10 Interesting Things to Do in Udaipur

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The scenic city of Udaipur is otherwise known by locals and visitors alike as ‘The City of Lakes’ and this beautiful destination is a must-visit when traveling through Rajasthan in India.

Udaipur is a relative sea of tranquillity in the chaos of India, found surrounded by serene hills that are dotted with wide lakes.

It’s a charming place, a colorful and vibrant city that has a long history to match. Explore the old city, catch local ceremonies on the banks of the water, and enjoy pleasant sunset cruises.

There are some great things to do in Udaipur, from visiting temples and ancient fortresses to exploring islands and palaces. Here are our favorite things to do in Udaipur.

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10 Best Things to do in Udaipur

The city has a long history that dates back to the 16th century and consequently, there are a lot of great things to do in Udaipur.

Take to the lakes and cruise through the beautiful scenery before exploring temples and palaces galore within the old city. Here are the best things to do in Udaipur.

Udaipur City Palace

1. Udaipur City Palace

One of the best things to do in Udaipur when you first arrive is to visit the City Palace. This vast complex dates back to the 16th century when the city was founded as the new capital of a local dynasty.

The palace was built on the banks of Lake Pichola, in a supreme position that’s as strategic as it is beautiful. Over the centuries, subsequent rulers and empires added extensively to the initial design.

The palace has sprawled and extended far beyond its initial composition, giving it an unusual blend of many distinct architectural styles, from Mughal to colonial.

Visitors can explore the labyrinth of halls and passageways within the enormous palace and the extravagant gardens and rooms that are hidden within the maze of buildings, before enjoying the incredible panoramas over the lake and the rest of the city from the excellent vantage points.

Our top recommended tours of Udaipur City Palace:

2. Lake Pichola

In a city surrounded by lakes, Lake Pichola takes pride of place in Udaipur. It’s unmissable, as the palace and the city are built on the banks of this vast body of water.

Surprisingly though, this was a man-made lake, dating back to the 14th century, long before Udaipur even became the famed capital it grew to be in later centuries.

Compared to the surrounding dry and dusty Rajasthani landscapes, the hills surrounding the lake are a verdant scene of greenery.

The serene location has meant that over the centuries many rulers have built their own islands and palaces on the lake and the whole scene is a wonderful picture of architecture blending with nature.

Take a cruise out onto the water as the sun sets for the most vibrant of views at Lake Pichola.

Our top recommended tours of Lake Pichola:

Udaipur Lake Palace

3. Udaipur Lake Palace

The Lake Palace on Lake Pichola is by far one of the most unique things to do in Udaipur. Found on Jag Niwas island, the beautiful white walls of the palace rise effortlessly from the water.

Dating back to the 18th century, it’s an incredible feat of design and engineering and any lake cruise needs to pass by its tall walls.

The Lake Palace is no longer a royal residence but is actually a rather glamorous hotel, and if you are looking for a unique, luxury stay when visiting Udaipur, then this is the place to book into.

4. Jag Mandir

Also found on the calm waters of Lake Pichola, Jag Mandir is another island that’s home to a glorious palace. The lavish palace was built by local royalty in the 16th century and hundreds of years later, its elegant stone walls are still a marvel to see on the lake.

The royal palace is, like the Lake Palace it faces on the lake, a hotel these days, but visitors can travel out here even if they aren’t staying to enjoy dining at one of Udaipur’s most excellent restaurants.

Our top recommended tours of Jag Mandir:

5. Fateh Sagar Lake

The Fateh Sagar Lake is one of Udaipur’s many beautiful lakes. Like the nearby Lake Pichola, this is also an artificial construction, built in the 17th century.

There are several individual islands found across the lake and it’s an incredible place to visit as the sunsets over the hills, to enjoy the beautiful serenity that Udaipur is so famous for.

The lake is home to more royal palaces as well as island-bound nature reserves and an intriguing astronomical observatory.

