It was almost time for college to start. I had not left my city the whole vacation. It was June end and the rainy season was just about to start. I was bored and wanted some adventure. I hate rains as they have always spoiled our travel plans, but still I did not want my vacation to go in vain. Finally after some surfing on the net, I was able to find a place which would not take much time to reach and the rains would also not spoil my itinerary. Udaipur it is!
Udaipur, a city in Rajasthan state also known as the city of lakes. Also, some part of Rajasthan being dessert, there is very less possibility of rains in the beginning of the season. So without asking anyone, I planned my itinerary, looked at budget stays, planned out the days and had already started dreaming about the udaipur. But ,but ,but little did I knew that this dream was about to be smashed. My parents refused to send me for solo travelling.
WHAT THE HECK! I said to myself, thinking about ways to convince them to let me go. But nothing worked. Finally, I started looking for some travel companions so that they would at least allow me to go. After pinging a few of my friends, two of my best buddies- Abhijeet & Sujoy(not sujay) liked the plan and were ready for the trip. The three of us got together and somehow convinced all of our parents. Finally, we were ready to book our transportation and stays.
Although there were many options for stays, we all know how hectic is last minute Indian Railway bookings. Lucky us, we were able to find ourselves confirmed booking in overnight Mumbai-Udaipur Express which was scheduled just 3 days from present date. Without wasting any time, we booked the tickets. We went ahead and booked the returned tickets in the waiting list hoping they get confirmed till our return journey begins. Scrolled through booking.com and found options like Radisson Blu Udaipur, Trident Udaipur, Taj lake palace Udaipur and Oberoi Udaipur. But all those were out of our budget. So filtered hostels and compared Zostel Udaipur, Gostops Udaipur and some more. We finally booked ourselves bunk beds for 2 nights at GoStops, which we got at great price and packed our rucksacks just a day before our departure. Indeed, it was a rapidly made plan and was also about to be executed!
Finally, the day was here, it was the golden hour. All of us living close to each other, booked an uber and beating the Mumbai traffic, went straight to our boarding station-Bandra terminus. The train was scheduled to leave at 11:30pm. We reached by around 10:30 searched our platform, informed our (tensed)parents that we had made it to the train and sat in our seats, excited for our trip. Finally, the train started moving, and the train started getting crowded with people searching for their seats. We all had got upper and middle berths so all of us clueless what to do, laid on our bed for the night with no sleep in our mind. I handed a book that I had in my backpack to Sujoy who read it the whole night. The book was none other than Sudha Murty’s Wise and Otherwise.
Day Cost: ₹0
Usually, I don’t sleep in trains. So forcefully closing my eyes and hardly sleeping for 2-3 hours, the sound of chaiwala made me awake in the early morning. Had some early morning chai and put on my earphones, sat next to a window and quietly watched the sun rise as we moved towards our destination. Got down at some station in Gujarat to have some famous Gujarati Khaman Dhokla. I always enjoy train journeys because the train travels through the interior parts of the country. Seeing fields all around through the window and looking at the daily life chores of the villagers has some different experience in itself.
Not to forget, train travel unites people and makes friends, specially in India as Indians are talkative, they need someone to talk to. And for me, it was an old man sitting just a few seats aways from ours. He seemed 50 and was in a safari dress. He enquired me where I was from and why was I going to Udaipur. After a few talks, I got to know he was good at predicting people’s future by looking at their palm. This technique is known as Palmistry.
He asked me if I wanted to know my future, and exciting me was always ready! Well what he told me about my future is very interesting. He said, you would grow up and go into some other country and maybe settle there.Hahaha…don’t have any plans till now to do so. He also predicted some of my facts. We were just left stunned!
Later on, most of our neighbours were busy showing this old man their palms to know their future. We ordered some Domino’s pizza for lunch. It is the best thing to do as the train food is tasteless and not good.
