It’s no secret that I love India. I mean, I really love India. If I had to choose just one country to move to tomorrow, I’d be booked on that Air India flight faster than you can say gajar ka halwa without looking back for a second.
Despite having spent most of my time in India in God’s Own Country aka Kerala, my favourite part of India is actually Rajasthan. Although I only spent 2 days in Udaipur, 5 days in Jaipur and a manic day of rushing around trying to source a Rabipur injection in Ajmer, I fell head over heels with the state.
Rajasthan is everything I’d always imagined India to be, but which Mumbai, Agra, Kerala and Goa just didn’t serve up. It’s colourful, it’s dusty, it’s bloody hot and the food is out of this world!
Udaipur is a particularly enchanting little city, and definitely worth adding to your Rajasthan itinerary! Even if you only have 2 days in Udaipur, there’s so much to see and do there that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Disclaimer: This post features a mix of my own photography and stock images, simply because I can’t remember where I stored most of my Rajasthan photos. Dropbox? iCloud? External drive? Who knows?!
2 Day Udaipur itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1: Udaipur City Palace Museum – boat ride on Lake Pichola – Jag Mandir – Jagdish Temple – Saheliyon-ki-Bari – Bagore-ki-Haveli
- Day 2: Ahar Cenotaphs – Eklingji Temple – Monsoon Palace for sunset
- Alternative Day 2: Take a day trip to Kumbhalgarh Fort but make sure to be back in time for the unmissable sunset at Monsoon Palace
Best Places to Visit in Udaipur in 2 Days
As with most cities in India, you could spend an entire lifetime in Udaipur and still be surprised when you find some hidden gem you haven’t come across before. It’s for this reason that planning a trip in India can be so overwhelming! To help make the most of your trip, these are the 10 best places to visit in Udaipur in 2 days.
Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes because it’s surrounded by a total of 7 stunning lakes, with 5 of them contained in the city itself. Although one of the smallest lakes in the area, Lake Pichola is certainly the most well-known and frequently visited. Its strategic positioning means that most of the main places to visit in Udaipur are located around the lake itself, making your 2 day trip to Udaipur all the easier!
Udaipur’s other notable lakes: Fateh Sagar Lake, Jaisamand Lake, Rajsamand Lake, Udai Sagar Lake
Udaipur City Palace Complex
No matter how short your trip to Udaipur is, make sure you squeeze in a visit to the Udaipur City Palace. I always find myself marvelling at Indian architecture, and the palace was no exception! It took almost 400 years to build this masterpiece, and just one look at the intricacies will tell you why. Not all of Udaipur City Palace is open to the public, but the main part of it doubles up as a museum, and for ₹300 you can enter (as a foreigner, Indians are cheaper) and explore to your heart’s content! I can’t tell you if the museum is worth the price as I was too busy panicking over my monkey bite to go in, but just a walk around the open part of the grounds is enjoyable enough. For the best view of the entire City Palace, take a boat out into the middle of Lake Pichola and look back. It’s incredible.
Opening times: Every day 9:30am-5:30pm. Sometimes the palace is rented out in its entirety for a function, so it’s worth checking the night before.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be staying at the luxurious Jagmandir Palace Island Hotel, the only way to get to Jag Mandir is as part of a boat trip on Lake Pichola (more on that later!), but a visit to this serene little island in the middle of the lake is a must for your 2 day trip to Udaipur!
One of the main Udaipur attractions (especially for Indians), Jagdish Temple is a Hindu place of worship located right outside the City Palace Complex. The largest temple in all of Udaipur, and dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Jagdish Temple has been in continuous worship since its original inception in 1651. Visitors are welcome but photography is prohibited inside the temple, although the outside is fair game. Unless Udaipur was your first stop in India, the chances are by the time you get here you’ll be all templed out – but do visit Jagdish Temple if you get the chance. It’s an incredible piece of architecture and to visit around prayer time is an experience worth having.
Opening times: Every day approx. 4:30am-10:30pm. It’s worth remembering this is a place of worship so timings could change in line with festivals and other holy days.
Perched atop a hill overlooking Udaipur, take one look at this palatial structure and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to Europe with all its lavish castles and palaces. This is the run-down but still stunning Monsoon Palace, formerly known as Sajjan Garh Palace, and is the best place to visit in Udaipur if you’re after stunning views! The palace itself doesn’t offer much, but trust me when I say the views are worth the 80 Rs. entry fee – especially if you go there in time for sunset.
Opening times: Every day from 9:30am-7pm
So this is the one thing I didn’t do in Udaipur that I really wish I had! Bagore ki Haveli is an old-time haveli-turned-museum which gives you a unique insight into how life in Udaipur was ‘way back when’. During the day you can enter and enjoy the quirky collection of bits and bobs including my favourite explanation on Trip Advisor, “a creepy doll room”, and at night the Haveli puts on a wonderful cultural dance performance for you to enjoy. Apparently tickets to the night show sell out and you should queue from before 6pm to guarantee a spot (show kicks off at 7pm).
