After 2 days in Mount Abu, as part of our Rajasthan Trip, we travelled by road to Udaipur – the city famous for its lakes.
Our Day 3 at Mount Abu started lazily with no hurry as buses ply to Udaipur every hour. Things hastened a bit when we realized we are late for the 12 pm bus. Eventually we were on war footing when we saw we may miss the 1:30 pm bus as well! Roadways in Rajasthan is excellent. Vehicles ply at high speed without any hitch. With limited rail connectivity, roadways are preferred medium of transportation for many. Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) meets the expectation wonderfully with on-time and pocket-friendly service. The distance of 27 kms to Abu Road and then 150 kms to Udaipur was covered in 3.5 hrs. Terrains in Rajasthan varies between desert, forest and hilly, offering some wonderful sights.
It is advisable to make at least one trip between cities on road to experience this diversity.
Udaipur, popularly known as the City of Lakes, is one of the major cities of Rajasthan. It is served by both Ola and Uber. It was the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar, founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II when he shifted his capital from Chittorgarh after defeat to Akbar. Udaipur enjoys a distinct pleasant weather, unseen in rest of Rajasthan. This is due to its proximity to Gujarat border and being surrounded by Aravali Range, which separates it from Thar Desert. The erstwhile capital was protected by a wall and 7 gates (known as ‘Pole’ here). The area within is currently called the Old City, while the modern city thrives outside the walls. The Old City has narrow lanes and old buildings, but are very close to the main historically important monuments and ghats (on Lake Pichola).
The lake system of Udaipur are interconnected and are the main source of water for the city.
In Udaipur, as in Jodhpur, we put up in the old city. To me the Old City has a hypnotic charm. Since it was already evening by the time reach our hotel on Day 1 in Udaipur, we decided to have walking tour of the Old City. Our hotel being on bank of Lake Pichola, the beautiful Gangaur Ghat was right beside our hotel. Bagore ki Haveli is also beside the ghat, but assuming it will take time to explore we postponed it till Day 2. Lake Pichola (open 24 hrs, no ticket) is an artificial fresh water lake named after the nearby Picholi village. The lake has four islands which all holds palaces, some of which have been converted into hotels. The City Palace of Udaipur has been built on the bank of this lake. Gangaur Ghat (open 24 hrs, no ticket unless you decide to enter Bagore ki Haveli) is a major bathing ghat of Lake Pichola. The view from the ghat is beautiful with open lake on one side and the arched Chandpole Bridge (public bridge, no ticket) on the other.
Moreover the procession of local Gangaur festival culminates in this ghat with the immersion of the idols of Gan (or Shiva) and Gaur (or Gauri). From that the ghat we went to the City Palace of Udaipur, but it was closed. So we came back to Jagadish Temple (open 5am – 10 pm, no ticket), which is one of the major monument and temple of Udaipur. The Hindu temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1651 and is in continuous worship since then.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, affectionately called Jagadish by locals.
The evening arati is very elaborate with locals participating in large numbers. After the evening arati, we called it a day and retired in our hotel.