Our trip to Udaipur, the city of lakes, from New Delhi was a quick one and done in a jiffy. However, as always, it was planned much earlier. In this case, it was planned at least four or five months in advance. Planning a trip, so much in advance, we have always believed, makes a real difference, making the journey cozy and a smooth sailing. We made our staying arrangements in Udaipur.
Missing the onset of Delhi winters by a whisker, we tried something different for this trip. We didn’t want to stay in a hotel this time and decided to stay in a tent, instead. We explored several options and managed to find a good resort within our budget, Aravali Tent Resort, in the heart of the city, literally within a stroll from the City Palace. There is of course another good luxury tent resort in the city called Rasleela – which comes at a steep price, much beyond our budget.
Getting around in an auto was another decision. Yes! You heard it right! We did a whirlwind tour of Udaipur in an auto, instead of hiring a cab. We arranged an auto for some major spots of the city at an amazingly reasonable rate of Rs. 600. Yes, with that less an amount, we did almost all the key destinations in the city of lakes.
Our first stop was the royal palace of grandeur – the City Palace. This one is a must visit in any itinerary for the town. The monument stands tall like an imposing structure besides the serene waters of Lake Pichola. The palatial monument stands testimony to the era of the Mewar Dynasty and one can relive the historical period in all its majesty, through the intricately designed walls and museum inside the palace.
Here be ready to pay INR 115 for the entry ticket to shell out an extra Rs. 225 if you are carrying a digital camera. I haven’t come across such a steep price for cameras anywhere in India so far. I thought, charging Rs. 225 for a camera is a bit unreasonable.
Nonetheless, the atmosphere inside the city palace is transformative; you see hundreds of tourists queuing up to visit the monument and the museum inside. There’d be guides inside waiting to get to you. Take a lazy stroll throughout the palace at your own ease; watch the paintings, the caricatures or the weaponry at display. Do visit the Peacock courtyard and witness the ornate designs of the walls. Keep a good two hours at your disposal to see the entire monument.
Sahelio Ki Bari
Take out your cameras. Sahelio ki Bari is one of the most photogenic gardens about the place. It is one superbly manicured garden with a plethora of blooming flowers.
Once through with these, we rushed to the tranquil waters of Lake Pichola. The area is drowned in much hustle and bustle and almost always lined by tourists queuing up to visit the waters and the parks. I have been to Jaipur before and can say without a doubt, that this lake will amaze you, if you compare it with the Jal Mahal of the pink city.
The calm waters of the lake and the surrounding mountains make for a picture postcard landscape. You can take a boat ride if you want. There are different rates from INR 150 to INR 300 depending on type of boat and rides. Choose whichever you like.
After our share of experience through these waters, we traveled to the Nehru Park at Fateh Sagar Lake. Set amidst the quite waters of the lake, Nehru Park is a serene island with perfectly manicured gardens and water activities. A quick boat ride, which costs INR 100 takes one to the park.
If you are an adventure-geek, go for the speed boats. There are double and single speed boat options which one can try. Keep aside at least Rs. 400 for the single ride speed boats.
You can also try a camel ride if you wish to. This place has lots to offer. A single camel ride costs just Rs. 100 for two persons. You can visit the Mahrana Pratap Museum if you have got an extra little time to while away.
By the time, we took our boat ride, it was already post noon. The sun was slowly pacing down and we knew exactly where to head.
Cable car and sunset view
We zapped to the sunset view point at Machla Magra hill. You will have to take the route besides the Dudh Talai to reach this place. Get yourself a ticket for the cable ride that takes you to the top of the sunset view peak. The government rates for a single ride costs Rs. 78 per person. With our tickets in hand, we waited patiently for our turn to come.
The excitement was palpable. We were losing our patience to catch a glimpse of the spectacular view from the top of the hill. The cable car finally came down and we were instructed to board the ropeway one at a time. A slow inclined ascent of at least 15 minutes took us to the peak. Not much activity to do here, except a small temple, and ruins of Eklingarh fort. Instead, we just enjoyed the amazing panoramic view of the city, forests, Jadmandir Island, and buildings. Slowly the sun started settling down and we could see the night lights of the city come up, twinkling about the city’s landscape.
The view was magical. Spectacular. Mesmerising. Soothing. Reflective. Reassuringly calm. There wasn’t anything else we could ask. With our cameras already in place; we went click, click and click.