Things to do in Udaipur

Known as the City of Lakes, or the Venice of the East, many of the attractions in Udaipur are revolve around the city's beautiful lakes. Lake Pichola is a great starting point for sightseeing in Udaipur because it is enveloped by palaces, mansions and temples, and boasts several pretty islands. It is one of the largest and most picturesque lakes in the city. Attractions on the lakeside include the City Palace of Udaipur on the eastern bank, Mohan Mandir on the northeast corner, and the famous Lake Palace on Jag Island. Boat rides and sunset cruises are a treat and although it is surrounded by palatial architecture, Lake Pichola also has many bathing ghats (steps), where locals congregate to wash and socialise, adding colour and authenticity to the lovely scenery. Other beautiful lakes in the city include Fateh Sagar, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar.

Those willing to venture beyond this picturesque city will find that there are many worthwhile excursions from Udaipur. The Jain Temples of Ranakpur are magnificent, showcasing some of the best marble work in India. The Ranakpur Temple complex is the largest of its kind in the world and a must-see for anybody visiting the area. It is conveniently located on the route between Udaipur and Jaipur. There are many other temples a short way out of the city, including the small but impressive Eklingji Temple, which draws rave reviews from tourists.

A bit further afield, but still within easy driving distance for a day-trip, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is a real adventure, promising hundreds of atmospheric 15th-century temples to explore, exhilarating views, and a perimeter wall second in length only to the Great Wall of China.

Udaipur Lake Palace photo

Udaipur Lake Palace

The white walls of Udaipur's Lake Palace soar above the peaceful waters of Lake Pichola, topped by ornamental battlements and turrets. The sprawling palace has been developed by su…

Udaipur Lake Palace

The white walls of Udaipur's Lake Palace soar above the peaceful waters of Lake Pichola, topped by ornamental battlements and turrets. The sprawling palace has been developed by successive maharanas since the foundation of Udaipur in 1559. These days, part of the palace is home to the current maharana, a section of it is a first-class hotel (with the best restaurant in the city), and the remainder is a museum. Udaipur's Lake Palace really does have a storybook quality to it, both in terms of its looks and its history, and it is rightly considered by all and sundry to be one of India's stellar tourist attractions.

Jain Temples of Ranakpur photo

Jain Temples of Ranakpur

Forty miles (60km) north of Udaipur are the Jain Temples of Ranakpur. It is the largest temple complex of its kind in India, and boasts some truly staggering marble work. The main …

Jain Temples of Ranakpur

Forty miles (60km) north of Udaipur are the Jain Temples of Ranakpur. It is the largest temple complex of its kind in India, and boasts some truly staggering marble work. The main temple was built in 1439, and is dedicated to the first tirthankara Adinath, whose image is enshrined in its central sanctuary. The temple is two or three storeys high in parts, and its roof, topped with five large shikharas, undulates with tiny spires that crown the small shrines to Jain saints lining the temple walls. Within are 1444 pillars, each sculpted with unique and intricate designs, and dissecting the 29 halls.

Website www.ranakpurtemple.com/

Kumbhalgarh Fort photo

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh is a massive Mewar fortress built in the 15th century, with seven heavily fortified gateways and a perimeter wall that extends a staggering 22 miles (36km); possibly th…

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh is a massive Mewar fortress built in the 15th century, with seven heavily fortified gateways and a perimeter wall that extends a staggering 22 miles (36km); possibly the second longest continuous wall in the world. Inside this intimidating complex there are more than 360 temples (300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu) in addition to the main palace. The fortress has immense sentimental significance for local inhabitants because it is the birthplace of Mewar's legendary king, Maharana Pratap. Needless to say, one can spend hours exploring this architectural and historical playground, and those who enjoy climbing will find many opportunities. The views from the many vantage points of this fortress are astounding.

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