Best things to do in Udaipur

6. Monsoon Palace

The Monsoon Palace is located on a prominent hilltop overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake. The grand building can be seen from across the city, as the palace is one of Udaipur’s tallest peaks.

The lavish palace gets its unique name from the fact that rulers would use the high position and the visibility from the walls to watch out for the coming monsoon clouds.

Visitors can travel to the top of the hill to explore the palace, and from the hilltop enjoy the stunning views over the nearby lakes and the old city, making this one of the best things to do in Udaipur.

Film lovers will enjoy the fact that this palace was used in the famous James Bond film Octopussy as the main villain’s lair, while nature lovers will enjoy the beautiful Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary which surrounds the hill the Monsoon Palace was built upon.

The reserve is home to a wide array of animals, particularly unique given the close proximity to the busy streets of the city. Here, you can hike through the natural climes of the reserve and spot wildlife as diverse as wild boar and jackals.

Our top recommended tours of Monsoon Palace:

7. Nehru Park

Found on an island in the middle of Fateh Sagar Lake, Nehru Park is a brilliantly tranquil place to visit. Take a boat out across the water from the lakeside before strolling through the pleasant greenery of this nature reserve.

The garden gives you a wonderful perspective of the size of the lake as you get a completely different view of the surrounding hills from the middle of the lake.

8. Ahar Cenotaphs

Just outside of Udaipur itself, the Ahar Cenotaphs are an impressive collection of monuments that have been built over the centuries for the rulers of Udaipur, ever since the Mewar dynasty founded the city as their new capital.  

The grand memorials are a testament to the importance and grandeur of the local monarchy, who still hold unofficial, but prominent positions in local society.

Our top recommended tour of Ahar Cenotaphs:

Jagdish Temple, Udaipur, India

9. Jagdish Temple

The Jagdish Temple is one of the most aesthetic Hindu temples to be found in Udaipur. Dating back to the mid 17th century, it’s excellent if imposing example of local religious architecture, with a prominent design that allows it to rise high above the surrounding city skyline.

It’s an important place of pilgrimage and visited by Hindus from across the country, but tourists are welcome to explore too.

Our top recommended tours of Jagdish Temple:

10. Vintage Car Museum

When you’ve tired of lakes and palaces, then one of the best things to do in Udaipur is to visit the ever-popular Vintage Car Museum.

This is a place to marvel at the opulence and grandeur of Udaipur’s past royalty, as the extensive collection of cars was collated by descendants of the past rulers.

In the collection, you can find some extravagant classic cars, from Rolls Royces to Cadillacs, many of which have some intriguing history behind them too.

The cars have been featured in movies – James Bond for instance – and been used by visiting dignitaries and monarchs calling into Udaipur over the last few decades.

Fountain in Udaipur, India

Best Time of Year to Visit Udaipur

Udaipur, like much of Rajasthan, experiences a dry, semi-arid climate with hot weather all through the year. The best time to visit the city is during the winter when temperatures are still hot but not quite as scorching as in other seasons.

Winter falls between December and March and this is also, of course, when the city as its busiest in terms of tourist numbers. The monsoon season is hot and humid when the annual rainfall occurs almost all at once between July and October, and if you can, this is the season to avoid.

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Parade in Udaipur, India

How to Travel to Udaipur

Udaipur is found in the southern part of Rajasthan, in a scenically beautiful region renowned for the prominence and quantity of hilltops and lakes.

Being a large metropolis with a lot of history and booming tourism industry, the city is well connected to the rest of Rajasthan and the neighboring states.

The local airport caters mainly to domestic flights, but there are regular connections to both Mumbai and Delhi, from where you can connect internationally to most major cities around the world after a short transit.

The city is well connected to the Indian rail network too, with direct train services to most large cities, including Delhi which is 12 hours away and Mumbai which is 17 hours south.

Getting around Udaipur is best done by rickshaw and it’s easy to hire a local driver for the day to show you the best sights and attractions.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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