Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa
In this Udaipur travel guide, I’ll take you through 14 best things to do in Udaipur Old city for first time solo travelers to Udaipur.
Travel friends would always say they loved Udaipur, The Venice of India. I thought it was just hype. Until I traveled there…
it’s taken me a while to get myself to Udaipur. Now that I look back on why I’ve held out for so long, I realize that I just didn’t want to acknowledge that hype about a city can be real.
Udaipur, romantically known as the “City of Lakes” is located in Rajasthan. It is known for its historical significance and Rajput royalty, ornate palaces and architectural beauty. Driving into Udaipur from Jawai Bandh, the city is surrounded by the Aravalli Range, a series of beautiful lush and vibrantly green rolling hills. That was my first welcome to Udaipur and it set a different tone from other more arid Rajasthani cities I’ve been . Instantly, I was relaxed and calm. The city is also situated around several lakes, it has a rich heritage and unlike cities like Delhi, Mumbai or Goa, it’s one of those cities that has preserved its heritage and traditional practices.
Check out my Rajasthan trip 8-day itinerary
Table of Contents: Udaipur Travel Guide: 18 Wanderlust things to do in Udaipur for a 3 day itinerary
- 1 Udaipur City Guide: 15 Wanderlust Things to Do in Udaipur’s Old City
- 1.1 Day 1
- 1.1.1 1. Jagdish Temple
- 1.1.2 2. City Palace
- 1.1.3 3. Boat Ride on Lake Pichola
- 1.1.4 4.Jag Mandir or Lake Island Palace
- 1.1.5 5. Bagore Ki Haveli: Cultural Extravaganza in Heritage Walls
- 1.1.6 6. Ropeway to Lake Pichola View: Aerial Spectacle
- 1.1.7 7. Karni Mata Temple: Serenity on Machla Magra Hills
- 1.1.8 8. Lok Dharohar cultural performance
- 1.2 Day 2
- 1.3 Solo Travel Resources
- 1.4 Day 3
- 1.5 Animal Welfare Volunteer Programs in Udaipur
- 1.6 Where to Stay in Udaipur
- 1.1 Day 1
Udaipur Old City: An Authentic, Laidback Vibe
When you get there, it’s easy to understand why. It’s not only the palace, the ornate architecture, but the locals too. The locals will win your heart over.
As a popular region in India, Rajasthan has its share of touts at every attraction. Touts are one thing about India that can jade travelers. Arriving in Udaipur Old City, I had my armor on when folks approached me in the cafe or restaurants. Some locals would literally pull out a chair at my table to chat with me as I awaited my meal.
I’d keep thinking to myself—”okay, what’s your real agenda? When are you going to want me to come to your shop or sell me something?”
But honestly, they were just friendly. Udaipur Old City has the mentality of a small village where everyone knows everyone. Locals love to strike up conversations and while they would love for you to visit their shop too, they’re also there to enjoy their moments in the day and fill their curiosity.
Udaipur City Guide: 15 Wanderlust Things to Do in Udaipur’s Old City
today you’ll spend your entire day exploring the old city, starting from the middle and eventually making your way to the Aranvalli
1. Jagdish Temple
Constructed 1651, Jagdish Temple is an Indo-Aryan temple that stands in the heart of the Old City, surrounded by bazaars and souvenir shops. You cannot miss it- it’s easy to spot as there are stone steps leading to the temple and it is raised above the street.. Jagdish Temple is an ode to Lord Vishnu. Its intricately stone-carved designs of pillars, walls and ceilings narrate the Mewar dynasty.
Attend the morning or evening aarti. Definitely one of best things to do in Udaipur.
2. City Palace
Begin your Udaipur trip guide with a visit to the City Palace, an architectural masterpiece that seamlessly blends Rajasthani and Mughal styles. It’s a glimpse into royal history and its lifestyle in Udaipur. Constructed in 1559, this historic gem is large and houses several rooms and wings where generations of royal families once resided. Part of the palace is built around a tree, which you can still see today. The palace has various photogenic nooks and crannies for romantic selfies, as the ornate architectural design, artwork, exhibitions, and stylish rooms offer visitors much to explore. It also offers panoramic views of Lake Pichola. Udaipur trip guide enthusiasts will appreciate the ₹300 entry fee for adults, ₹100 for students with ID. This is a MUST and one of my favorite Udaipur highlights. It’s worthwhile.
Tip: Hire an official guide to get the most out of your visit and learn about the rich history and stories associated with the palace. Guides are available near the entrance. Arrive at 9 AM when the palace opens to avoid the crowds. Around 10 AM, you’ll encounter more tourists and local high school excursions.
You can also purchase Skip the Line tickets and get both, the City Palace and a boat ride on one ticket.
3. Boat Ride on Lake Pichola
ake a boat ride on Lake Pichola to experience the serene beauty of the waters and see the cityscape that dubs Udaipur as the “Venice of India.” It’s a short 10-minute boat ride, typically on a packed passenger boat, but it’s a relaxing experience. The lake is calm, peaceful, and clean, unlike the Varanasi boat rides. The boat takes you to the Jag Mandir, the Lake Palace. Costs range from ₹500 to ₹700.