Around 4:30 pm, finally we arrived at our destination. But to our bad luck, it was raining in Udaipur. I was worried. We decided to reach our hostel. The old man, who also belonged to Udaipur, showed us the way out of the station. Our hostel had mailed us to avoid local tuk-tuk outside railway stations as they charge much higher. So we booked an Uber and headed to our hostel. The guys at the reception were super friendly and showed us our bunk beds and gave us information about the famous places to visit. After keeping my backpack in the locker, (yes the locker was so big and had locks preinstalled too) I couldn’t keep my excitement and rushed to the rooftop to see the common area of Gostops udaipur. It was just like I had seen in pictures. Gostops is so colourful!
We all washed our faces and freshened ourselves.Till then the rains had stopped, the sky was clear and the sun was about set. One major point of choosing Gostops was its location. It was just opposite to the famous City Palace and was at the shore of lake Pichola. We walked to the opposite shore of the lake which had a ghat(area to sit and enjoy) known as Gangaur ghat and watched the golden orange sky with quite water of the lake till it became dark. Then headed to one the the restaurants near the lake for dinner and went early to bed as we had to start exploring the next day.
- Lunch(Pizza): ₹100
- Hostel: ₹413/night
- Dinner: ₹110
Got up around 8 am. Breakfast was included in our bookings. Had some poha and tea and were ready to explore the city. We spent the morning exploring the City Palace. It is a big palace and needs around 2-3 hours to completely explore it. We had our student Id cards, so took advantage of student discounts. You can hire a guide for around 500 bucks if you need. There is also a boat ride just besides the Palace which costs 400-700 depending on timings. We felt it was much overpriced and there was nothing exciting about it. So, we skipped the plan for boating.
Jagdish temple is just besides the ghat and you can see it from the road. We headed for lunch to one of the rooftop cafes which are available in plenty in this area. After lunch, we rested at the cafe for around an hour and walked all the way towards Fateh Sagar Lake. It took about 1 hour for us to reach, but on the way, we explored the lanes, the houses and the local culture of Udaipur. But soon as we reached the lake, there was nothing much to do as the sun was still above our heads and it was just 4 pm. In June, the sun usually sets around 6:30pm so we had around 2 and half hours.
We found an aquarium just besides the lake. It had an AC and that was just what we needed after a long tiring walk. We bought tickets and entered the aquarium called “Under the Sun”. We were given complimentary samosa coupons with the ticket…haha. First of all, we found a good place to sit, drank water and rested for half an hour in the cold environment. Basically we made it our lounge! This is budget travelling. We explored the aquarium housing various kinds of fishes. Ok, it was not great, but the sole purpose of our visit was to avoid the hot sun. You can totally skip this aquarium. We ate some free samosa and exited the building. There is also a Maharana Pratap Memorial besides the lake, which again has an entry fee, although it is just a garden. We sat near the lake and watched the sunset.
Fateh Sagar lake is just like Marine Lines in Mumbai. A lot of local teenagers gathered there to chill with their friends in the evening. I would suggest to skip this and explore the Badi Lake instead. There are lots of food stalls just besides the lake. We had matka coffee at Sai Sagar Coffee House besides the lake. Had heard a lot about it and it was worth a try. Then ate some fast food at the food stalls for our dinner.
Finally, time to head back to the hostel, we thought of giving a try to uber rickshaw as it was much cheaper than a car. We booked and within 5 minutes the guy arrived with a noisy, old rickshaw. The guy didn’t knew any routes, nor did he took help from the maps. We felt like the rickshaw was about to break down and it was very noisy. Finally after guiding the driver, we somehow reached safely and laughed at each other. We chilled at the common area for a while and headed back to our beds for the night.
- City Palace Ticket: ₹130 for Students (₹300 for adults)
- Lunch: ₹120
- Aquarium: ₹130
- Dinner: ₹100
- Hostel: ₹413/night
After having breakfast, we checked out of our dorm and kept our backpacks at the hostel. Saw the status of our return tickets as the train was scheduled to leave at night. Lucky us, we were at least in the RAC(bearth sharing with other people). I felt like all the tension in my life was gone. We then booked an uber to the base of Monsoon Palace/Sajjangarh Fort which is in the outskirts of the city. The Palace is on the top of a mountain. Taxis go only till the entrance gate at the base of the mountain. From the base you need to purchase a ticket or you can either walk/trek to the palace or you can purchase another ticket for a seat in a jeep which takes you up to the palace and return back down.
