We reached Udaipur around 1900h from Khumbhalgarh fort and decided to have dinner at our favourite place in Udaipur, ‘Krishna Restaurant‘. Do not judge the book by its cover; just try the food they serve. They actually do not have much in their menu but serve the best of dal-batti-churma in town. Even google accepts it; we are just its loyal customers.
We booked a room for ourselves at hotel Madri Haveli, the experience of which i have shared at end of the post. It is near Lake Pichola and city palace. Due to space constraints best time to enter here is before 0800h and after 2200h and find a parking space in any govt parking available near city palace. We reached the hotel room around 2200h after parking our car at one of the Govt parking, right next to City palace.
City Palace Udaipur
Our day at Udaipur started with hiring a scooty from local lender for a day, your best companion on the busy and small old lanes of city. Charges are flat as 800 bucks until 2000h regardless at what time you hire it. Our first destination was the majestic City Palace. It is the second largest palace in India after Mysore palace. Interestingly, it is the only palace which is still a private property and given on lease to government. At City palace, Royal elephant, welcomes you at the gate. However, before that, you need to buy the entrance tickets. Special passes on concessional rates are available for students, Armed forces personnel and differently abled individuals.
FYI numerous movies has been filmed here, prominently ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’. As I just mentioned city palace is still a private property, there are lot many things to amaze you, so let us take you on a tour of it.
You enter the main courtyard of palace from a three arch door. As you enter, you will see the palace to your right and a balcony to your left side. Balcony side is where you can go for evening light and sound shows. For day visitors like us, focus on right side (inside the palace). My recommendation, please do hire a guide here, this place has a vast history to share with us. Inside the palace, you will find the armor of Maharana Pratap and his horse Chetak, for display. As we moved towards other part of palace through those small pathways, where only one man can fit at one time, new things awaited us. Reason of having small pathways is, in case of any attack only limited number of enemy can entre and it is easy to fight them back.
The room of Queen was full of miniature paintings, wherever your eyes can see. This is place of birth of miniature paintings in area. However, of all the things, what amazes the most is the presence of fully-grown trees on fourth floor of palace. Yes, you read it correct. The palace been built around a mound of Aravali ranges in such a manner that the top of mountain coincides with fourth floor. Yes, we did climbed 4 floors without even realizing. After being mesmerized of one side of palace, you can visit the royal family’s residence buying another ticket for it.
After going through the palace, fourth floor garden, aerial view of Lake Palace in Pichola Lake, it was time for a boat ride. We went towards Gangur Ghat. Opposite to Gangaur Ghat on other side of lake is Hanuman Ghat. To have a wide view of city palace, you can go to Amber ghat. If you happen to be inside palace near sunset, do watch light and sound show. We enjoyed it during our previous visit to Udaipur.
After boat ride, it was time to see some high grounds. Thus, the destination chosen was Sajjangarh Fort or Monsoon palace, as locals call it, but before that, a small halt was at ‘Saheliyon-ki-Bari’. It is built on banks of Fateh Sagar Lake with the purpose of facilitating queens to have some privacy. It has a museum as well.
Fort is set in outskirts of Udaipur at Aravalli ranges. It gives a beautiful sunset viewpoint and overview of Udaipur city. The fort is located at a hilltop inside the wild life sanctuary, for which you can buy entry tickets for sixty rupee per person. Monsoon palace is not much in terms of architectural marvel like city palace or other forts and palaces are. This palace reminds me of Kumbhalgarh’s architecture. After spending near about an hour, watching Udaipur city to take a dip into orange color of sunset, we decided to move back.
Our last destination in City of lakes was Jagmandir, right outside the City Palace road. We decided to be a part of evening aarti at temple. Jagmandir, constructed on platform of marbles with stairs and brass lions to guard. Don’t go there just to pray but to admire the architect’s thoughts and hard work to come up with such beautiful idea and carvings on marble. After going through the temple, we decided to spend few minutes at Gangaur Ghat before calling it a day.
Madri Haveli is an old property converted for business. Soon we realised our mistake, though the charges were exorbitant like a 5 star hotel, the service and condition of room was equivalent to a motel. A tiny room of around 10×10 ft with a small bathroom and windows to room opening in someone else courtyard. Walls were all seeping in, with paint and putty falling like snow on our head. When the same was told to reception, they did not not even bother to come and check or change the room. Because as per them the room was perfectly all right.
We stayed for the night and check out next morning. To add on the misery hotel does not have its own parking facility. Firstly, because roads leading to hotels are narrow, secondly it is an old house modified into hotels for business. You have to park your vehicle at Govt run parking lot paying at per hour charge from your own pocket. Therefore, it is recommended that, you reconsider your accommodation before blindly following google ratings. At least for availability of parking and other ancillary services provided by them. Closeness to monument should not be the only criteria.