Traveler

Sunset colours in vibrant Udaipur

Traveler
Travel Udaipur Lake Palace Rajasthan
.

View photo

The Lake Palace in Udaipur

By Vishal B Joshi

While on a self-imposed hiatus, I sat sipping coffee near the window of my hotel room overlooking Lake Pichola and had a postcard-perfect view of the famous City Palace. The lake was possessed of a mesmerizing charm and looked stunning in the early morning light. The surrounding temples, ghats and hotels made it look more dramatic.

I was in Udaipur  – the city chosen as the best in the world in a poll by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2009, where history, culture, architecture and style intersect in an unparalleled environment, and home to people from the Rajput clan whose favorite pastimes are horse-riding and polo.

We reached Udaipur from Pushkar. While travelling in Rajasthan, you can visualize the beauty of everyday village life. Young and gentle women wearing colorful clothing and living in incredibly small houses still manage a serene smile on their lips – something incredible in itself. It was as if I was transported to a never-seen-before India.

Udaipur town is different, though. Crowds and sudden traffic jams were evident the moment we got there. Afternoons are warmer even when the climate is supposedly at its best in winter. But the setting sun grabs your heart with a fierce intensity and that is when the true Udaipur emerges. The historical forts and hotels look stunning in the fading evening light.

Most hotels are havelis and the walls of the hotel rooms and corridors are adorned with photographs of royal lineage. You can drink and have a candlelight dinner on the rooftops of these hotels while the surroundings can make any event memorable.

Udaipur is an ideal location to spend a couple of days without getting bored and the places can be explored by foot. The City Palace is an opulent spectacle and a feast for any camera. You can spend an entire morning in the museum drooling at the artifacts used by the erstwhile rulers of Rajasthan. The vintage car collection at Hotel Garden near the City Palace has Chevrolets, Fords, Mercedes et al and is a treat for discerning connoisseurs.

Culturally significant landmarks like the Nathdwara temple, the Jagdish temple and the Eklingji temple make Udaipur irresistible. People who have an eye for architectural grandeur can also visit the Kumbhalgarh Fort, the birthplace of the Rajput hero Maha Rana Pratap. A few kilometers away from Kumbhalgarh is the famous Haldighati arena where the Mughal emperor Akbar defeated Rana Pratap, who fled the scene and lived in oblivion but refused to accept the lordship of the Mughals, which made him the hero that he is today.

The aeons-old Ranakpur Jain temple is exquisitely carved. An authentic lunch at the Jain dharamshala would make you think that the chefs here are the best in the world.

If you have mastered the art of bargaining, you are at the right place for shopping. The moment you enter any shop, the owner and his assistants make you sit comfortably before starting to show hundreds of varieties of carpets, bedsheets, kurtas, pants, and many other materials of rich tapestry. You can also shop for exquisite antiques, postcards, jewelry and more. A word of caution – the place can burn a hole in your pocket.

One striking feature of this place is that the local people treat travelers with utmost respect and make them feel special. This desert city has many more surprises in store. It is a must for the owners of a cluttered mind. You’ll return home entirely enamoured.

Vishal Joshi is a full-time banker and a part-time writer. Read more at his blog

View Comments (10)

Recommended for You

  • If You Had Purchased $100 of Apple in 2002 (AAPL)

    Learn about Apple's stock performance and how a $100 investment in Apple back in 2002 would have grown by thousands of dollars by 2016.

    Investopedia
  • States where the middle class is dying

    Middle class incomes in Rhode Island declined the most in the country from 2010 through 2014.

    USA TODAY
  • Exclusive: Boeing nears decision to self-fund more F/A-18 fighters

    Boeing Co is nearing a decision to invest "a significant amount" to keep a F/A-18E/F fighter jet production line in St. Louis running as it waits for the U.S. government to approve a delayed order by Kuwait for 28 jets, a senior executive said. Dan Gillian, who runs Boeing's F/A-18E/F and EA-18G…

    Reuters
  • Here's what's happened to the companies Martin Shkreli used to run

    Martin Shkreli might still be in the public eye thanks to his tweets requesting exclusive rights...

    Business Insider
  • Play

    Cramer: Spotting a bottom after a long decline

    Jim Cramer teaches investors how to use charts to determine the best bottom and ceiling points for a stock. It could mean major opportunity missed!

    CNBC
  • Why Intel Might Lose Google and What It Means for All Involved

    Google (GOOGL) may be moving from Intel (INTC) to Qualcomm (QCOM). Here's what you need to know.

    TheStreet.com
  • Transocean Fleet Update: New Contracts Amid Less Activity

    Transocean Ltd. has provided its fleet status report for the period from Oct 26, 2015.

    Zacks
  • Trump, Kasich Get a Bump in Latest South Carolina Poll

    If the Republican establishment wants to slow Donald Trump’s momentum, it has its work cut out for it in South Carolina. The first poll there since Trump’s dominant performance in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary on Monday shows that he has extended his lead in the Palmetto State…

    The Fiscal Times
  • Mark Cuban sparks 'berserk' bets on gold

    When it comes to gold, traders including billionaire investor Mark Cuban are turning to the options market.

    CNBC
  • How Many Americans Have Bad Credit?

    While 30% of Americans have poor or bad credit, plenty of people have no credit at all, which has similar disadvantages to having low scores.

    Credit.com
  • When 65-year-olds grapple with student loan debt

    The explosion in student debt isn’t just a problem for young people.

    MarketWatch
  • Is This Why Bernie Sanders Is Going Easy on Hillary?

    Remember in the debate Thursday night, when Bernie Sanders torched Hillary Clinton over being caught up in yet another federal investigation? “Ladies and gentlemen, as we stand here today, we’re just learned that the Department of State has subpoenaed records from the Clinton Foundation as part of…

    The Fiscal Times
  • Play

    Michael Fallon: Russia Must Stop Strikes in Syria Now

    February 12 -- U.K. Defence Minister Michael Fallon calls on Russia to stop airstrikes in Syria immediately. “If they want to see a cease fire and bring this war to an end, then they’ve got to stop airstrikes on the civilian population,” Fallon told Bloomberg’s Manus Cranny on “Countdown.” “Russia…

    Bloomberg Video
  • A Market Collapse Is On The Horizon

    In analyzing the intricacies of the modern energy market it appears that we are heading towards a collapse and the end of the debt supercycle

    Oilprice.com
  • Saudi Arabia Is Winning Its War Against The U.S. Oil Industry

    A bit over a year ago, Saudi Arabia declared war on the U.S. oil industry. This week brought new signs that the Saudis might at last be winning. Some quick background: Saudi Arabia has long played the role of the “swing producer” in the oil market, meaning that they tried to stabilize prices by…

    FiveThirtyEight
  • 7 tax tips to avoid an IRS audit

    An audit is unlikely, but here's how to decrease your odds of catching the IRS' attention.

    USA TODAY
  • 7 Energy Stocks to Buy Before Oil Prices Rebound

    Despite a recent rally to $32 per barrel, oil prices are still nearly $5 below where they stood at the end of 2015. Although the price of oil could dip into the low $20s, it isn't likely to stay there for long. Exxon, the supertanker of energy stocks, earns money from both oil-and-gas production…

    Kiplinger