Fall in love in Udaipur

This “Jewel of Mewar” boasts of picturesque locations and mighty scenic surroundings set at the base of the Aravali mountain range. Writes Daisy Basumatary

Glorious sunsets, royal palaces and shimmering lakes, Udaipur is unarguably the most romantic destination in India. Rightly called the Venice of the East, the city is an experience to the connoisseurs of the finer things in life. This “Jewel of Mewar” boasts of picturesque locations and mighty scenic surroundings set at the base of the Aravali mountain range.

I have covered almost all the other Rajasthan attractions; however Udaipur is unmatched capturing India in its most quintessentially romantic form. Spectacular architecture, enthralling ghats and enchanting lakes, this is a destination that is appropriately fit for a royal vacation.

Arriving in the morning by an Indigo flight from Delhi, I and my friend Linda were all thrilled to discover this magical city. It was the Diwali weekend and we were expecting some stunning sights. We checked into the hotel, relaxed for a bit & got our energy fixed and went out exploring. Being the foodie that we are, we started our discovery with lunch at Raaj Bagh. With a fantastic location on the banks of Fateh Sagar lake, it is a tented garden restaurant with canopy shaded tables and displays of statues and vintage cars. We opted for the traditional Rajasthani dishes and my love for Laal Maas only grew stronger after a delightful spicy meal here.

It was time to take a tour of the City Palace, a majestic illustration of the splendor of the Mewars enjoyed centuries ago. Located on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola, it is considered to be the largest royal complex of Rajasthan built more than 400 years back. The palace is haven for art and history buffs with its fusion of Rajasthani, European, Chinese and Mughal architecture. Parts of the palace complex have been converted into luxury heritage hotels retaining the previous royal architecture. These hotels Fateh Prakash Palace, Shiv Nivas Palace and Amar Vilas are the ultimate dreams of luxury aficionados. Another visual spectacle awaited us here in the evening. The Mewar light and sound show takes you an experience of the rich and grandeur of the Rajasthan history and is definitely not to be missed.

Right on time for the sunset, we took the boat ride on Lake Pichola. The pristine blue water looks ethereal with the most gorgeous sunset we experienced. Cruising along the magnificently golden colored (sun rays effects) City Palace, the ride takes us to Jagmandir Island, one of the many islands that adorn the lake. The island houses a palace converted into a hotel with restaurant, bar and spa open to visitors. Beautifully lit up in the evening, it is one of the most romantic settings I have been to. Getting ourselves one of the tables lined across the edges of the island, it was an unforgettable evening of beers, food and the sound of the tides. Back from the ride on time for dinner, we could not resist stepping into Sunset Terrace, an alfresco restaurant at Fateh Prakash Palace. Overlooking Lake Pichola this bar is perfect for a sunset gin and tonic.

The next day is a thrilling one. We booked for the sunrise bicycle tour with Let’s Trip. Starting from Kalarohi at 6 am, the ride allowed us a unique experience of the rural and urban Udaipur. In around a three hour tour, we rode through the city and villages passing through Tiger Lake where the Let’s Trip team organized a lovely little picnic for us by the lake covered by forest on all sides. After the breakfast, we rode downhill for about 4 kms to finish the tour. Afternoon was spent shopping & exploring Hathi pol market and Gangaur Ghat. Our final evening in Udaipur was about a gorgeous dinner at Amber, an exquisitely beautiful lake side restaurant at Ambrai Ghat. Mexican food with repeated glasses of Sangria complemented with a breezy candle light setting just on the edge of the water swept us off completely.

Early morning we set off for Osian, the picturesque desert town on the Jodhpur – Jaisalmer highway. After a 6 hours’ drive, we checked in to Osian Sand Dunes Resort Camp designed like an old desert fortress. The luxurious swiss tents here with all amenities and services give one of the best experiences to spend time in the midst of the desert. A camel safari in the evening leading to the Thar desert followed by Rajasthani folk music under the stars lets us soak in the mesmerizing Rajasthani culture. Dinner here, which was a choice of delightful and spicy Rajasthani dishes, is to die for. Osian is just an hour away from Jodhpur. Marking my second visit to the blue city of Jodhpur the next afternoon, it was time to get back to Delhi bringing with us memories of a truly exquisite holiday.