Situated in India’s desert state of Rajasthan, Udaipur is a bit of a paradox of sorts, as it is a place known for its lakes, as well as for the beautiful palaces built around them. The combination of the natural and manmade beauty led location scouts to pick the Udaipur City Palace as a stunning backdrop during key scenes in the James Bond film “Octopussy”, which was shot back in the 1980’s.
Indeed, due to the stunning lakes present here, one of Udaipur’s nicknames bills it as the “Venice of the East”, so those that cherish the marriage of water, mountains and age old buildings will find it tempting to linger here for longer than most.
Additionally, the culture of this region is in full effect in Udaipur, with colourful dances and cultural shows readily available to those seeking a taste of what makes this place tick. As you will see, its complex, intricate beauty will draw you in and keep you searching for more!
The top-line mainstream attraction that even the fastest traveler should not miss when in this part of India is the Udaipur City Palace, a photographer’s delight that has caused countless wanderers to fall under its spell over the years. This included filmmakers, who chose this seductive location to shoot part of the movie “Octopussy” back in the early 1980’s.
This attraction is actually a complex of multiple smaller palaces, gardens and museums, set 30 metres above spectacular Lake Pichola (which contains the most stunning sight of all in this area, the Lake Palace). Featuring a blend of architectural styles crafted exclusively in granite and marble, the extraordinary look will keep you captivated for most of the day, and if you’re really into beautiful structures, one day won’t be enough to appreciate the magnificence of this complex.
Another cultural landmark that should be on your agenda when in Udaipur is the Jagdish Temple. Located a mere 150 metres away from the City Palace, it fits in well for those seeking to see all the significant cultural attractions within a short period of time. One of the best known religious sites in the city, this hall of worship is dedicated to the Hindu figure Lord Vishnu. The details of his life are carved and painted into the walls and tower of the temple, granting an insight into the life and times of a central figure of India’s leading faith.
Ahar Museum is another worthwhile place to visit in the Udaipur area, as it commemorates the final resting place of numerous royals that used to rule over this region. 250 cenotaphs are present here in this place, the most remarkable of them being that of Amar Singh. Rare pottery and Buddha statues are also present here, further compounding this place’s appeal.
Those seeking a touch of natural beauty after getting ground down by the unrelenting urbanity of India’s cities will want to spend some quality time at Fateh Sagar Lake, which is a lake that was constructed by the Maharana in the late 17th century. Located north of Lake Pichola, it contains three islands that house parks with impressive water features, a solar observatory, and local festivals in season (such as the Green New Moon Fair, which is held in August or September).
Photographers looking for a stunning combination of colours, everyday life in motion, and the hectic busyness that gives Indian cities their gritty appeal should check the Udaipur Vegetable Market. Primarily consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, this market will keep the shutters clicking at a furious pace, and its close proximity of the spice market will give a second location for the foodie photographer to continue capturing shots that will get tummies across the world rumbling.
Finally, those seeking a window into the regional culture of Udaipur would do well to take in a dance and/or puppet show. In the old city of Udaipur near Gangaur Ghat, a show goes on nightly at about 7pm that involves many rare Rajasthani folk dances that are struggling to hold on against the ravages of the modern era, and in the Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum, puppets dressed in colourful garments and brilliant jewelry will entertain young and old alike with their amusing performances. Both performances should be sought out for those who hold the performing arts in high regard.