Udaipur is often referred to as the white city and as the Venice of the East. It is also home to Jaisamand Lake, the largest artificial lake in Asia and was the setting of many movies, like Octupussy, a well known James Bond film. It is a laid-back, romantic city and has some nice palaces that you can visit. For us it was heaven on earth after busy, crowded and noisy Jodhpur.
We arranged a busticket at our hotel in Jodhpur for 300 rupees per person. Got up around 6 am and flagged down a tuktuk who brought for a special morning price of 120 rupees to our busstop in 15 minutes. Our bus left at 7.15 am and arrived 7 hours later in Udaipur. It drops you a little bit outside Udaipur, that is why for the last 4 kilometers we took again a tuktuk, this time for 250 rupees to our hotel.
We’ve said it before, and we will probably say it many more times: the rooftops in India are amazing! And if you want to eat at the highest rooftop in Udaipur, with a great view overlooking the city, Madri Haveli is the place to go to. This is both a boutique hotel as a really good restaurant. They have different levels and of course we sat on the highest one. Not only did we enjoy the delicious food, and the friendly staff, but it is so pleasant to just sit there and watch people (and monkeys) doing their daily stuff. It is incredible to see how close all these houses are next to each other and how beautiful all the rooftops are.
Hotel Sarovar can be found at Lake Pichola and is a great place to unwind. Some of the rooms offer a great lakeview and when sitting on the rooftop terrace overlooking the lake and seeing the palace in a distance, you hear the traffic noises from far away, but it is pretty quiet because on the nearest bridge there are no motorized vehicles allowed. The location of the hotel is perfect. It is a peaceful and quiet alley and it has lots of great souvenir shops nearby. From there it is a easy walk into the city by a footbridge.
The food at the rooftop restaurant is really good for a fair price. They have a lot of dishes, both Western as Indian and it is a great place to sit down in the evening with some music and candles on, drinking a beer. We spent one night like this with the owner of the hotel and we love nights like this. You get to know more about how it is to live in India.
** You can find them on booking.com
We spent our days in Udaipur not really doing that much. We loved how nice and quiet it was at our hotel and spent a lot of hours on the rooftop terrace enjoying the sun and the view. We got some work done, did some reading, relaxed a bit and (sorry) laughed at all the people in their orange lifejackets doing boat tours at the lake. Of course we did a little bit of sightseeing ourselves, but this time we did not enter any Fort or Palace. Even though India is relatively cheap, we are surprised (and a little bit annoyed) by the high entrance fees they are asking to foreigners. Yes the buildings are impressive and big and we do realize it takes time and money to keep them clean and restored, but we are not sure if asking the foreigners 10 times more than the locals is a good answer to that. Or are we just cheapskates? And after seeing a few Forts and palaces, they all start to look the same so we don't feel we really missed out on anything.
So instead of spending our money on entrance fees, we just wandered through the streets of Udaipur, enjoyed the views from the rooftops and the relaxed vibe. Compared to Jodhpur it is really clean and quiet here, and that was just what we needed. We did visit the Jagdish Mandir temple which has some interesting details and is free to enter.