With breathtaking view from the lake to walking like royalty in the palaces of Udaipur and ending the day with candle lit dinners, this city gets as romantic as one can imagine. What is more in store for you in this city of lakes is the local Rajasthani cuisine where you can sample the most authentic – laal maas, dal, baati, churma, gatta ki sabzi et al. To make the most of your trip, here is a guide to city’s best attractions that you just cannot miss!
Picture by Karan Dargan
Breakfast At Brewmen Café
While you might be tempted to dig in to the fried and crispy kachoris available in abundance at various mishthan bhandars (commonly referred to a sweet shop) that dot the city, instead save the heavy indulgence for the evening and choose to start your day with light and healthy breakfast at the Brewmen Café. The windows covered with blinders, wooden interiors and chess board made on a few tables gives this café a raw and casual look. One is spoilt for choice looking at the menu as on offer are pancakes, dumplings, burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and muffins. However, the café is famous for its blended coffee and also specialises in healthy vegetable sandwiches made in whole wheat and oat breads. One must try café mocha and death by Brewmen when visiting this café. Located near Sahelion Ki Badi, this café is inexpensive and a hearty breakfast for two will cost you less than Rs.400!
Make your way to the famous City Palace where you can be a spectator to the world’s largest collection of crystals. The crystal gallery in Fateh Prakash Palace displays humongous chandeliers, glasses and furniture that gives you a glimpse of what luxurious life was all about back in the days. Built over a period of 400 years, City Palace depicts a fusion of Mughal and Rajasthani architectural styles. The palace complex is built with granite and marble and exhibits mirror work, wall paintings, murals and silver work in the interiors. Admiring this grandeur stature, it’s difficult to keep a tab on time as one can easily get lost in its beauty which comprises buildings with towers, balconies and museums. Climbing up to the upper terrace of the palace, you will get one of the best views of Lake Pichola.
Lunch At Palki Khana
Before you exit the palace and move to the next destination, make a pit stop at Palki Khana where you can satiate your cravings for delish Indian and Continental cuisine. Palki Khana is situated within the premises of City Palace. It offers both -inside and outside seating options to visitors. One should opt for the seating outside if the climate is not too harsh as you will be able to view the entire façade of the palace. The inside seating of the restaurant is a bit cramped and is suitable only if you wish to have a quiet and private lunch. Palki Khana is a casual café where the interiors comprise nothing too fancy but wooden chairs and tables and a few flower paintings on the wall. The menu offers salads, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, dal, rajma and pastas et al. A meal for two with drinks (the café serves alcohol) will cost Rs. 2500 approximately.
Fateh Sagar Lake
Fateh Sagar Lake is often compared to Mumbai’s ‘chowpaty’ where one can walk alongside the lake, gorge on the street food, mediate, exercise or just sit there to view the most spectacular sunset. The fountain right at the center adds to the lake’s beauty. Other activities near the lake include camel, elephant and chariot rides and boating. Make sure you reach the lake by 4 pm to be able to take a ride on the motor boat with your beloved as boating closes by 5 pm. As the entire area is a vehicle free zone, make the most of it by taking a stroll at the lush green surroundings of the lake while savoring the street food this majestic city has on offer.
Dinner At Ambrai
Located at the waterfront of Lake Pichola, end your day with candle light dinner at Ambrai. Due to the gorgeous location – looking across City Palace and mouth watering dishes, it is impossible to get a table at this restaurant without prior reservations. Make yourself comfortable on the wrought-iron furniture as you sit under the large tree and watch the electrifying view to Lake Palace and Jag Mandir from your dinner table. For the first time you wouldn’t mind the ever so slow service at the restaurant as you wouldn’t want to leave the surreal surroundings. Make sure that you park your vehicle before you make your way in to the dark narrow by lanes that lead you to Ambrai so that you don’t get stuck in traffic. The must haves at the restaurant are laal maas, Mewari khichadi and spicy mutton Rajputana. A meal for two at this restaurant will cost you Rs.1600 approximately.
Breakfast At Café Namaste
Not everyone would look for a French café in a place like Udaipur! But what is unique about this French café is that it serves Indian and a few American breakfast dishes. Head to Chandpole and kick start your day with a healthy breakfast at Café Namaste. As soon as you enter this quaint café, you cannot ignore the stick figures made on the bright red wall and the interiors done in red and yellow. Be sure to get a bright start to the day here. Café Namaste also offers rooftop seating facing the ghats. The café is not frequented by many so one can sit here at ease. While ordering for breakfast, make sure to stick to the basics and try their sandwiches, pancakes, omelets and muffins. A meal for two will cost Rs. 300 approximately.
Your trip to Udaipur would be incomplete if you miss picking souvenirs for your loved ones. While Udaipur is famous for juttis, junk and silver jewelry, bandhani dupattas and lehengas, it is also famous for its wall paintings and wooden carvings. Located 3 kilometers away from Fateh Sagar Lake, Shilpgram is a crafts village that displays the local art and culture of Rajasthan. If you have ever been to Delhi Haat in New Delhi, you would know what Shilpgram is all about. The complex has huts from each state that sell handicrafts, wooden carvings and furniture. Each stall has something unique to offer. The best time to visit Shilpgram is in the evening where there are stalls serving local cuisine and the artisans at the village perform folk dances that will keep you entertained.
Lunch At Garden Restaurant
It would be a sin to leave Udaipur without having tried the local cuisine. Garden Restaurant is inside the Garden Palace and has an old world charm to its ambience. Located right next to the Vintage Car Museum, the restaurant offers a la carte menu as well as buffet thali. While your food gets prepared, you can easily sneak in to the Vintage Car Museum that showcases around 20 to 25 vintage cars including 1924 and 1934 Rolls Royce. The outside seating at the restaurant is beautifully done in white around a tree in the center. On the other hand the inside seating is apt for families where the green and orange curtains are neatly tied and tucked in every corner. This restaurant is famous for its Rajasthani thali that serves small portions of dal, bati, churma, dhokla, sabzi, chapatti, papadum, pickle and ladoo. A meal for two at this restaurant costs Rs.650 approximately.
Named after the nearby Picholi village, Lake Pichola is an artificial fresh water lake located in the heart of the city. The lake is beautifully surrounded by the ghats, temples, palaces and elevated hills on all sides making it the most picturesque lake in Rajasthan. People believe that this lake was constructed by a local gypsy in the 14th century, and was later brought together by Rana Udai Singh who was the ruler of Mewar in the 16th century. Along its coast lie numerous island palaces where one can take an hour long boat ride from City Palace. The pristine blue water of the lake will force you to take the last boat ride in one of the largest lakes of Udaipur. Make sure that you reach the lake right in time to sit back and watch the sunset.
Dinner at 1559 AD
From outside 1559 AD seems to be a residence with the address 1559 AD written in bold on the wall. There won’t be any guards or helpers to welcome you. Instead, you will find a narrow path where on the left is the spacious garden with a few tables and on your right is where you can choose to be seated inside the restaurant. The seating inside is dull where as the seating outside is absolutely stunning with candles lit on each table and a clear view of the moon. 1559 AD specialises in Indian and Chinese cuisine. Must try dishes at this restaurant are laal maas with butter naan, hakka noodles and chili chicken. A meal for two will cost around Rs.1600 approximately.