The Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, features on the list of the most romantic hotels in the world. Staying in the hotel and feeling like royalty was on my bucketlist!
Good time to go…
There is a good time to go when the weather is perfect – October to April. And then there is good time to go when price is the least May – August. During peak season, between November to March, when the maximum temperature is between 18-20 degree Celsius and the minimum does not drop below 10 degrees Celsius, tourists flock the city. Even the two star accommodations cost over USD 150 per night. The palaces and forts bask in the winter Sun and look ever so inviting.
During the summer months of May and June, it is not uncommon for highest temperatures to hover around 40 degrees Celsius. While the water in the lakes does have a cooling effect on the city, summers in Udaipur are extremely hot! There have been instances when water level is really low – the ‘City of Lakes’ losses its charm, just a little. I would not recommend going to Udaipur during peak summer.
The later half of June/early July heralds the rainy season in Udaipur – the season lasts till September. The rain fills up the dried lakes and the hills don a green cover. While the sky is overcast on most days, a spell of rain typically lasts for a 2-3 hours. Maximum temperature is fairly comfortable – typically below 28 degree Celsius.
We chose to enjoy a couple of days in the rain in Udaipur – relive childhood…splash around in puddles of water….make paper boats and watch them float… sip some hot tea while watching the rain drops fall pitter-patter on the lake!
Where to stay… Action or Serenity
Udaipur is called the ‘City of Lakes’. Obviously, there are more than two lakes to warrant the same! The two large lakes in Udaipur are Lake Pichhola and Lake Fatehsagar.
Lake Pichhola is where the action has always been and it still continues to be the heart of activity. The old city with the grand palaces, luxury hotels, smaller havelis, numerous eating joints in the meandering small streets are all around Lake Pichhola. The old city lets you experience the sights and sounds of Udaipur and throws up opportunities to strike conversations with the locals.
Lake Fatehsagar is relatively calmer and away from action. The reflection of the trees in the still water you admire simple things in life and puts your mind at ease. If peace and quiet is on your mind, I would recommend staying here!
Backpacker to luxury…
There are plenty of options to stay in Udaipur to suite every budget. You can stay in a small ‘haveli’ or treat yourself to opulence by staying the luxury hotels like the Taj Lake Palace, the Leela Palace or the Oberoi Udaivilas.
We spent one night in a ‘haveli’ sort of hotel – Hotel Rampratap Palace on the banks of the Fatehsagar Lake. This was a value for money proposition with outstanding views of Lake Fatehsagar. They just need to spend some money in renovating their bathrooms and dining area in order to move up the rankings. I would recommend this place as an up market back packers’ den.
The second day was time to tick the bucketlist – spend a day in the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur! Yipppeeee!!! 30 hours in dream land… in brick and stone… delighted! We requested for an early check in and a late check out, which was gracefully honoured.
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur… Feel like royalty!
In the middle of Lake Pichhola is the Taj Lake Palace – like a white lotus floating on the surface of a pond. Not only is the property palatial, it is experience that makes you feel like a prince/princess! The marble floors, the arches of the courtyard, the frescos on the walls …..I wish I could live that life forever. The James Bond movie Octopussy was shot here – a glamorous setting for the glamorous Mr. Bond.
Here is why I would highly recommend spending a night at the property:
Set sail: You are picked up from the jetty by a boat – sail over the enchanting Lake Pichhola as you get closer to the property. This boat takes you to/from the jetty each time to you want to visit the city – complimentary
Truly welcomed: As you step into the property, you are welcomed under the royal umbrella as rose petals are showered overhead ….what a royal welcome!
Ahhhh… you wish: The staff treat you like a king/queen – whatever you ask for, an effort is made to meet your expectations
Set your feet tapping: There is a complimentary folk dance session in the evening – I truly admire the dancer’s skills!
Food… delicious food: Delight for the vegetarians and the non-vegetarians! Authentic local, North Indian, Thai, Italian …anything and everything made in the restaurant kitchen is outstanding. I was so full by the end of every meal that I would want to skip dessert. However, the hosts in the restaurant would always insist on ending the meal with something sweet and ensure that I get a small portion of dessert – complimentary.
Movie time: Want to spend time with Mr. Bond? The hotel will send the DVD to your room, along with some soda and popcorn.
Plenty to see… lots to do…
While staying in the Taj Lake Palace was our only motive to visit Udaipur, here are the top three things of our choice in Udaipur, besides admiring the property, splashing in the pool and eating delectable food:
Evening trip to Jagmandir: A short boat ride from the Taj Lake Palace, the Jag Madir is a slightly bigger ‘island’ than the Taj Lake Palace. There isn’t much to do here, except a restaurant which is open for dinner. Good place to click pictures of the Taj Lake Palace and City Palace. We walked around the place, but decided to skip dinner as we preferred the Taj property.
City Palace: Great palace complex, which will need at least three hours to explore. Suggest taking the audio guide at the entrance
Dinner at Apani Dhani: Delicious vegetarian cuisine! Any local ‘auto rickshaw’ driver will take you there, wait for you to finish your meal and get you back to your hotel. The hosts treat you like family guests and serve you with love…and a lot of spices! They also like to see how you look when you wear the traditional head dress.
Udaipur and around
Ranakpur temples and Kumbhalgarh Fort interesting and recommended sites around Udaipur, which we did not visit. We will surely visit then during our next visit.
As always…send me an e-mail if you need any further details. Glad to help!
Let the travellers’ tribe grow!