Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Udaipur: The Jewel of the East

Known for its lakes, palaces and rich cultural heritage, Udaipur is one of the most visited places in India. Whether it’s for a movie shoot or a romantic getaway, tourists from all over the world get drawn to this majestic city every year. Udaipur is located in the royal state of Rajasthan and is located approximately 400 km from the pink city of Jaipur. While many believe that the ideal time for exploring the place is from October to February, it is during the monsoons that the place truly transforms itself into wonderland (just make sure you carry your raincoat with you). Udaipur has a lot of exciting places worth paying a visit though it’s not possible (or enjoyable) to explore them all unless you’re on a month long trip. If Udaipur is on your list of places to visit this season, these are a few places you just can’t miss out on:

The City Palace
The city Palace, Udaipur 

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This magnificent palace is located on Lake Pichola and has been subject to constant improvement and expansion over the course of the past 400 years by a lineage of kings from the Maharana Dynasty. It is a fine example of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture and has been featured in the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy. Following which the world took notice and Udaipur was given the title of ‘Venice of the East’. Built atop a hill, you can get a breath-taking view of the entire lake while you relax yourself on one of the numerous palace balconies. Needless to say, the City Palace is one of the most important places to visit when in Udaipur!

Lake Pichola
Lake Pichola, Udaipur

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The main reason why you should visit Udaipur in the month of August is due to the fact that the monsoon rains fill up the various lakes with fresh water, and the city is covered in greens. One of the most beautiful lakes in the country, Lake Pichola is surrounded by ancient havelis and palaces including the stunning Lake Palace hotel which can be reached by boat. However, entry is only permitted if you plan on staying the night.

Jagdish Temple
Jagdish Temple, Udaipur

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This ancient temple was built in the year 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh shortly before his death a year later. Jagdish Mandir is a popular tourist spot and takes just 30 minutes to complete a tour. Visit it if you have a thing for Indo-Aryan architecture.

Kumbhalgarh Fort
Kumbhalgarh Fort, Udaipur

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By now you must have heard a lot about the Chittorgarh Fort, located in Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) and how it is the largest fort in the country. While Udaipur may not have the largest fort in India, it is home to the second largest wall in the world. Located 82 km from Udaipur, the walls around the Kumbhalgarh Fort are commonly referred to as ‘The Great Wall of India’ and should definitely find its way on your list of places to visit when in Udaipur.

Saheliyon Ki Bari
Saheliyon ki Bari, Udaipur

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Saheliyon Ki Bari is located in northern Udaipur on the Fateh Sagar Lake and was originally built by Maharana Bhopal Singh for the large group of maids who accompanied her future queen and wife as part of her dowry ritual. This garden took 24 years to build and served as a place where the queen and her group of 48 helpers could kick back and relax away from the political fuss of the court.

The Sas-Bahu Temple
Sas-Bahu Temple, Udaipur

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Although not in Udaipur, the Sas-Bahu Temple (meaning Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law) is situated in Nagda, a small town 23km away from the city. The unusual name is suggestive of the dual structures that comprise the layout of the temple.

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