Entry fee: For the museum, Rs. 100 for a foreigner. For the dance show, Rs. 150 for a foreigner and another Rs. 150 for a camera.
On the banks of Udaipur’s second most impressive lake, Fateh Sagar, the Saliheyon-ki-Bari gardens are a surprisingly green addition to an otherwise extremely arid part of India. One of the most romantic places to visit in Udaipur, Saliheyon ki Bari translates to “Courtyard of the maidens”, and was built in the 18th century by Maharana Sangram Singh as a gift for the royal ladies. Although it definitely shouldn’t be on top of your list of things to do in Udaipur, it’s nice place to take an afternoon stroll. In the mornings the gardens also prove a popular place for yoga, so I suppose if that’s your thing you could bring your mat down and do all that stretchy stuff that my body is certainly not designed for.
One of the more unusual places to visit in Udaipur, the Ahar Cenotaphs are where the rulers of Mewar were cremated. There are a total of 250 cenotaphs and 19 chhatris (those elevated, dome-shaped pavilions you can see rising above the rest) to commemorate the 19 maharajas who were cremated at the cenotaphs. Situated in Ahar, the cenotaphs are technically not in Udaipur, but a short 2-3km tuktuk or taxi ride outside of the city. I get that final resting places aren’t everyone’s ideal holiday activity, but much like the Royal Gaitor Tombs in Jaipur, the Ahar Cenotaphs have this peaceful aura about them. If you’re looking for some unique places to visit in Udaipur off the beaten track, definitely check out Ahar Cenotaphs.
Opening times: Saturday-Thursday (closed on Fridays) 10:30am-4pm
As with the Ahar Cenotaphs, Eklingji Temple isn’t exactly in Udaipur. It’s around 22km outside of the city, and takes about an hour to get there but oh my, is it worth the visit! An important pilgrimage site in Rajasthan, Eklingji Temple Complex contains 108 magnificent marble temples, the main one being the two-storied Shiva Temple, which houses the four-faced idol of Lord Shiva. If possible, it’s best to visit Eklingji Temple during aarti to get experience the temple come to life. You can check this website for aarti and darshan timings. If you’re not keen on going out of your way to visit Eklingji Temple during your two days in Udaipur, it’s an easy detour on your way from Jaipur.
Now, it wouldn’t be a trip to India without a visit to a centuries-old fort, would it?! Kumbhalgarh Fort was “officially” built in the 1500s, but some believe that the fort dates back as early as the 6th Century A.D! As of 2013, Kumbhalgarh Fort combined with the rest of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only is Kumbhalgarh one of the most impressive and impregnable forts in all of India but it’s also the second longest wall in the world (after the Great Wall of China, of course), giving it that added little je nais se quoi that will make you want to add it to your bucket list right now. This is a bit of a cheeky addition to the list as with it being 85km away it’s, uh, not really anywhere near the city, but the sheer size and grandeur of Kumbhalgarh Fort makes it one of the best day trips from Udaipur.
Entry fee: 200 Rs. for a foreigner, 15 Rs. for Indian citizens and SAARC country members
Things to do in Udaipur
Take a boat ride on Lake Pichola
I’ve seen a lot written online about how taking a boat ride on Lake Pichola isn’t worth the Rs. 200 fee. I disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed my ride across the lake from City Palace Complex to Jag Mandir, where we stayed for an hour before heading back. Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes for a reason, so to visit and not enjoy at least one of its lakes up close and personal would be foolish. The ride offers unique views of the City Palace Complex and Udaipur’s ghats, and is a great way to spend a few hours! The best time to take a boat tour on Lake Pichola is first thing in the morning or late afternoon/evening, so as to avoid the hella hot Indian sun. If you go in the evening you’ll also be able to catch the sun setting over the lake, which is a pretty phenomenal sight!
Watch Octopussy on repeat
Whenever India has a claim to fame they will cling on to it and run for dear life! And Octopussy is no exception. This James Bond movie was set in Udaipur, and you could probably say that the Udaipur tourism industry are hella proud of that! The film is played on repeat (seriously, it never stops) in quite a few cafes, restaurants and hotels in Udaipur so if you fancy chilling with a film one night then why not, eh?
Take an art or meditation class
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Udaipur is that there are advertisements for classes EVERYWHERE! With Rajasthan being very much on the tourist trail I completely understand that they would want to capitalise on all the tourists who flock there and suddenly realise their long-forgotten desire to learn how to paint the animal that adorns their baggy trousers (elephant pants!). However, this inevitably means that there are a lot of classes popping up that are run by instructors who would have trouble drawing a head on a stick figure. As long as you do your research and find a good, reputable instructor, taking an art class would be a unique thing to do in Udaipur. Classes tend to be priced hourly, starting from as cheap as 100 Rs. There are also a lot of meditation and yoga classes available in Udaipur. You’ll probably have better luck not being scammed for these, as India is kind of renowned for the stuff.
