So far on our travels, Udaipur rates as one of our favorite cities in Rajasthan. It’s a must-visit destination which has a magical setting. Our easy-to-read list highlights some of the best places to visit in Udaipur and ideas of things to do. It also provides some background information about this beautiful city and its lakes.
Udaipur is worth visiting because it is a scenic lakeside city with a relaxed, vibrant atmosphere. Udaipur also has historic buildings like City Palace and Jag Mandir which floats on Lake Pichola. Udaipur or Venice of the East is also one of the most romantic places to visit in India.
Perhaps you’ve been inspired by the Real Marigold Hotel, or you are researching Udaipur as part of your India travel plans. To make the most of your visit to this special city, follow our ideas and tailor-make your one day in Udaipur.
Is Udaipur Worth Visiting? 7 Things to Do In Udapur
We recommend that you spend at least one day in Udaipur. It’s a unique city with a beautiful setting on the water and stunning backdrop of the Aravalli mountain range. The bustling old city of Udaipur has plenty of places to stay which edge the scenic Lake Pichola. There are also enough things to do and see in Udaipur to fill one day and more if time permits.
1. Visit Udaipur’s Scenic Lakes
Did you know that Udaipur is called the City of Lakes and Venice of the East? Udaipur got these names from the nearby network of interconnected artificial freshwater lakes. In fact, there are 5 main lakes in and around Udaipur:
- Lake Pichola
- Fateh Sagar Lake
- Jaisamand Lake
- Rajsamand Lake
- Udaisagar Lake
If you visit Udaipur, you will quickly become very familiar with Lake Pichola. This is because part of the old city is built around this lake. However, why not include a trip to one or more of the other scenic lakes listed below?
Each lake offers something different and enables locals and visitors alike to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. So, if you are looking for what to do in Udaipur and are looking to escape popular Udaipur tourist attractions, a day trip to the lakes may be just the thing!
Stunning Lake Pichola will be one of the first lakes most visitors will see when visiting Udaipur. This lake is the oldest and one of the largest lakes in the south-west part of the city of Udaipur.
Lake Pichola was built in 1362 by Pichhu Banjara during the rule of Maharana Lakha. It measures about 4 km long, 3 km wide and reaches a maximum depth of 10.5 m.
The historical City Palace is perched above this picturesque lake and the old city runs along its banks.
In the middle of Lake Pichola are two islands: Jag Mandir (see 3 below) and Jag Niwas.
Jag Mandir (or Lake Garden Palace) was built as a summer pleasure resort for the Royal Family and Jag Niwas is now home to the Taj Lake Palace luxury hotel.
For a touch of luxury during your visit to Udaipur, why not treat yourself to a stay in the fabulous Taj Lake Palace which floats in the middle of Lake Pichola?
For alternative accommodation in Udaipur check Booking.com
We stayed in a hotel under the walls of the City Palace on the banks of Lake Pichola. It was so beautiful to look out over the lake and enjoy the sunset in the evenings. One of our favorite memories is having a romantic meal perched above the lake.
Fateh Sagar Lake
Fateh Sagar Lake is found to the north of Lake Pichola and north-west of Udaipur. Originally, constructed by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678, the lake was named after Maharana Fateh Singh who improved it further. This lake is 2.4 km long, 1.6 km wide and approximately 11.5 m deep.
The Fateh Sagar Lake is connected to Lake Pichola via a canal and features several Udaipur points of interest. Three islands are found on the lake which can be reached by boat and visited by the public:
- Island 1 – Nehru Park which is one of the most visited gardens in Rajasthan.
- Island 2 – a public park with water-jet fountains.
- Island 3 – Udaipur Solar Observatory.
Perfectly located near the Fateh Sagar Lake is the Under the Sun Aquarium. This is the biggest public aquarium gallery in India. This state-of-the-art aquarium features high-tech virtual reality experiences.
At 93 km², Jaisamand Lake (or Dhebar) is reputed to be the second largest artificial lake in the whole of Asia.
The lake measures 14 km in breadth with a circumference of 48 km and a maximum depth of 31 m. This lake was built by constructing a dam on the Gomati River and was built by Maharana Jai Singh in 1685,
If you are looking for places to visit near Udaipur, Jaisamand Lake is situated 48 km from the city and is overlooked by the Moti Magri Hill (Pearl Hill). Various palaces are perched on the hills around the lake.
Other places near Udaipur to visit include Rajsamand Lake which is a popular lake 66 km north of Udaipur.
The lake was built by Maharana Raj Singh in 1660 and is located between Rajnagar and Kankroli. It stretches to 2.82 km in width and is 6.4 km long and 18 m deep. This lake was also created by the dam across the Gomati River.
On the southern end of the lake is a marble terrace with stone steps to the lake used for alms-giving by the Maharana.
Udaisagar Lake is situated 13 km east of Udaipur and was built by Maharana Udai Singh in 1565 after a dam was constructed across the Berach River in 1559 to supply water to his kingdom. This lake is 4 km in length, 2.5 km wide and reaches a depth of 9 m.
Other lakes in the Udaipur area include Dudh/Doodh Talai, Jiyan Sagar (Badi Ka Talab) and Swaroop Sagar (Kumharia Talab).
Apart from enjoying the peaceful lakes, there are plenty of other historical places to explore in Udaipur.
2. Experience the Splendour of City Palace
Today, the historical City Palace is the main residence of Arvind Singh Mewar, the 76th custodian of the House of Mewar.
