Welcome to Udaipur, India’s City of the Lakes! Out of the four cities we visited in India during our two-week trip, Udaipur was our favourite. This was the smallest city we visited with its population around 400,000 and the most lush. After spending a week and a half in the bustling cities of New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, we were ready for a change of scenery!
In stark contrast to the other cities we visited on this trip, the air in Udaipur is fresh. We didn’t need our anti-smog masks at all, which was great because we were able to spend to more time outside.
WHAT TO EAT 🍴
Udaipur is home to several vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes so we didn’t have to walk far to find amazing vegan food and coffee. 🙂
Millets of Mewar
For the BEST vegan Indian food, go to Millets of Mewar. Seriously, their peanut curry and pancakes are out of this world! This was our favourite restaurant out of the entire two-week trip.
After eating thali twice a day for several days straight, we craved something sweet. We noticed vegan pancakes on their menu and knew we had to try them. They were to die for! Pancakes are only available in the morning so get there early. Here’s their breakfast menu:
For dinner, we usually ordered their peanut curry with rice and it was one of the best meals of my life. I didn’t photograph (or film) their lunch/dinner menu or any of our meals in the evening (the lighting was too dim) but trust me when I tell you that you could eat 2-3 meals a day here and never tire of it!
We were stoked to finally find a vegan-friendly cafe with tasty soy lattes. The coffee at Grasswood Cafe was so good! This had to be my favourite place for coffee out of the few we tried in India.
The cafe isn’t completely vegan but they offer a lot of vegan options. I tried their massive vegan sandwich and Kuba couldn’t pass up their warm brownie drizzled with chocolate sauce. We both approved! The sandwich and brownie were good for a (large) snack but if you’re looking for more substantial meals, stick to Millets of Mewar.
Even if you’re not into coffee or sandwiches or brownies, swing by Grasswood Cafe to say hello to the sweet dog chillin’ on their patio! 🙂
WHAT TO SEE & DO
We had a few days in Udaipur so we were only interested in visiting the City Palace and spending some time on Lake Pichola. Conveniently, you can purchase a boat excursion along with your entry tickets to the palace. It cost us just under $22 for both of us. Totally worth it!
A Boat Ride to Jag Mandir
We came to Udaipur because of its lakes so we couldn’t pass up a boat ride on Lake Pichola, one of several man-made lakes created in the mid-14th century. We boarded the boat along the shore in front of the City Palace and headed to Jag Mandir—one of the island palaces built in this lake.
Before Shah Jahan ruled the Mughal Empire, his rebellion against his Emperor father forced him into hiding. He needed protection and somewhere to keep his family safe so he turned to the Mewar Kingdom and asked the reigning Maharana Karan Singh for help. Fortunately, he granted him safe haven in Udaipur along with his wife Mumtaz Mahal and their sons.
They lived here on this island in a palace built especially for them until the death of Shah Jahan’s father. He then ascended the throne to become the 5th Mughal Emperor. This unlikely friendship between the Mughals and the Mewar Kingdom would later inspire Shah Jahan’s design of the Taj Mahal.
Udaipur’s City Palace complex took over 400 years to build. Construction started in the mid-16th century by Maharana Udai Singh II. At that time, he shifted the capital of the Mewar kingdom from the Chittor Fort to this strategic location, thereby founding the city of Udaipur.
Maharana Udai Singh II had met a hermit during one of his hunting trips who advised him to shift the capital to this area because of its strategic advantages. Here, the new capital would be protected on all sides by forests, lakes and the Aravalli hills. The Maharana feared Chittor Fort would eventually fall to the Mughals, so he heeded the hermit’s advice. Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great ultimately captured the fort a few years later so the move was just in time!
The City Palace complex includes 11 separate palaces. These palaces are unique because they all share the same fusion of grandiose Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles.
Every palace is constructed of granite and marble and embellished with coloured glass, delicate marble-work, inlays, mirrors, and murals.
Don’t miss Udaipur!
If I could plan a second trip to India, I’d skip New Delhi and Agra entirely and start in Rajasthan. I’d enter the country in New Delhi (since the most affordable flights from Europe seem to go through there) and then fly to Jaipur or Udaipur as soon as I could and start my trip from there. Our favourite cities were Jaipur and Udaipur (both in Rajasthan) so I’m guessing we’d probably enjoy other cities in that state. Hopefully, we can visit Jaisalmer and Jodhpur—Rajasthan’s Blue City next time!
So if you’re visiting India for a short time, I highly recommend you check out Udaipur. The city is smaller so it isn’t overwhelming like New Delhi, the air is fresh and unpolluted and overall the city seems more laid-back. Udaipur is a city of artists so it gives off plenty of “hippie vibes” if you know what I mean. 😉
Plus, the vegan food there (especially at Millets of Mewar) was the best! I’d be happy to spend a two-week foodie holiday in Udaipur just so I could eat Millets of Mewar every single day.
So where should you stay?
If you’re looking for a clean, affordable accommodation with helpful staff, try Yellow Heights Hotel. I booked all of our hotels for this trip on Booking.com. If you use my referral link for your next trip, we’ll both get a $20 reward!
Thanks for reading!
Don’t forget to check out my Udaipur episodes on YouTube. You’ll see everything I mentioned in this post in more detail. My videos do a better job of showing you what Udaipur is like. 🙂