Rajasthan, India: Udaipur – The White City

Some parts of the article as seen on my write-up for Masala Thai Magazine

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A city encompassing four lakes, and one that gives Lake Bled in Slovenia a run for its money, is the Asian equivalent Lake Pichola in Udaipur. Dubbed Venice of the East, Udaipur may be one of the most romantic settings in Rajasthan, and perhaps even in India. Stunning view from the cities can be observed as the Aravalli Hills stretch out of Udaipur in every direction. Littered with palaces, temples, havelis and crooked colorful streets, this White City will spoil you rotten.

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Udaipur’s romance is wearing thin, as hotels get taller while trying to compete for the best views, and as restaurants exploit tourism and serve up near-identical menus. However, this does not take away from the white city’s vibrant, cultural, relaxed feel. Take a step back, and you’ll find much of Udaipur’s magic still intact. Whether you choose to join a sunrise or sunset yoga and meditation class, or take a tranquil boat ride through Lake Pichola, or test your artistic skills by taking a silk painting class, this city is perfect for doing some soul searching.

If you are able to cough up the money for it, I recommend spending some nights at Udai Villas or Leela Hotel. They are both on the pricier side, but will give you the ultimate royal experience, channeling through your inner Maharajas and Maharanis. Lake Palace is the entire small island situated in the middle of Lake Pichola. Trust me when I say, it does not get more romantic and luxury than that. If you want to book a table here, make sure you are either staying at the hotel itself, or at an equivalent 5-star caliber hotel that can arrange a booking for you.

Helpful Hint: Some hotel restaurants of Udaipur fall in the elitist category, so make sure to check with the restaurants and hotels prior to arriving there.

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I ended up staying at Udai Kothi, and absolutely loved it. A complete bang for your buck, and would recommend it to absolutely anyone. Udai Kothi sure knew how to make me feel like a Maharani, especially with my room having a separated library, a dresser, a living room equipped with a PS4, and a large stone bathtub. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my India trip.

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As Lake Pichola was quite crowded during the evenings, we deicded to venture off on our side of the river instead of cross the walking bridge over to find a restaurant on the other side. After walking to the end of the street, towards Lake Palace, we found ourselves in a narrow alleyway beside Amit Haveli. This alleyway leads directly to a secret location opening up into a small courtyard right at the lake. It seemed that only a few locals were clued in about this place, as it was absolutely tranquil, and provided the best sunset view across the lake, in addition to the best sun-kissed view of the white city buildings. We stumbled upon the non-touristic hidden treasure by chance, and we were thrilled! It was an evening well spent with some gin and tonics by the lake. We knew we had an exhausting day of travel from Udaipur to Jodhpur ahead of us, so this was a rewarding way to end the day.

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Unfortunately I only ended up booking a 2 night and 2 day stay here. I would definitely have preferred to stay in Udaipur for at least 3 nights and maybe spend a little less time in Jodhpur. The easy-going relaxed life in the white city compared to the rest of the Indian cities was simply enthralling.

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