being a little humid at night, our cooking class was on a rooftop so as you can imagine it was a little uncomfortable cooking over a gas hob.

Making a variety of foods from Vegetable Samosas to Spinach and Potato curry we were able to learn a lot about how Indians prepare and serve their food, if there is anything we’ve learnt in India it’s that food prep is a completely different process here than anywhere in the world, for better or worse. 

Heading from here we were treated to a party on the roof of our hotel with our G Adventures squad which was a great way to end an already hectic day. Alcohol in Udaipur is easy to find – unlike Pushkar – however it’s not as cheap as the food is out here, we paid 600 INR (£6.50) for 5 beer cans. But it didn’t stop us having a great evening on the rooftop. 

If you haven’t already noticed, rooftops and open air terraces feature highly in Indian hotels.

The Third day was a day to experience the markets and lakes of Udaipur, ranging from the generic souvenirs of India all the way to musical instruments (one of our group purchased a Sitar here).

One thing I will say is that the hospitality of Udaipur was better than other places we have been, it’s by no means world class but people are friendly enough and more often than not are quite helpful, just been vigilant, if someone is being ‘too’ nice, it’s usually a scam.

We took a short boat ride around the water palace on the lakes and viewed the spectacular horizon that glistens off the rays of the setting sun. Mountains span for miles outwardly and the shadow of these blanket half of he city as the sun dips, leaving its last batch of light on the edge of the city palace. 

Udaipur was an experience into a town that is just starting to reap the benefits of western tourism and as this grows stronger so will the facilities and attractions available. The parks and buildings on the river beds of the lake have a hint of European architecture so it’s no surprise this place is coined the Venice of the East because, it truly is.

Tips

  • City palace (250INR) it’s an extra 250INR if you want to take photos for taking your phones/cameras in, you can leave these at their desk and return them when you finish if you prefer.
  • It’s a very hilly location near the city palace, be prepared to be climbing up and down a lot here. Or hire TukTuks
  • Avoid overly friendly locals, however we talked to a lot of people near where the boat tour takes place next to rainbow cafe and they were super friendly, just go with your gut feeling.
  • There was a higher than usual police presence here, don’t let that alarm you, its more for traffic control than anything.

About The Author

Wanderlust Lab is a collaboration between Abbie and Luke for the sharing of travelling knowledge to help backpackers and travellers all across the globe. Live Wanderlust.

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