Asia,  India,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Udaipur (India) – India’s most romantic city

The day before our departure from Delhi to Udaipur, it rains ropes, which brings the temperature down to 29 degrees. Too bad it’s not like this all the time

Part 1: Travel Diary

Part 2: Practical Tips

PART 1: Travel Diary

We are very impressed by the security system at Delhi airport which only lets in people with a plane ticket. The control of hand luggage is also very meticulous, all hand luggage is stamped on the luggage tag with the current date. They search everyone, even if they don’t ring the gate (one gate for men, one gate for women). It should also be said that 2 days before, there was an attack near Pakistan.

The flight is very pleasant and the food delicious. JB concludes that you just need good recipes to be a vegetarian because since we arrived here, he has only eaten 50g of meat and he doesn’t miss it at all (I do, I dream of a roast chicken).

Day 1: Jagdish Temple -> at Tarun’s house

In Udaipur, we booked an Airbnb just behind City Palace 3 months ago. This Airbnb belongs to a French compatriot who settled in India and created her own travel agency. Unfortunately she is absent and it is one of her Indian friends who welcomes us. In the end it is perhaps better like that because we enjoy the French comfort at her place (the apartment is decorated in a Pinterest style) and a very rich cultural experience since we dine at his place.

The view from the terrace of the airbnb is breathtaking as you can see the back of City Palace. Here is a preview of our Airbnb in video :

JB doesn’t understand why his Indian SIM card doesn’t work anymore. We go to a store of an Airtel reseller and he “repairs” it for free (too nice), explaining to us that any change of region in India requires roaming activation. So since we bought the card in Delhi, all calls to and from Udaipur will be overcharged.

Very tired from the trip and the heat, we visit today only the Jagdish marble temple next to the airbnb (super beautiful by the way) and a nice and affordable Rajasthan dance show at the Bagore-ki-haveli (which is an old palace and now a museum). We also discover there the art of miniature painting on silk, of extreme precision.

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In the evening, we have dinner at the Indian guide’s house I mentioned above. He is Hindu and speaks very good French. His wife speaks very good English and cooks divinely well (besides she gives Indian cooking lessons). We had the most interesting discussion since our arrival here in India, where I dared to ask questions about castes e.g. can one marry between different castes, do a job that has nothing to do with one’s caste… (the answers to these questions are yes and yes), what does it mean to be Hindu. We ate so well that we ask to come back the next day for dinner.

Day 2: Udaipur -> Ranakpur -> Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel

Visit of Ranakpur today, decided at the last minute and planned at the last minute because I saw the picture of its famous Jain temple on Pinterest 3 months ago (yes it’s my thing, I organize my trips according to the pictures I see on Pinterest) and whose splendor I couldn’t forget.

It is far, it is expensive (it will be necessary to pay a driver) but we finally decide to go there by motivating ourselves both. 2h30 of road later and the empty stomach, we arrive on the spot. JB is annoyed by a whole heap of reasons that they give us to make us pay extras (rent of long pants, video fees, toilets, box to leave his bag, etc.) but as soon as the visit begins that we already forget all these inconveniences.

Ranakpur Temple consists of more than 1400 columns, all different from each other, with 80 domes carved in marble. This is the kind of place whose pictures do not do justice. The temple is so large with so many columns that no angle can capture all the beauty of the place. It deserves its description of “nirvana on earth”. Compared to the beautiful temple visited yesterday, this one far surpasses it in the multitude of columns, domes, statues, and the precision of the carvings. Tarun tells us that if the Taj Mahal did not exist, this temple would have replaced the Taj Mahal.




Surrounded by mountains and greenery, the temple offers resting places where you can hear the birds singing and enjoy a pleasant breeze. We could have stayed there for hours because we feel so good there.

We have lunch in a restaurant on the way back. Nothing to say, it’s delicious!


We visit a family that makes carpets by hand. It will take 20 days for one person to make a 1.5m carpet. The colors are from natural ingredients. We are very far from semi-automatic machines in the silk village near Hanoi (Vietnam).

Back to Udaipur where we enjoy a bit of Indian luxury by paying an astronomical sum for access to the famous James Bond pool in the movie Octopussy (300 rupees/person or… 4 euros). And yes, for 4 euros, we have the right to swim in this magnificent marble pool, just like the guests who certainly paid 300 euros/night. We are alone to enjoy the place, with the squirrels…


We have dinner again at Tarun’s house and teach his children to play UNO. They quickly understand the rules of the game and offer us to play again and again despite the late hour.

