Alluring Udaipur

Exploring Udaipur with little ones can be adventurous and thrilling, writes Jisha Krishnan, after a visit to the ‘City of Lakes’

Lake Pichola

One traveller’s heaven can be another’s hell. While the splendid palaces and imposing forts of Udaipur are revered by travellers across the globe, imagine exploring those colossal ‘tourist attractions of Rajasthan’ in the company of your little one. How long before the kid throws a tantrum? It could be the heat, the fatigue, the ennui…
No, fellow parents, don’t strike off Udaipur from your list of must-visit destinations. As I learnt on my recent visit to the ‘City of Lakes’ with my six-year-old, the place has quite a few fun things in store. Here are some of the cool places you can explore with kids:

Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Enroute to the Monsoon Palace (also known as Sajjangarh), there’s a well-maintained and
vibrant wildlife sanctuary, home to a wonderful variety of flora and fauna, including
hyenas, panthers, jackals, crocodiles, alligators, deer, lion, tiger, and the like.

Take an-hour-long buggy ride around the erstwhile royal shooting preserve, set amidst the scenic beauty of the Aravalli Hills.

On your way out, don’t forget to indulge in some local kulfis!

Under the Sun Aquarium

Located near the Fateh Sagar Lake, the relatively new aquarium has an interesting mix of popular species of fishes imported from across the globe. Lung Fish, Angel Fish, Tiger
Barb, Cat Fish, Silver Arwana, Freshwater Scampi, Alligator Gar… the list is rather impressive! And then, there’s also the Virtual Reality counter that offers you a rare experience of walking in the ocean, together with the myriad aquatic beings.

Lake Pichola

Celebrated as the Venice of the East, Udaipur is built around four lakes — with Lake Pichola being the most popular. The best way to travel around the striking place is to take a sunset boat cruise. There’s something about that time of the day that makes the four islands and surrounding structures (including the posh Taj Lake Palace) look even more breathtaking!

Karni Mata Mandir

Don’t roll your eyes. While the Karni Mata temple, located on the Machla Magra Hills, is popular in its own right, what makes the place a must-visit for kids is the mode of transport. A (not-so-bumpy) ropeway ride. Get an aerial view of the ‘White City’ and a thrilling experience to remember long after you bid adieu to Udaipur!

Saheliyon ki Bari
Saheliyon ki Bari

 

Saheliyon ki Bari

In a city bursting with lakes, palaces, forts and gardens, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. In case you have time to visit just one garden, make it to the Courtyard of Maidens, or Saheliyon ki Bari, as the local name goes. Lush green lawns and marble fountains adorn the sprawling place — a perfect retreat for a tiring afternoon.

Shilpgram

To get a peek into the rich culture and famed craft of Rajasthan, head to Shilpgram. You’ll meet a wide range of artisans — many Limca Book Record holders — not just selling
their wares, but also willing to share nuggets about the handicrafts, textiles and sculptures of the region.

Don’t miss out on the live folk dance performances. There are camel rides on offer too!

City Palace

If you plan to visit just one palace in Udaipur, it has to be the City Palace. Constructed on the banks of Lake Pichola, Rajasthan’s largest palace is a visual delight, strewn with
striking domes, lovely courtyards and unending corridors that effortlessly blend European architecture with a fusion of Mughal, Rajput and Chinese styles. You can easily spend half a day admiring the antique furniture and royal paintings at the massive structure. The palace was first built by Maharana Udai Singh II, the city’s founder, in the 16th century.

Kumbhalgarh Fort
Kumbhalgarh Fort

Above & beyond

If you have the luxury of time, spend a day or two exploring the city through dedicated heritage walks. The sound and light show at the Kumbhalgarh Fort is a moving experience, while the Vintage and Classic Car Collection Museum takes you back in time to the grand Rolls Royce and Cadillacs of the Maharanas. Udaipur’s biggest drawback is that it’s located in Rajasthan. There is a natural tendency to club it with other destinations, like Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. However, Udaipur by itself is worth a good three-four day trip. The kids will love it!

 

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