Udaipur’s gleaming marble palaces, verdant hillsides, intricate Jain temples and placid blue lakes show India at its decorative best.
Undeniably India’s most romantic city, Udaipur is a feast for the eyes and a vital part of any visit to Rajasthan. Set on the banks of Lake Pichola, the jewel in Udaipur’s crown is its cupola-crowned City Palace which took several centuries and successive Maharajas to complete. It encompasses four major palaces and several smaller royal residences connected by extensive courtyards, corridors and gardens. Visit the Crystal Gallery at the Fateh Prakash Palace to see a rare collection of English Osler’s crystal including chandeliers, chairs, dressing tables and even a bed.
Just next door lies the huge Jagdish Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and noted for its ornate carvings and elephant motifs. From here you can look out across the lake to the extraordinary ‘floating’ Lake Palace, former summer home of the Mewar royals. Now housing a luxury hotel, the palace sits on its own island and appears to float on the lake’s glistening waters. Take a boat ride at sunset to see the palace bathed in golden sunlight.
The best way to explore Udaipur is on foot. As you wander the streets you’ll come across fruit sellers, potters, weavers and sword makers going about their daily lives - a reminder of the timeless way of life that continues unchanged in many parts of India.