Day 3: City Palace -> Jagmandir Island

This third and last day in Udaipur begins with a boat ride from the gardens of the City Palace. It is very pleasant but also very fast. The boat drops us off on Jagmandir Island which is home to a nice 5 star hotel and many elephant sculptures. We take the opportunity to have a cool lunch while waiting for the next boat. The hotel in front of Lake Palace is also beautiful but only the customers can go there.




We then spend 2 hours visiting the City Palace Museum, super nice with lots of balconies, courtyards, collections of paintings, silverware and bodywork … Some walls are painted, the standard pattern seems to be the warrior attacking the enemy on an elephant.


However, the heat is unbearable despite the many fans in the City Palace and we no longer have the courage to visit the Crystal Gallery. We won’t get out of our airbnb anymore, except to go to the Ambrai restaurant on the other side of the lake.

Comfortably installed at the best table of the restaurant with a view of City Palace, we taste with greediness the dishes of this restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet. Right at sunset, hundreds of birds fly in the sky for a good thirty minutes, creating a show of unparalleled romanticism. However, if we look carefully, we realize that there is only one group of birds. The rest are … bats that have taken up residence not far from City Palace and the nearby mountain (arrrrggghhhhh).


One last rickshaw and here we are at Udaipur station, a very small and unpretentious station. A lot of people sleep on the ground, I don’t know if they are waiting for a train or if they are homeless. We find our train very quickly, our names are posted at the entrance of our car, which is very reassuring because we don’t risk taking the wrong train. The train leaves exactly at 10:20 pm and arrives at 6:10 am (25 minutes late) in Jaipur, the pink city.

PART 2: Practical advice for Udaipur

How to get there

From Delhi, we took the plane. The cab costs about 450 rupees to go to Delhi airport. It costs 400 rupees (prepaid cab) to go from Udaipur airport to the city center.


  • Activate roaming if you bought your Indian SIM card in another city. In India, as soon as you change region, you must switch to roaming.
  • Choose a hotel with terrace/rooftof to enjoy the view, ideally a hotel on the other side of the lake (not the City Palace) because it is much quieter and the view is better. We had spotted for you Lake Picola Hotel or Amet Haveli which also has an excellent restaurant (about 400 rupees flat + taxes)
  • Don’t accept a room under the roof, our airbnb was under the roof and even if the decoration is nice, it was 10 degrees more than outside.
  • If you want to take the boat, it is better to do it before 4pm. Indeed, the rates increase from 400 rupees to 650 rupees from 4pm.
  • Rickshaws are much more expensive and more difficult to negotiate than in Delhi. We finally did everything on foot because all the monuments & activities are concentrated in the same area, only 10mn on foot. The streets are narrow but well ventilated, so we can walk without any worries
  • When you buy water in small stores, ask for the bottle of water that is fresh in the fridge, they always have some. And it doesn’t cost more (30 rupees per 1.5L bottle)
  • We recommend the dance show at 7pm at the Bagore-ki-haveli. Cheap (100 rupees) and quality
  • If you want to buy postcards with miniature drawings, buy them at the Bagore-ki-haveli before your dance show, because the artist sells them, so it’s cheaper (10 rupees for a small drawing instead of 50 rupees in souvenir stores)
  • Enjoy the swimming pool at the 5-star Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel, the pool costs only Rs.300/person (taxes included), to be enjoyed until 6pm. We also recommend the hotel bar in front of the pool, which offers a beautiful view of the lake.


  • 35€ per person for Delhi-Udaipur airfare via Air India
  • Airbnb : 1300 rupees/night (17€)
  • Swimming pool: 300 rupees/person (4€)
  • Food: 400 rupees/person/meal (5,3€)
  • Dance show: 100 rupees/person
  • Daily car rental (we paid a little bit but it was with air conditioning) : 2500 rupees
  • Cab airport -> city center : 400 rupees
  • Downtown -> Railway station: normally 50 rupees but they often ask 100 rupees or more
  • Visiting fee Ranakpur + Udaipur: 1300 rupees/person

TOTAL: 18 850 rupees or 250€ for 3 days, 2 persons (plane included)
13 600 rupees or 180€ for 3 days, 2 persons (plane not included)

It is quite possible to reduce these expenses by replacing car rental by bus (65 rupees/person) or choosing another cheaper hotel.


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