I have it on good authority that Rajasthan is the place to buy fabrics when in India. And by fabrics we’re not talking about a 5m roll of washed out linen you can get in IKEA to make your own curtains, but the kind of fabric that turn Indian women into MMA fighters during a sari sale. There are tons of stalls, shops and vendors hidden among the narrow streets of Udaipur selling everything from hand woven baskets to hand sewn saris. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, the vibrant colours alone make it worth an hour browsing or two. Udaipur is by all means not the cheapest place to buy things in Rajasthan, but it’s still an absolute steal compared to Western prices!
Enjoy the sunset from a rooftop restaurant
Udaipur has many, many rooftop restaurants for you to enjoy, and honestly? Unless you pick one of the mega expensive ones, they’re mostly the same. They’re so similar, in fact, that I went to 2 different restaurants each night I was there but was convinced that it was the same place! I had a 15 minute friendly argument with the waiter about whether he’d served me the night before until eventually he went to the restaurant a few doors down to bring me the waiter and prove they were different places. On the firstnight I had a mutter paneer curry and the next night I had aloo something but I swear, they were the same dish! Same waiters, same decor, same everything. Whether or not the food blows you out of the water, enjoying the views over the city as the sun sets is pretty special.
Suggested Udaipur activities
Do you have even longer than 2 days in Udaipur? Check out some of these activities:
- Enjoy an evening of Mewar culture and dance followed by dinner
- Learn to cook traditional Rajasthani cuisine with a local family
- Take a day trip from Udaipur to explore Asia’s largest fort
- See Udaipur through a local’s eye with a private city tour
Getting in and around Udaipur
Situated in the southernmost part of Rajasthan, very close to the Gujarat-Rajasthan border, Udaipur is well connected to the rest of India by rail, road and air. The nearest airport is Maharana Pratap Airport, 22km east of the city.
You can check Skyscanner for all the cheapest flights in and out of Udaipur. I flew from Cochin to Jaipur, then travelled overland from Jaipur to Udaipur and back to Cochin with a stop in Mumbai for 2 days for less than £80 in total. A right bargain.
If you want to check bus and rail routes, timings and prices in advance, some of the most commonly used booking websites used in India are Make My Trip, ClearTrip and GoIbibo. Long distance buses and trains tend to sell out in advance and are few and far between, but shorter distance journeys (e.g. Jaipur to Udaipur) are incredibly frequent and don’t always require pre-booking. You can just show up at the relevant bus or train station and try your luck buying a ticket on the day. If you’re unfamiliar with the way India works, you’d be better off trying to book in advance online. The official website for train tickets is IRCTC but you can also book through any of the aforementioned sites
You can get an auto rickshaw to Lake Pichola (most hostels and hotels are located around Lake Pichola) from outside the bus stand (I call it a stand but it was just a random stop by the side of a road with some cows and a man selling popcorn) as well as the train station. It’s worth bearing in mind that you may need to pay the “Foreigner Tax” especially if you arrive late at night. Auto rickshaws in Udaipur aren’t metered so make sure to agree on a price before getting in!
Most of the main tourist sites in Udaipur are concentrated around Lake Pichola and are within easy walking distance of each other so there’s no need to use public transport. If you wanted to visit some of the sites more further afield, you can rent a driver for the day (either taxi or auto rickshaw) either by just asking on the street or asking your hotel/hostel to arrange one for you.
Where to stay in Udaipur
India is still catching up with the whole hostel craze, but the best (and safest!) Indian hostel chain has finally opened up in Udaipur over the last few years. Zostel Udaipur is one of the most beautifully decorated hostels you will come across in all of India, and what makes it even better is that it’s budget-friendly! You can choose to either live like a king in one of the gorgeous private twin and double rooms overlooking the lake, or save some dosh with a dorm bunk. Oh, and did I mention the hostel has a pug?!
Those with a more mid-range budget should check out Jagat Niwas Palace or Madri Haveli. Both are similarly priced and offer the same in terms of comfort, style and a real Indian experience. For something a little
And finally, if you really want to live like a king (or queen) then Udaipur has an absolute ton of incredible luxury accommodations for you to choose from! If I were to win the lottery tomorrow, I’d be torn between a stay at The Oberoi Udaivilas and The Leela Palace. Then of course there’s also the lavish Taj Lake Palace. So many incredible options of places to stay in Udaipur, it’s a shame I can barely afford a bag of carrots right now!
There’s a lot more packed into this itinerary than you may have expected, and you’re probably sat there thinking “Is it even possible to fit all this into just two days in Udaipur?!” Well I can tell you that yes, it is possible. With a little bit of advanced planning, organisation and a teeny tiny bit of luck that India doesn’t spontaneously decide to shut everything down for the day, by following the itinerary outlined at the top of this post you’re guaranteed an incredible albeit jam-packed 2 days in Udaipur!
Which tourist places in Udaipur are you most excited to see? Let me know in the comments!
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