Udaipur Diaries

I had heard that Udaipur is called the city of the lakes and when I got there it was much more beautiful than what I had expected. It is also called the ‘Venice of the east’ due to its lakes, gardens, havelis, and forts. As we went to see the amazing picturesque spots in Udaipur, one thing became clear that this place was loved by the tourists and locals alike. This city was founded in the 15th century by Maharana Udai Singh on the advice of a sage he encountered on his hunting expedition to Lake Pichola. The sage bestowed his blessings that the palace the king builds will add to its prosperity. The boundary of lake Pichola was clean and free of litter which seemed to be an achievement in itself. Lake Pichola looks resplendent and you would like to instantly take a few pictures out there. This city has, for decades, inspired everyone from authors like Rudyard Kipling to filmmakers. The James Bond film Occopussy was extensively shot here.

So on the first day, after settling down at Lalit Laxmi Niwas palace, we headed off to the City Palace to witness the rich cultural history of Udaipur. It took us a couple of hours to take in the beautiful City palace after which we rested for some time in the Sunrise Restaurant. Then we headed off to the boat ride to the Jag Mandir, which is located at the center of Lake Pichola. The boat ride around the lake should not be missed as it will rejuvenate you beyond doubt. We also visited the Sajjangarh widelife sanctuary where we were able to spot many wild animals. There are golf carts functional there which will take you to the enclosures and bring you back to the fort exit. We also visited the Hathipole market where we did some shopping. But a word of caution here. Don’t trust the Uber drivers in Udaipur. If you want a cab, you should prefer Ola over Uber which are easily available. If you wish to explore the local restaurants, you can reach Chand pole by the cab and then walk up to Gangaur ghat. There are many good restaurants there. One of them is Café Boho, which we liked very much. The atmosphere is very warm and welcoming and the food is good too. Same is the case with Yummy Yoga which is a rooftop restaurant. But you will have to climb staircases so think before you plan to go there. We had our breakfasts at Padmini, which is at Laxmi Niwas and would like to add that the breakfast was good. However, when we tried out Aangan restaurant inside Laxmi niwas, it did not live up to the expectations.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Udaipur and then headed off to the next destination, Jodhpur.

Bijay Niwas – More than a stopover

If you are planning to drive to Udaipur from Delhi or Gurgaon by any chance, then stopping by in between might be required as it requires all of 11 hours to reach Udaipur from Gurgaon. Bijay Niwas Palace is an excellent stopover in between. It takes 7 hours to reach Bijay Nagar from Gurgaon and it would give you a much needed break. We reached Bijay Niwas around 5 pm in the evening and found to our surprise that we were the only guests there. We had booked a suite in advance and were elated to enter the grand haveli like setting. Bijay Niwas comes across as a quaint, little place where you can forget all your tensions and can relax in the lap of nature. Our room had a balcony attached to it where we spent a lazy afternoon eating pakoras and French fries and having our tea in the evening sun. The room had an old rustic feel to it as the switchboards and fans were quite old fashioned though all modern amenities were available in it. The whole palace had a central theme which was reflected in its tapestry and linen. It was last day of the year and we were amused to know that we will be treated with a bonfire out in the open. They also gave us an option to eat outside near the bonfire but we declined as the biting cold edged us to come inside once we took the warmth of the bonfire and enjoyed outside. It was a memorable day I would say as we were treated like royalty by the staff and served a wholesome three-course meal. We also spent some time near the swimming pool in the evening as it made us feel fresh and energetic. All in all it was a good decision to stop by at Bijay Niwas Palace and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have some peace and quiet for some time.