Udaipur is a city that is used to tourists from all over and is therefore, a very tourist-friendly city. It was a city that felt safe and woman-friendly as well. This was also the only city in Rajasthan where I was not asked “Which country I was from?” In fact, once they got to know I was from Mumbai, I got bombarded with questions about my city and what life was like there. And surprisingly nobody asked me about film stars or films.
Travel fatigue had set in by the time I arrived in Udaipur and while I enjoyed my stay very much, I was glad to be returning home as well. I wonder if my Udaipur experience would have been different if it had been the first place I visited in Rajasthan, instead of the last.
Udaipur was established in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh as the new capital of Mewar as Chittorgarh, the previous capital, was deemed too vulnerable due to repeated attacks by the Mughals. The next 400 years saw Udaipur fighting for independence from the Mughals, repelling their attacks, signing peace treaties with them, facing attacks from the Marathas, alternately supporting the British or rebelling against them; and finally agreeing to join other Rajput kingdoms in forming the state of Rajasthan after Independence.
The 400 years also saw the city developing into one of India’s prettiest cities with artificial lakes, royal palaces for every season and weather, mansions, gardens, and what not. Having visited it now, I can understand why many foreigners consider this city as a wedding destination. Surrounded by hills on all sides, plenty of lakes, palaces on hire, and a salubrious climate, this is a just about as perfect a location as one can get. Add to this the allure of royals and local Rajput history, and you have the perfect exotic quotient that appeals to many.
I spent a couple of days exploring Udaipur, wandering in the alleyways of its old city, touring the famous City Palace on the banks of the Lake Pichola, visiting memorials and gardens, stuffing myself with sweets, picking souvenirs and bandhini dupattas, going on boat rides… Presenting some images from my wanderings in Udaipur.