Rode a plane (again!) from Mumbai to Udaipur and went straight to the heart of the Old City to check in at my cute Airbnb. Udaipur is, hands down, one of the most beautiful Indian cities I’ve visited. If you’re dropping by to do a relaxed Udaipur sightseeing, then this is for you!
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Udaipur is often called the “Venice of the East,” “City of Sunrise,” or the “City of Lakes.” Founded in 1553, Udaipur served as the capital of the Mewar kingdom. It became a princely state in the 8th century and came under British paramountcy in 1818. Eventually, Udaipur merged with the union of Rajasthan in 1948.
Surrounded by seven lakes and the Aravalli hills, Udaipur is a must visit for travelers looking to explore scenic locations, rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and Rajput-era palaces. When you visit, you will sure be charmed by the city’s relatively calm and romantic atmosphere—at least within the Old City! 😀
Climb up the Jagdish Temple
Start your Udaipur sightseeing in the Jagdish Temple. Showcasing Indo-Aryan architecture, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, this three-storied temple is the largest one in the city of Udaipur.
Enjoy your visit here by appreciating ingenious craftsmanship and dynamic atmosphere. Standing at 79 feet high, the temple is adorned with carved pillars, intricate ceilings, and beautiful mix of colors, marbles, and stones.
My Airbnb was very close to the Jagdish Temple, so it was my first stop in Udaipur. Definitely loved the beautiful architecture. It was so bright within the temple complex and the people were so lively.
If you’re going around the temple, do walk clockwise (Parikrama). I did it the other way around and an elderly man told me to go back and do it the right way. 😅 Also, taking photos inside the main temple was not allowed last time I was there.
Hours, fees, and some tips
- The temple is open every day from 4:15 to 13:00, 17:15 to 20:00.
- Entry is free.
- The address is RJ State Highway 50, Udaipur, Rajasthan (you can easily search on Google Maps for the fastest way to go there wherever you are).
- The way up isn’t so bad! You’re going to have to take your shoes off so wear a pair that you can easily take off and put on.
Get home décor ideas from the City Palace
Ah, the main attraction, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan—Udaipur City Palace. Your Udaipur sightseeing wouldn’t be complete without this.
Nestled on the western banks of Lake Pichola, the breathtaking City Palace features a colorful variety of courtyards, corridors, villas, gardens, and pavilions. Built over a period of 400 years since 1553, several Mewar dynasty rulers contributed to its present form today.
Be delighted by the exemplary combination of marble and granite, fashioned in Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Standing atop a hill, the Palace provides numerous panoramic views of the city from within the complex. Medieval, European, and Chinese designs marked the many rooms inside. If you’ve seen the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy, you might recognize it!
Hands down, one of the best places I visited in India! I’m a sucker for beautiful and historical architecture and interiors, and the Udaipur City Palace is truly a well-reserved gem! Besides the stunning structures, I also loved the amazing collection of art and views of the city.
Hours, fees, and some tips
- The Udaipur City Palace is open every day from 9:30 to 17:30.
- Entry fee varies: Rs. 250 for locals, Rs. 500 for foreigners.
- See here to know how to get to the palace.
- The tour inside was very structured but it got very crowded! I came in late, like around 13:00, because I did the boat tour around Lake Pichola first. If possible, do the City Palace first then the boat tour to avoid the sea of people. Bring water because there’s going to be a lot walking!
Take a boat on Lake Pichola and explore Jag Mandir
To the west of the City Palace lies the artificial freshwater lake created in 1362 by a tribesman, Pichhu Banjara. Lake Pichola, like the other lakes around Udaipur were built to supply the drinking water and irrigation needs of the city.
There are four islands within the lake, providing homes to several palaces. One of which is Jag Mandir, also called the “Lake of Garden Palace.” With its foundation built in 1551, the royal family used it as a summer resort and two asylum seekers sought refuge in it.
Viewing it from the banks of the City Palace, I found Lake Pichola very serene. It was a very relaxing time when I rode the boat around the lake, visiting Jag Mandir along the way. Boat ticket ride was worth it!
Hours, fees, and some tips
- Entry to see Lake Pichola is doable every day from 9:00 to 18:00, while the boat rides are from 10:00 to 17:00.
- Boat ride tickets run from Rs. 200 to Rs. 700 depending on the person and timing.
- Loved the boat ride! I picked the 10:00 schedule because it was cheaper. But I’d love to try the sunset tour if given another chance. There was nothing much to do at Jag Mandir except take photos and reminisce about what the history was like. The experience was lovely, nevertheless. Lastly, don’t forget to bring water and put on sunscreen if you’re taking the morning schedule!
Volunteer some time at Animal Aid Udaipur
My visit to Animal Aid Unlimited (AAU) was completely unintentional. I was feeling sad and burned out from all the temples and palaces. If you haven’t read, I made a post about feeling lonely while traveling and what to do about it.
Instead of wasting my time in my Airbnb, I found AAU on the internet and since I love animals, off I went! Popular on the internet for its animal rescue videos, Animal Aid Unlimited has been rescuing and treating animals in need since 2002.
I loved my time here. Besides getting an in-depth understanding of what the NGO does, I was able to spend time with different animals. From cows and sheep to dogs and donkeys, being with the rescues was the break I needed to feel rejuvenated.
Learn more about Animal Aid Unlimited and how you can volunteer some of your time with the animals here: https://animalaidunlimited.org/ This was definitely the icing on top of my Udaipur sightseeing cake! 😅
Other things to do
- Walk around the Old City. Once you finish the major tourist spots in Udaipur, it’s time to relax and explore the rest of India’s most romantic city. Explore the local arts and crafts. Observe the peaceful yet fast-paced everyday life. Maybe buy some souvenirs too!
- Try the different scrambled eggs or crepes at one of the cafés. Add a little flavor to your Udaipur sightseeing by trying out one of the many cafés in the Old City. I particularly suggest Fresh Food Café. I’ve ordered from them quite a few times because it’s located beside my Airbnb. J Besides the good food, the people were really nice and accommodating!
With this pretty chill itinerary in Udaipur, you will cover the basics in two to three days. I spent a total of four days in Udaipur, and loved every second of it. Have you been to the City of Lakes? If yes, how was your experience?
I hope you’ve found something useful! If you’re planning a trip in India, don’t forget to check out my other posts about my 2018 India holiday here:
- What to Do in Kolkata? A List of 7 Things (Itinerary)
- Top Tourist Places in Hyderabad: 6 Cultural Spots to Visit (Itinerary)
- 48 Hours in Mumbai: Exploring Colaba (Itinerary)
- Why is the Rice in Indian KFC Filled with Hot Spices? #cry (Personal, food-related story)
- Beware of This Hotel in Mumbai, India! (Personal)
- Taking a Cab from Udaipur to Jodhpur + Side Trips (Itinerary)