Rajasthan is one state which always fascinates me. The vibrant culture, magnificent monuments, forts and palaces, glorious history, Royal lifestyle, delicious food, mysterious landscape; Rajasthan is a tourists paradise. When I planned Udaipur few year back this vibrant picture of the state came in my mind. After an overnight journey by train (Chetak express) we arrived at our resort Arravalli Tent Resorts, which we had booked online after a thorough search of hotels. We were glad to see the set up of our resort, a tent house set up amidst greenery. Our hosts were cheerful and friendly couple.
Udaipur is acclaimed as a romantic and heritage city, it is also known as the Venice of the east due to the presence of a number of lakes in and around the city. These lakes were mainly created to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs f the people. After arriving at Udaipur we decided to go for the local sightseeing first. Our hosts arranged a taxi for us, which took us for local sightseeing.
Our driver took us to some local places in Udaipur starting with a garden (I could not remember the name of the garden), it was beautiful though but could have been skipped, but since it was our first place in Udaipur so we excitedly stopped for some photographs.
Next we went to Nehru island park which is situated in the middle of Fateh Sagar lake. One can reach here on boat from the shore. This is a nice place to spend some idyllic time. The garden have water channel, fountains, different species of plants, well maintained architecture . One can also see variety of birds here. You also get beautiful view of the city from here.
After spending good time at park we went on to see Sahelio ki Bari. Our driver told us that the queens used to come here for bathing enjoyment during monsoons. The bari was not in very well maintained condition, but the adjoining garden was nicely maintained. After this we went to Bagore Ki Haveli where we enjoyed a nice puppet show.
In the evening we went to see the famous city palace located in the heart of the city is a place of royal grandeur, situated besides Lake Pichola. . City place was built over a period of 400 years by different rulers of Mewar dynasty started by Maharana Udai Singh II. City place is a beautiful structure and is the largest of its kind in Rajasthan. It was built with the fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. There are several other monuments at its premises like Lake palace, Jagdish temple, Monsoon palace , Neemach mata temple etc. A part of the palace has been converted in heritage hotel.
There are several beautiful places within the palace complex like Suraj Gokhda, Dilkhush Mahal, Krishna Vilas, Sheesh Mahal, Mor-chowk, Surya Chopar, Moti Mahal, etc. I loved Sheesh Mahal and Mor Chowk. Armours and weapons of Maharana Pratap and painting on the walls were also very interesting.
Here one has to pay an entry fee of INR 50 (this was back in 2013) and an amount of about INR 200 for taking digital Camera inside which I felt is a bit too high for any tourist place in India. There are separate charges for hiring a guide.
After taking a good stroll around the city palace we took a cable car from Macha hill to Sri Manshapurna Karni Mata, from the top the view of the entire city surrounded by the Lake was amazing. In the evening we visited Jag Temple and the local market f Udaipur.
Second day we went to visit a world heritage site under “hill forts of Rajasthan”, Fort Kumbhalgarh. This 15th century fort is 64 kms towards north-west of Udaipur in Rajasmand district. The fort is the birth place of great warrior king o Mewar, Maharana Pratap. We drove through beautiful terrain towards the fort which is situated at an altitude of 1180 m. This invincible fort provides a magnificent and panoramic view of the countryside from its top. The fort is surrounded by a thick 15km long wall which is supposed to be the second largest in world.
After the fort of Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second most important fort of Rajasthan. The huge complex of the Fort has numerous palaces, temples and gardens making it more magnificent. Read more about the fort here.
The evening was dedicated to the famous Haldighati. For Haldighat one has to pass through the village of Khamnore, which has the plains of Rakt Talai where the historic battle between the Rajputs and Mughals took place in 1576 in which thousands of soldiers lost their lives.
When we drove through the Haldighati pass our driver told that it was the pass which deterred the elephants of Mughal army from crossing over, hence the battle took place in the plains of Khamnore. The battle was named after this pass. One would actually find turmeric yellow patches on the landscape here. Little ahead of the pass there is a small cave where Maharana Pratap chalked out his plans and Guerrila tactic for the battle. A little ahead is Chetak Memorial, dedicated to the courageous and loyal horse of Maharana Pratap who took his master to safety before taking his last breath.
Finally we arrived at Haldighati museum. We were surprised to know that the museum is not created or funded by the Government but by a person named Mohan Shrimali. The museum recreated the aura of Haldighati, the battle , and valour of Maharana Pratap, Chetak and Queens of that era through paintings, models , statues and an Audio –Visual show. There is a nominal entry fee and some shops and food court at the premises. The whole experience to Haldighati was wonderful and we came back with a pride and honour for our great warriors.
Our last day in Udaipur was dedicated to summer palace. Situated over hill top , the fort was built as a retreat for the royals and also provided an overview of the whole city. One can have a panoramic 360° views all round of both Udaipur city as well as the surrounding hills. One can see both the lakes – Pichola and Fateh Sagar from here. Reaching summer palace through steep roads was itself a wonderful experience.
So this was the end of our amazing trip to Udaipur. I have put down what I could remember from my trip four years back. I feel like visiting Udaipur once more to refresh my memories, which I would certainly do soon.