City Palace is Rajasthan’s largest palace and gracefully sits on the banks of Lake Pichola. It offers beautiful examples of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, rooms and gardens. Each time you enter a different room in the palace, you will be amazed by the craftsmanship and beauty of the times.
The City Palace Udaipur entry fee is 300 Indian Rupees for adults over 18 and 100 Indian Rupees for children over 5.
3. Take a Boat Trip to Jag Mandir
Whilst you are visiting City Palace, don’t miss out on a boat ride to the magical Jag Mandir. This is an island on Lake Pichola that was built as a summer pleasure resort for the Royal Family.
The island can be reached by boat from Rameshwar Ghat within the City Palace complex. The first part of the journey is a short tour of Lake Pichola.
Once you reach Jag Mandir, you can disembark and walk around the gardens. There is also a restaurant, bar and spa on Jag Mandir. Look out for the elephant lined view across the lake towards City Palace.
4. Explore the Imposing Jagdish Temple
Jagdish Temple is an imposing Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur near to City Palace. It was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
This is an amazing 3-floor structure with 32 marble steps to the main shrine.
5. Enjoy the Tranquility of Saheliyon-Ki-Bari (Garden of Maidens)
Saheliyon-Ki-Bari are attractive gardens located in the northern part of the city on the banks of the Fateh Sagar Lake. Originally, they were built by Maharana Sangram Singh II as a lush garden for the Royal Ladies.
We enjoyed spending time walking around this tranquil setting. Within the gardens, beautiful marble elephant fountains shoot water into pretty lotus pools.
6. Eat Like a Local at Sukhadia Circle
Sukhadia Circle is an intersection in Udaipur’s northern suburb, but it is also a popular recreational centre with food stalls crammed around it.
Sukhadia Circle features a large pond with a 21 ft high 3-tiered marble fountain and is a popular place to walk and eat during the evening. This is great location if you are looking for places to visit in Udaipur at night.
7. Get a Great Bird’s Eye View of Udaipur from the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh)
Sajjan Garh was built in the 19th century by Maharana Sajjan Singh on top of the Bansdara hills about 9 km west of Udaipur by road.
Originally, this palace served as an astronomical center. Later, it became a monsoon palace and hunting lodge.
Although the Monsoon Palace is one of the more neglected tourist places near Udaipur, it offers great bird’s eye views of the city, particularly at sunset.
Activities in Udaipur
You can visit a lot of Udaipur on your own but if you prefer to have organised activities in Udaipur you can opt for one of the trips below. If you want to optimize your time in Udaipur and make sure you see all the highlights in one day in Udaipur, then this tour is definitely the best choice for you.
Undoubtedly, the best day trip from Udaipur is to visit the Ranakpur Jain Temple. We went to visit this temple and, for us, it was the best temple we saw in the whole of Rajasthan and a rewarding experience.
A lot of tourists miss this unbelievable place because it isn’t easily accessible. You need to have a car to reach this place.
The beauty of Ranakpur Jain Temple is exceptional, check our pictures below.
If you want to see the Ranakpur Jain Temple for yourself without any stress, we recommend this value-for-money tour that includes an English speaking guide, transportation from Udaipur, complimentary lunch and entrance fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Udaipur?
Udaipur is a city found in the southern part of Rajasthan in India close to the border of Gujarat. It is situated almost midway between Delhi (665 km) and Mumbai (800 km).
Lying in the fertile green valley of Girwa, the city is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain range which separates it from Thar Desert.
📍 Map Here
What does Udaipur mean?
Literally translated, Udaipur means ‘a craftsmen’s village’. The city is still well-known for its handicrafts and the annual festival in Shilpgram takes place in December each year.
Aside from its literal meaning, Udaipur is also commonly known as the City of Lakes and as Venice of the East. As a result, many people believe Udaipur is one of the most romantic places in India. We totally agree!
What is the History of Udaipur?
Udaipur city was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh II when it became the new capital of the Mewar region. This change resulted from the former capital of Chittorgarh being taken under siege by Akbar.
To protect Udaipur from attack, the Maharana built a 6 km long city wall with 7 gates. Today’s old city and many of Udaipur’s famous places (notably City Palace/Udaipur Fort and the Jagdish Temple) are still found within these walls and gates.
The artificial lakes were needed by Udaipur because of the scarcity of water in this location. Ruling Hindu leaders built the lakes to guarantee a regular water supply to the people and to fulfill irrigation needs.
Udaipur’s lakes are interconnected through a clever channel system and dams which is an early example of harvesting and managing rainwater. Water supply comes from the Berach River and its tributaries.
Since Udaipur lies in the Girwa valley, water runs off the Aravalli hills and drains into the Ahar River (a tributary of the Berach River) which flows to the north-east of the city. Since each of the lakes are interconnected, the overflow from one run lake runs into the next and the water balances itself.
Today, these lakes are popular must visit places in Udaipur to relax for a few hours and take part in recreational activities.
How to get to Udaipur
Visiting Udaipur is easy as the city is well served by air, by road and by train.
Local and regional flights to Udaipur Maharana Pratap Airport which is 22 km east of Udaipur. Click here for cheap flights to Udaipur.
Udaipur is well-served by an extensive network of bus services to suit different budgets.
Udaipur Railway Station connects with major Indian towns and cities.
Click here for Rajasthan full guide
Click here if you want tips about backpacking Rajasthan