India’s Romantic Lake City, Udaipur
A look at India’s most romantic lake city: Udaipur
Said to be the most romantic city in Rajasthan – if not India, Udaipur has won the hearts of many, including mine. With a poetic setting around the shores of Lake Picchola, backdropped by gentle rolling hills, it’s easy to see why. But if you’ve come expecting to find Paris of the East, don’t be stumped to find the usual chaotic traffic, ubiquitous cow dung and commercialized lakeside development. Look beyond that and you’ll see Udaipur’s charm. This is easily one of the best places to visit in India, with historical palaces, lakeside haveli and hundred-year-old artisan workshops to give you a good feel for the artistic side of ancient India.
Udaipur Lakeside Palace
From our humble guesthouse, I could drink in a view of the calm Lake Picchola and white-washed havelis (extravagant mansions) floating upon it. Amidst the pile of pastel-colored buildings, the City Palace stacks high up to surface through the rooftops. Lattice-balconies and intricately-carved windows adorn the exterior of the grand palace, while sparkling mosaic tiles and stain glass liven up its interior.
The palace’s most striking features are the turrets and cupolas that crown the main building. Look above and you’ll be find yourself overshadowed by these intricately-carved patios that jut out of the edifice’s structure. Maharajas, the Indian royal kings, used to stand out on these patios to address the public.
The palace’s interior are extremely striking in color, as compared to its yellow sand stone facade. Mural paintings and carvings are washed in bright blue or red, while arch-shaped windows are wedged with stained glass.
Jagdish Hindu Temple
Another attractive work of architecture is the Jagdish Temple that stands proud and tall right in the center of Udaipur. Despite its all-grey facade, the well-preserved carvings of Vishnu are rather impressive. Head up to the rooftop of a nearby hotel and you’ll find this view of the temple (pictured below) and the surrounding hills.
Colorful Rajasthani Artwork
Rajasthan is home to India’s most elaborate artwork. Many of the country’s best painters and artists call Rajasthan home. From hand-carved animal sculptures to larger-than-life puppets, a myriad of artwork can be found in Udaipur. If you’re looking for souvenirs to bring home, this would be a great place to stock up.
Udaipur is best known for miniature painting, a style of painting favored by the Maharajas (royal kings). Along the streets of Udaipur, it’s easy to spot massive paintings depicting battles and emperors with the City Palace as the backdrop. Hindu mythology is also often painted, with Ganesh being the most painted character. Curious about the ancient art form, we did a painting course at Ashoka Art School, learning the tricks of miniature painting.
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