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 on 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 which I have shared at end of the post. It is near Lake Pichola and the 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 the city palace. We reached the hotel room around 2200h after parking our car at one of the Govt parking, right next to the City palace.
City Palace Udaipur
Our day at Udaipur started with hiring a scooter from the local lender for a day, your best companion on the busy and small old lanes of the city. Charges are flat at 800 bucks until 2000h regardless of what time you hire it. Our first destination was the majestic City Palace. It is the second largest palace in India after the Mysore palace. Interestingly, it is the only palace that is still private property and given on lease to the government. At the City palace, the 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 have been filmed here, prominently ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’. As I just mentioned city palace is still 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 the palace from a three-arch door. As you enter, you will see the palace to your right and a balcony to your left side. The balcony side is where you can go for evening light and sound shows. For day visitors like us, focus on the right side (inside the palace). My recommendation is please to 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 another part of the palace through those small pathways, where only one man can fit at one time, new things awaited us. The reason for having small pathways is, in case of any attack only a limited number of enemies can enter and it is easy to fight them back.
The room of the Queen was full of miniature paintings, wherever your eyes can see. This is the place of birth of miniature paintings in the area. However, of all the things, what amazes me the most is the presence of fully-grown trees on the fourth floor of the palace. Yes, you read it correctly. The palace has been built around a mound of Aravali ranges in such a manner that the top of the mountain coincides with the fourth floor. Yes, we did climb 4 floors without even realizing it. After being mesmerized by one side of the palace, you can visit the royal family’s residence buying another ticket for it.
After going through the palace, fourth-floor garden, and aerial view of Lake Palace in Pichola Lake, it was time for a boat ride. We went towards Gangur Ghat. Opposite Gangaur Ghat on another side of the lake is Hanuman Ghat. To have a wide view of the city palace, you can go to Amber ghat. If you happen to be inside the palace near sunset, do watch the light and sound show. We enjoyed it during our previous visit to Udaipur.
After the 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 the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake with the purpose of facilitating queens to have some privacy. It has a museum as well.
Fort is set on the 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 wildlife sanctuary, for which you can buy entry tickets for sixty rupees per person. Monsoon palace is not much in terms of architectural marvels like city palaces or other forts and palaces. This palace reminds me of Kumbhalgarh’s architecture. After spending near about an hour, watching Udaipur city to take a dip in the orange color of the sunset, we decided to move back.
Our last destination in the City of lakes was Jagmandir, right outside the City Palace road. We decided to be a part of the evening aarti at the temple. Jagmandir was constructed on a platform of marble 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 ideas and carvings on marble. After going through the temple, we decided to spend a 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 the room were 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 heads. When the same was told to reception, they did 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 the next morning. To add to 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 a per-hour charge from your own pocket. Therefore, it is recommended that you reconsider your accommodation before blindly following google ratings. At least for the availability of parking and other ancillary services provided by them. Closeness to the monument should not be the only criterion.