Jess Flint

Bet you didn’t know that Udaipur was nicknamed ‘The Venice of the East’ OR that it was a romantic location! Industry pro, Jess Flint, discovered what makes the Indian city such an intimate spot during a recent quick visit.

What is it about water? A river, lake or sea instantly adds romance and beauty to any city. It might be the golden lights twinkling on its surface, or the sense of calm it seems to exude, whatever it is, Udaipur’s got it.

Located in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, Udaipur is lovingly referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’. It is a favourite escape for international and domestic tourists alike and it’s not hard to see why.

karryon-india-jess-flint-2

We enter Udaipur by crossing the small picturesque Daiji Bridge, and by the time we have reached the other side, the chaos to be found in many parts of India has left us behind. Looking out over the lake, I know that we have found a tranquil oasis amongst the sometimes overwhelming and intense experience that is India. This feeling continues throughout our two-day visit, as we spend time either on the lake or admiring it from one of the many restaurants nestling its banks.

Any romantic getaway requires an amours abode and Udaipur offers something for everyone, from a palace worthy of a Bond film to budget backpackers and everything in between. For those who want to live like a maharaja, you can’t go past the seriously romantic Taj Lake Palace.

karryon-taj-lake-palace-jess-flint

You can’t go past the seriously romantic Taj Lake Palace

Built in the middle of Lake Pichola in 1746 as the pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II, the Taj is one of the most recognisable residences in the world has appeared in the 1983 Bond film ‘Octopussy’. Only reachable by boat, it offers guests luxurious rooms, a world-class spa and four restaurants to choose from – truly an experience fit for a king. Unfortunately, facilities are exclusively for guests so the only way to check it out is to check on in.

For those of us whose hotel doesn’t require a private boat, there are still plenty of options to get out on the water. We set sail on a one-hour sunset cruise leaving from Lal Ghat at 5 PM. While a beautiful time of day to glide across the lake, the sunset certainly wasn’t the only sight worth seeing, with stunning views of the majestic City Palace, bathers enjoying an after work dip at Gangaur Ghat and the famous Taj Lake Palace.

karryon-sunset-cruise-jess-flint

We set sail on a one-hour sunset cruise leaving from Lal Ghat.

A delightful dining experience in Udaipur means picking somewhere that not only pleases the palate but also provides a great view to feast your eyes on. Proving its popularity, even in the low season when we visited, our first choice was the Ambrai Restaurant at Amet Haveli, on the banks of Lake Pichola, was fully booked.

Upré by 1559AD offered a great alternative, with stunning views of the lake from above, with the option to dine in a cabana and enjoy live traditional music. While the service could have been improved, our meal of Rajasthani specialties was tasty, and the menu offered a wide range of Indian and International options. Other restaurants with great views include Hari Garh Restaurant, Rainbow Restaurant and Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery.

karryon-dance-show-jess-flint

We enjoyed a traditional Rajasthani dance show.

While it may be tempting to spend all your time gazing at the wondrous waterway, one of the most enjoyable experiences we had in Udaipur, and actually one of our favourite in the whole of India, was the traditional Rajasthani dance show at the Bagore Ki Haveli Museum.

Entering the 18th-century Havali felt like stepping back in time and its terrace provided the perfect setting for the show. The stunning colours of the performer’s costumes, the eye-popping prop of fire and live traditional music, combine for a cultural extravaganza that had a smile on my face from start to finish. For only ₹150 (less than $3), this one hour show from 7 to 8 PM every evening is not to be missed!

Whether you want to indulge your taste buds, explore history and culture with a visit to the City Palace or simply relax and soak up the romance of this picturesque city, Udaipur offers visitors the perfect place to unwind and recharge before heading back out into the charismatic chaos of incredible India.

 

READ: How to ditch plastic bottles on your next holiday

READ: The good, bad & ugly of travelling with a surfer

READ: 6 easy steps to help you quit your job & travel

Have you visited Udaipur before?