Tip: Combine the City Palace with the Lake Pichola boat ride. They are so close together!
4.Jag Mandir or Lake Island Palace
Jag Mandir, also known as the Lake Palace, sits upon Lake Pichola. This 17th-century island palace, once a pleasure retreat for Mewar Maharajas, is a white marble and intricate Rajput architectural gem. Jag Mandir isn’t just a monument; it offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of Rajput royalty. You can get to the Lake Island Palace by the boat above. The boat will drop you and you can spend as much time as you want. There’s not much to do there. You can see the palace and the garden. It is now a hotel and you can have lunch there.
5. Bagore Ki Haveli: Cultural Extravaganza in Heritage Walls
On the shores of Lake Pichola, Bagore Ki Haveli, is an 18th-century haveli turned into a museum, offering a journey into the royal lifestyle. There are cultural performances held in the eveningaround Rajasthan’s vibrant traditions. There are breathtaking views of Lake Pichola and the City Palace from the rooftop as the sun sets
Attend the morning or evening aarti. Definitely one of best things to do in Udaipur.
6. Ropeway to Lake Pichola View: Aerial Spectacle
One of the unequivocably best things to do in Udaipur is to take the ropeway to the top of the Machla Magra Hills (aka Fish Hill). You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking aerial view of Lake Pichola and its surroundings.
At the top of the ropeway you’ll find a restaurant and some food concessions. It’s a worthwhile ascent as this ropeway will lead you to two panoramic vantage points where you can view the stunning Udaipur city and lake– a lookout point and the Karni Mata temple lookout and temple. Admission: ₹300 for adults. It’s one of the fun and romantic highlights of this Udaipur trip guide.
Tip: Take the ropeway at sunset and stay til night falls to witness the glowing Udaipur city lights.
7. Karni Mata Temple: Serenity on Machla Magra Hills
Perched on the Machla Magra Hills (aka Fish Hill) sits the Karni Mata Temple. Not only is it a sacred site dedicated to the revered rat goddess Karni Mata, but it is also a vantage point offering stunning panoramic views of Udaipur. The temple holds deep religious significance, drawing devotees and tourists alike. There is a sister Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok (Bikaner) where free-roaming rats reside in the temple as part of the worship. The Karni Mata Temple in Udaipur is a smaller temple and the rats are kept in a cage near the entrance of the temple.
Reach the temple by a short uphill climb or opt for the ropeway for a picturesque and leisurely ascent.
Explore the temple grounds, and take in the breathtaking sunset views over the city. Entry is free. It was easily one of my best things to do in Udaipur for a solo travel itinerary.
Tip: At night, the temple is lit with colorful lights to give it a special ambience and festive feeling. You can take the ropeway or hike the hills to get there. The hike is a paved walkway, but it will take you 20 -45 minutes (it’s a small hill) depending upon your health.
Tip: Do a Udaipur Night Walking tour with a guide.
8. Lok Dharohar cultural performance
Lok Dharohar is a beautiful cultural show that showcases the rich heritage and traditions of Rajasthan. It is a popular tourist attraction in Udaipur, India, and has been running for over 23 years. The show features a variety of Rajasthani folk dances and a puppet show and live music.
The show is held daily at Lok Dharohar Haveli, located on Samor Bagh Road, near Karni Mata Ropeway. There are two shows each day, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased online or at the venue. Check website
This second day is for waking up to the city, gathering your bearings and then visiting attractions outside the Old City and beyond.
9. Street Food Tour in Udaipur
Indulge your taste buds by touring Udaipur’s street food scene. Experience local flavors from vendors offering an array of delectable dishes from lassi to kachori, deep fried cheese sandwich, dabeli, and jalebi. .Start with breakfast street foods., All the food vendors are open and preparing fresh foods from the fryer. Street foods are sold hot. This is the best time to experience them
Read Decoding Indian food
Prices vary, providing a budget-friendly culinary adventure for solo travelers on the best things to do in Udaipur list. You can also do an Udaipur pub crawl.
As you wander through the vibrant streets of Udaipur, immerse yourself in the local culinary scene by indulging in these iconic street foods that have become synonymous with the city’s flavors.
10.. Do a walking tour Udaipur Old city
There’s a lot to see on foot in Old Udaipur. It’s always recommended to hire a guide, to give more infotainment to your city sights. Hiring a guide in Udaipur can be inexpensive, costing anywhere from $24-40/day.
At night, Udaipur is electric, so your day should not end just because the sun goes down. Souvenir shops and cafes are still open, as are temples. Take a guided walking tour at night, a tour exploring Udaipur’s hidden gems, or do a day tour with a private guide and car.
11. Visiting a Local Temple
Experience the spiritual tranquility of Udaipur’s temples. Jagdish Temple and the Karni Mata Temple are highlight picks but Udaipur also has small temples. I stumbled upon a small upstairs temple for Radha – Krishna’s consort- where an artist was doing a four day exhibition. The day I visited, his installation was a colored powder painting upon water. It was pretty phenomenal. It’s also a lively temple.
