Udaipur has been described as one of the most romantic cities in India. The sites certainly have a romantic ambience, especially when you dine at one of the many rooftop restaurants after sunset. But romance was merely a bonus for us as we focused on taking in the Rajasthani culture.
Day One: We started our first day in Udaipur walking to the Hindu Temple in the center of the city.
We were astounded by the carvings that covered the building.
I especially liked these elephants.
Then we headed to the City Palace – which is actually a very large complex.
Here, we got a sense of the grandeur of the Rajput kingdoms. As the audio tour told us, the Rajputs were larger than life. The carrier pigeon room and elephant fight wall assured us of that.
The elephant wall is still there, but this photo better captures its spirit. There were also several tiger transport cages not pictured here.
Day Two: We decided to go on a day trip to the Kumbhalgarh Fort and the Ranakpur Jain Temple – both about an hour outside of Udaipur. The Kumbhalgarh Fort includes the second longest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China.
Inside the wall, we visited several temples and the palace, all abandoned.
The palace at the top of the hill was particularly spooky – with no staging furniture, yet painting still on the walls. This base board depicts elephants behaving badly.
Here you can see the wall stretch on…but it goes much further than we can see. We could have spent a whole day here – apparently if you follow the wall it takes you to the jungle.
Then we headed to Ranakpur, a town with a particularly spectacular Jain temple.
The entire building is craved out of white marble, creating a peaceful and awe-inspiring effect.
There are 1,444 unique pillars in this temple.
And many beautiful carvings.
The day trip to Kumblahgarh and Ranakpur was surprisingly cheap – only 2000 rupees (US$30) for a private car all day. The two sites are about 2hours from Udaipur. Our driver also took us to a scenic, reasonably priced restaurant for lunch. It was all set up by our hotel, Mewargarh Palace.
Not pictured here, we also attended a Rajasthani dance performance at Bagore Ki Haveli. Although meant for tourists, the venue is unique and the dancers were very talented. We had dinner at one of the Havelis – which had a beautiful rooftop view of the lake and the palaces. Although our time was short in Udaipur, we were able to do a lot in this small, culture-rich city.