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Welcome to the land of the Rajputs!

Last updated on: December 11, 2014 18:20 IST

Udaipur should be on your places to visit in 2015 says Rediff reader Ansh M after a recent visit to the city.

Where would you suggest your fellow readers should go in 2015? Recommend a travel destination! Post a photograph of it along with a brief description here -- #Travel-2015 -- and we will carry the best responses on Rediff.com!

Photograph: Ben Beiske/Creative Commons

Sundariyon ne jahan desh hit jauhar vrat karna seekha,
Swatantrata ke liye jahaan bachcho ne bhi marna seekha

The couplet from renowned Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar aptly describes the history of Mewar.

Maharana Pratap, Rani Padmini and Panna Dhai are some of the legendary names that have not lost their glory and are still revered in this city of Mewar -- Udaipur.

The city is modern, clean, safe and at the same time holds on to its medieval culture and identity.

The airport is impressive and well connected to Delhi and Mumbai via daily flights.

Right outside the airport there is a life-size statue of Maharana Pratap straddled atop his equally famous steed, Chetak.

Welcome to the land of the Rajputs of Mewar, it seems to announce!

 

The essence of a new place cannot be experienced by staying at a five star property.

Hence, try and skip the many high end properties like the Taj Lake Palace, Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Leela, Jag Mandir etc.

Instead stay in the heart of the city next to the City Palace, overlooking the serene lake.

There is an abundance of boutique hotels that offer the same view with terrific service and facilities.

Amongst these, the most popular seemed to be the Jaiwana Haveli with approximately 24 double rooms spread over four floors.

The city of Udaipur. Photograph: Arish G/Wikimedia Creative Commons

The terrace restaurant had breathtaking views of the City Palace, the Lake and the Lake Palace and Jag Mandir.

The service was exceptional and had a personal touch and the City Palace is walking distance from the hotel.

A three-day holiday is sufficient to cover the historical sites, shop and experience Udaipur.

The distances are not large and you can either hire a taxi for the day for Rs. 1500 or bargain with one of the Auto rickshaw walas to take you around the main attractions.

You can settle for 400-600 for 4-5 hours.

The must see attractions are definitely the City Palace, which if you are a history buff, can take you all day to cover.

The city palace complex houses the museum, two hotels, shopping arcade including an Anokhi store, a promenade, boat rides on the lake and a rope way.

The best attraction is however the sound and light show which happens every evening for an hour and which covers almost the entire history of Mewar and the lineage of its rulers.

After the sound-and-light show, which ends at 8 pm, I would highly recommend you book a table at the Sunset Terrace restaurant, which is part of the Fateh Singh Hotel and overlooks the lake.

The Fateh Sagar Lake Photograph: Harshad Sharma/Creative Commons

The second day's itinerary can include a trip to the man made Fateh Sagar Lake, the Maharana Pratap Smarak, the Sajjangarh fort or the Monsoon Palace and the Shilpgram.

Personally, I preferred the Rana Pratap Smarak, which is also known as Moti Magri (Pearl Hill).

The story goes that Moti was the name of the son of Panna dai whom she had placed in place of Udai Singh II to protect him from getting killed and thus sacrificed her own son.

Hence the place is also dedicated to Moti Chandan, the son of Panna Dhai.

There is a life-size statue of Rana Pratap and Chetak commemorating the Battle of Haldighati.

From here you can head uphill to Sajjangarh fort, which is also known as the Monsoon Palace.

The climb is steep and the road narrow.

Do not try driving up yourself and leave it to the hands of the experienced taxi drivers.

Statue of Maharana Pratap of Mewar at the City Palace garden in Udaipur, commemorating the Battle of Haldighati. Photograph: Ankur P/Wikimedia Creative Commons

James Bond fans would be able to recognise the Palace, having seen it in the film Octopussy.

This is for the generation before Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan.

The view is fantastic.

You have the complete view of the city on one side and on the other the Aravalli range.

The best time of the day for the view is around sunset.

Just be mindful of the monkeys and the crowds rushing back after sun down.

There are a few other sites that are mentioned in most tourist brochures but are avoidable like the Saheliyon Ki Bari.

It is nothing more than a small pond with fountains and a small lawn and definitely not worth a ticket and a trip though you can stop over to grab a bite at this mini Chowpatty-like setup near Saheliyon Ki Bari.

It is like a massive outdoor restaurant being serviced by multiple and diverse eateries.

Here you can choose from Paani puri and chat to idli, dosa to pizza and pasta.

A visit to Rajasthan is incomplete without getting your hands messed up in some ghee dipped dal bati.

And the best place to do that at is the Nataraj Hotel.

The dining hall on the first floor serves Rajasthani and Gujrati thalis only.

The floor above that is the restaurant with an Ala Carte menu including the sumptuous Daal Baati.

If you're up for a paan, head to Bansi paanwala. At Rs 15, his meetha paan is one of the best I have had.

Unless you're good at bargaining and a true blue shopaholics, give Hathi Pol a pass and instead head to Rajasthali, a state government emporium located near Chetak Circle.

It has a wide range of saris, kurtas, bedsheets, jewellery and gift articles and some very efficient salesmen.

Udaipur is a quaint little city that offers the best of R&R and leisure.

It is not too hard on the purse and is most definitely a must visit destination in India.

The moon rises on Lake Pichola. Photograph: Tommy/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Where would you suggest your fellow readers should go in 2015? Recommend a travel destination! Post a photograph of it along with a brief description here -- #Travel-2015 -- and we will carry the best responses on Rediff.com!

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