12. Miniature Painting Gallery
Discover the intricate world of Rajasthani miniature paintings at the City Palace Museum. Admire the details and vibrant colors of this traditional art form. You can also find galleries around town where you might be invited to see the artists at work. There are different levels to miniature paintings: Student, Professor and Master and to be able to buy the specific painter’s brush for this, you need to be a certified artist.
For many artists, this is a handed down craft and it’s a very serious art. The paintings are tedious and meticulous, the more you get to the master level and it can take weeks to months to paint. You might see trees with individual leaves or animals with painted hairs. It’s definitely a tradition that’s been handed down through the ages. You’ll find a lot of student work in souvenir shops and on the streets; some are even replica prints. But if you buy it from an art gallery, it’s more likely to be real.
13. Saheliyon Ki Bari: Royal Gardens of Tranquility
Saheliyon Ki Bari (“Gardens of the Maidens”) is an 18th-century garden built for royal queens on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake. I haven’t visited this as my time was short at Fateh Sagar Lake. But it sounds wonderful. Intricately designed fountains, kiosks, and a lotus pool punctuate the grounds. It’s a haven for photographers and a peaceful retreat for solo travelers. Entry costs ₹10 for Indians and ₹50 for foreigners, making it a serene retreat for Udaipur trip guide seekers.
14. Fateh Sagar Lake.
Fateh Sagar Lake is a man-made lake and one of the four lakes in Udaipur. It houses three islands and two public parks. You can go boating on the lake and visit the parks.
15. Monsoon Palace or Sajjangarh Palace
Built-in 1884 on the Aravalli hilltop, Monsoon Palace or Sajjangarh Palace to observe romantic moonlit nights. The palace was featured in the James Bond film Octopussy and offers a breathtaking sunset view. The palace was originally intended to monitor the monsoon clouds, but it has become a vantage point for visitors seeking panoramic views of Udaipur. To reach the palace, hire an autorickshaw to navigate the winding roads that lead to the top. From the top you’ll get a panoramic vista of Udaipur’s lakes, palaces.
Visit during the evening hours to witness the city illuminated against the canvas of the setting sun. See the tourism board website for hours and admission.
Solo Travel Resources
- Airalo eSim to stay connected abroad. Activate it before or on your trip!
- I get my trip insurance from World Nomads trip insurance. Digital nomads use SafetyWing.
- Travel Insurance finder tool for budget travelers looking for trip insurance to fit specific needs.
- GetyourGuide- From day tours, to cooking classes, food tours and guided day tours.
- Book yoga retreats – Take your yoga traveling with you and book a retreat/ training.
- Booking.com Reserve hotels without a cancellation fee.
- 12goAsia Book trains and buses.
- Radical Storage Ditch your luggage at a designated parts of the city.
- NordVPN – Online security and the ability to watch Netflix. Use code “grrrltraveler”
- Klook – Book tours in Asia
- Avoid Pickpockets & Travel Theft
- GRRRLTRAVELER Group tours : Travel with me beyond YouTube.
Day three is to enjoy the day souvenir shopping, extra cultural activities and visiting locations that are a little on the outskirts of Udaipur.
Animal Welfare Volunteer Programs in Udaipur
16. Animal Aid Unlimited
Make a meaningful impact by volunteering at Animal Aid Unlimited, an animal welfare sanctuary dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating animals. You can take a guided tour of their facilities, where a volunteer will tell you about all the work they are doing for the various animals they have from cows, goats, donkeys, handicapped/paralyzed/senior dogs and hospital patients. It is a huge sanctuary grounds area with many staff and animal houses. When I went, I saw a lot of work being done from volunteers making food to staff massaging a cow to help it to recovery. There is a hydrotherapy facility to aid animal recovery as well. It’s pretty near a farm.
Visit their website to apply for volunteering opportunities. It is free to volunteer but you must find your way to their location.. Many travelers volunteer there. You can volunteer for as long as you want. Donations are welcome to support the sanctuary’s efforts or you can buy merch from shop to support the cause.
Hire a rickshaw to get there. It’s located around 20 minutes outside of Udaipur, but the taxi ride won’t cost much and its a nice way to get out and see additional surrounding sights of Udaipur.
17. We love Strays
One of the things I loved about staying in the Old City is you’ll see locals feeding the homeless street dogs and cows. Along the way, you’ll see water troughs marked Support Strays, a reminder to be kind to the street animals. It is a one-woman team and she takes volunteers, although you’d need to contact her to learn more ( Call/WhatsApp – 6378669665)
18. Taking a Cooking Class
Immerse yourself in the flavors of Rajasthan with a hands-on cooking experience. Learn the secrets of Rajasthani cuisine by taking a cooking class in Udaipur and preparing your own local delicacies.
Where to Stay in Udaipur
Little Garden Guesthouse This 200 year old eclectic and renovated family-owned and run haveli is a boutique gem that I loved loved loved staying at. Everyone was warm and welcoming. Akshay is a very hospitable host and they check to see you’re okay. Hot water baths and rooms are homey, well designed with a touch of retro. Has a lovely rooftop view of the City Palace. Perfect for a female solo traveler! Location is ideal in the heart of the city and walking distance to all the top highlights.