Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.
If there is one line to describe Udaipur, it has got to be this. One of the most popular destinations in India, be it for weddings, palaces, lakes, or just a foreign tourist favourite – Udaipur is a gem that needed to be explored. I had heard and seen so much of it, it almost felt like I’d been here already.
The only difference, I hadn’t. Given that we now live in Delhi NCR, Udaipur turned out to be a good weekend destination to plan out during the New Year break. We packed our bags, did a little bit of research on the places we wanted to tick off our bucket list and were off on a magical romantic getaway.
But here’s the thing about travel. There’s always something you cannot plan ahead or know about before. Here are the 5 things that I found most surprising about Udaipur.
#1 Tickets for Palaces/Lakes/Experiences are Expensive – Beware!
As Indians, and more so being a budget traveller I am used to paying ticket charges of INR 50-100 for seeing a palace or lake. But the minute the charges were like 600-700 for just entry, oh man…that’s just bonkers. What made things worse is that in Udaipur there is no concept of nationals vs. international ticket charges. Everyone pays the same. Sucks, right?
To give you a rough idea, here are the costs we bore to visit the touristy locations in Udaipur:
- CITY PALACE UDAIPUR: Entry – INR 500, Camera INR 250, Guide – Extra
- LIGHT & SOUND SHOW, CITY PALACE: INR 500 & 700. Camera – Extra
- BOAT RIDE TO JAG MANDIR: INR 400 for afternoon ride, INR 700 for Sunset ride
- MONSOON PALACE: INR 700
- BAGORE KI HAWELI: INR 300 including evening program Dharohar
- BOAT RIDE FATEH SAGAR LAKE: INR 300 for 4 minutes
#2 You cannot miss the Italian Cafe’s. They are everywhere!
When you are in Rajasthan, you’d expect the city to be its core Rajasthani best. However, Udaipur is no ordinary Rajasthani city. The city attracts an estimate of 2.5 lakh foreign nationals every year. Naturally, the city has adapted to the foreign tastes in culinary as well as cultural aspects. Every nook and corner has a beautifully decorated Italian cafe with an English speaking chef ready to take your order.
The food is good, ambience is great and the backdrop of palaces and lakes makes the whole experience surreal. But somewhere I did miss out on authentic Rajasthani cuisines.
#3 The City of Lakes is more than just Lakes
There are so many things to enjoy in Udaipur. My favourite has got to be watching the sunset from different locations. Be it Gangaur Ghat or Ambrai Ghat, from Jag Mandir to Fateh Sagar Lake, sunset has never been more beautiful. It transports you to this trance state of inner peace and gratefulness for the time spent there.
The charm of walking through the old city routes exploring the local craftsmanship at Shilpgram to finding the cutest cafe corners and enjoying the beautiful breeze sitting on rooftops of AirBNBs. The city has so much to offer than just visiting the tourist locations. Every Galli has something to offer, and it’s all about wearing your exploring shoes and having an open mind to see more.
#4 It’s one of the Safest Cities to be out at Night
Some cities just give out a vibe of not being safe. Gurgaon for instance. But in case of Udaipur, we felt so much at ease in the city. There were tourists walking the lanes late in the evening, sitting even post-sunset on the ghats just enjoying the city lights. The city has an amazing vibe to it which is infectious. You just instantly become a part of the culture.