As we had plenty of time, we decided to trek all the way to the top. A family was also walking behind us, but after some time, we could not see them. We kept walking for an hour and were exhausted. Saw the family in the jeep going up, probably they got tired too early and returned back to base to take a jeep up. We covered almost 75% of the way up when we were offered lift by a couple in their car, but what was the use if we couldn’t complete the last 25%. So we politely declined and continued to walk.
Finally, after one and half hour of trek, we reached the fort palace on the top. Sadly, due to renovation, the palace was closed, but the viewpoint was open. The whole Udaipur city and the surrounding villages were clearly visible. We took some photos and rested for a while. As our water was finished, we had to purchase at the top which cost around ₹70 for 1 litre of water. We also met the same couple who smiled at us seeing us finally at the top.
We then started again for the base. It was easy as it was all downhill and we could finish it within an hour. After such a tiring morning, it was time to fuel up our tanks with the best of the best. We called an uber and proceeded to Krishna Dal Bati Restro for a traditional rajasthani unlimited lunch. It was suggested by the reception at our hostel. We craved for the food and ate till our stomachs were totally full. It is a highly recommended place! Then for the last few hours of our trip, we walked 15-20 minutes to the ropeway, which is near the city palace.
We took a ropeway car to the top of a hill which had Karni Mata temple and overlooked a view of the city. We reached the top and clicked some pictures. Nothing much to see except the temple. Finally, the sun was about to set, we wandered around the shops as my friends wanted to purchase some gifts. We reached our hostel and asked them if we could use the common area for a while and they happily agreed. Rested at the beautifully made, colourful rooftop and then left to catch our train at the Udaipur railway station. We had our full bearth to us as all of our seats had got confirmed status till evening. We boarded the overnight train at 9 pm for Mumbai. Again ordered the safest food Dominos Pizza for dinner.
- Monsoon Palace ticket: ₹70 (Extra ₹150 for jeep)
- Lunch(traditional meal): ₹250
- Ropeway ticket: ₹110
- Dinner(Pizza): ₹120
Finally, the trip was about to end. On the way back, again, I talked to many people, had fun and enjoyed mother nature. It is indeed truly inspiring. By the time we reached the outskirts of Mumbai, rain had already started. I was informed that Mumbai had received a lot of rainfall while we were in Udaipur. But this time, looking at the rain, I was happy that it did not spoil my trip. Back to Mumbai with lots of memories, experiences and RAINS!
|Train ticket||₹950 (round trip)|
|Transport(uber & rickshaw)||₹280 per person|
|TOTAL||₹3200 (₹3166 to be precise)|
Things we missed:
You always leave something so that you can go again to the same place to experience the left ones. Here’s what I left.
- Every evening, there is a light and sound show at the city palace. It has a ticket. We decided to skip it as were not that interested.
- There is a cultural dance program, near the Gangaur Ghat, at Bagore ki Haveli. We decided to skip this too.
- We wanted to visit the picturesque location for instagram, the Badi lake. But as it was much in the outskirts and we were not able to manage it.
- We skipped Saheliyon Ki Bari & Doodh Talai as they were just gardens.
- The Vintage Car Museum was skipped as that topic was not interesting for us.
Except Badi Lake, other all places can be skipped
Some travel tips for Udaipur:
- If you have a driving license, you can rent a bike for ₹700/day and ride to most of the places.
- Most of the cars and taxis do not go inside the narrow lanes of the main city of Udaipur, so, you will have to walk some part of Udaipur which will be fun.
- Rent a bike to explore the best of the city
- Booking stay near Lake Pichola would reduce the time of travelling as most important places are around Lake Pichola.
- Bring your student Id card to get discounts on entry tickets to City Palace.
- Try the traditional Dal Bati meal in the city.
Did rains spoiled your trip? Comment down your travel stories from Rajasthan. Would love to hear them!
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