The only thing better than seeing history is living it. And the best way to experience this is to take a trip to Udaipur, the city of lakes, situated in Rajasthan, India. Most people don’t explore their hometowns, thinking that it can be seen at any time. I too belonged to the same category, until recently. Apart from the well-known tourist spots in the White City, there are various unconventional places that remain unexplored. Here are a few highlights from my never-ending affair with India’s most romantic town.
A visit to Gulab-Bagh
Also known as the Sajjan Niwas Garden, it is the largest garden in Udaipur. Getting its name from the abundance of roses, this heavenly Garden must be a part of your itinerary. The Saraswati library is home to some of the oldest collections of books and the toy train ride is a must for kids. I cannot even recall the number of times I took that journey!
The garden is perfect for an evening stroll with your loved ones. You may also visit the Vintage Car Museum which is situated right across the garden.
A Breathtaking Panorama
You ought to indulge in a delicious meal while gazing at the historic skyline at night. Upre by 1559 AD is a restaurant located on the terrace of Lake Pichola Hotel. The entrance looks like an ancient palace straight out of a history book. Covered with green vines, creepers, and shrubs, it is a paradise for photographers. Don’t forget to capture that perfect shot before you head upstairs. Do reserve a table prior to reaching the restaurant. The folk tunes played by the instrumentalists will leave you mesmerized and craving for more.
Old is gold
Visiting the streets of old Udaipur on your feet will allow you to catch a glimpse of the traditional and vibrant lifestyle of the locals. The narrow lanes of the market till Jagdish Chowk offer a variety of artifacts and souvenirs. The small temples situated along the way are an architect’s delight. And if you are looking for something artistic and unique, then do visit the tiny magnet boutique in front of the Laxmi Mata temple. If you are keen enough, then the shop owner might even teach you a few painting techniques!
A traditional music and dance show called Dharohar is staged every evening at Bagore ki Haveli. The show ends with a child from the audience being invited to pull out the infinite amount of red thread that the puppet had swallowed by mistake. Trust me; it is hilarious to watch the child in a dilemma. You also get a chance to see a room full of puppets after the show is over. So head over to the haveli before this art of puppetry fades away!
Adjacent to the haveli is the Gangaur ghat where Mr. Narayan plays old Bollywood melodies on an instrument known as the ‘ravanhathanda’. His tunes are a crowd puller. After feeding the pigeons on the ghat and seeing them sore high into the sunset, you can head over for a cup of chai to the nearby cafes.
Miniatures on the go
Rajput miniatures also known as Rajasthani paintings thrived in the royal courts of the Maharanas of Rajasthan during the 18th century. While traveling towards our destination, we often tend to miss out on the little things that come our way. Such is the case with the colorful artworks that adorn the streets of the city. A walk along the embellished bridges around Fateh Sagar, with the fresh breeze flowing through your hair, will leave you spellbound.
There is an old custom to decorate the walls of one’s home with these paintings whenever there is a wedding in the family. Eagerly waiting for the day when these miniatures will enhance the beauty of my ancestral home in the city…
And lastly, a blissful swim at Badi Lake will take all your worries away!
Popular for the shooting of the Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone starrer, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, the lake is an ideal location for a secret getaway with your best friends. It is an offbeat place void of tourists. You can appreciate the scenic view without any hindrances.
Monsoon makes the city look even more charming. A trip planned in the months of August to February will turn out to be extremely fruitful. The rich cultural heritage is worth investing your time in. However, I feel I still haven’t done justice to the lesser-known places in Udaipur. Perhaps you could join me on my next adventure to find out more about this humble abode.