Our journey from Jaipur to Udaipur was almost seamlessly stress free, leaving us a little in shock when we arrived. I say “almost” as we may have momentarily boarded the wrong train at Jaipur, managing to jump off again just before it left the station. We do love our little adventures! 😊 It was however, an amazing feeling having boarded the correct train, to find our seats immediately, bed down for the night and awaken feeling rested in Udaipur.
We arrived around 6am, taking a tuk tuk from the station to our hostel in town as we felt a little too sleepy for the 3km walk. We were met at the front doors of, “moustache” by a very sleepy member of staff who quietly showed us our room on the third floor before going back to bed. The beautiful 5 story building looks like a marbled stone hotel that has been converted to offer a mix of shared dorms and private rooms. A little sleepy from the journey but excited from spotting the “free filtered water” sign on the stairs, we dropped our bags in the room and made a plan to make the most of the morning. That way, we could come back to the room when it was too hot in the afternoon. Nevertheless, we were asleep within 2 minutes (Tips ones hat to the cosy beds) and instead, ventured out in the afternoon. 😇
Situated within 100 metres of Lake Pichola, the view from the hostel rooftop was amazing. You just had to ignore the discarded beer bottles and left over food, as the restaurant closes in the off season and the staff seemed to forget it exists.
Our post beauty sleep walk took us along the maze of narrow, winding streets that make up the town centre. Branching along the edge of the lake, the streets rise and fall through little hills that give Udaipur its unique aesthetic. To us, it felt homely, almost like a little seaside village. We stopped in the centre of town for street food and chai tea (rs.10) before re-stocking the suncream reserves (#safetyfirst) at the nearest “we sell everything” shop. That night we ate at Chirag rooftop restaurant that overlooked the lake. We ate really nice vegetable curries while listening to Sia’s entire back catalogue (twice) as the sun set. The girl working there may have actually been Sia’s biggest fan but we didn’t mind as the food was so cheap and tasted great.
On our second day we walked along the river to a little dosa place, just outside the city palace. The owner told us they normally have a one hour wait in the high season and to be fair, we were only there because we had read some pretty impressive reviews. With the place to ourselves, we were served two of the biggest masala dosa’s I’ve ever seen. The fact they were actually spicy, instead of the mildly spiced dishes we’re normally served meant it got a resounding thumbs up.
Where’s the heat?
So far, we’ve been a little confused with India. Despite asking for dishes to be as spicy as the come, we haven’t experienced the levels of spice that the stereotypes have led us to believe to be a standard.
One theory is that everyone is just being too nice to us, making the dishes a little milder so that we’re not put off. (They asked for spicy but they don’t mean Indian spicy)The other is that “blow your head off” levels of spice are mostly just a novelty that only the rare few enjoy.
Perhaps more investigation is needed. Either way, we’re happy to eat until we work it out.
Filled to the brim with dosa, we then attempted to walk off some calories with a tour of the City Palace. We avoided the usual large tourist price tag by getting foreign student tickets and by asking really nicely when Ella left her ID at the hostel… 😎 The Palace was one impressive, showroom, courtyard and garden after another with ornate murals and stunning displays of Indian architecture throughout. The museum also helped top up our knowledge of Indian history (basically everyone invaded everyone and the English were good but then bad) but the armoury was by far the best. My motion to perhaps acquire our own rifle or sword did not pass unanimously. 😒
The next day, we walked out to the Saijan Niwas gardens that were once famous for its spectacular displays of roses and natural wildlife. Now famous for its spectacularly bad treatment of the remaining animals in its zoo. We walked disappointedly around the semi-abandoned grounds, avoiding the zoo/house of cruelty entirely and found a nice patch of grass to sit and watch the chipmunks playing. On our way out we noticed that almost every tree was occupied by Udaipur’s enormous population of giant fruit bats. Later they provided an amazing spectical over the lake, with thousands of black wings flying in formation, while we shared a beer at the rooftop restaurant.
Our last day was a relaxing and chilled day spent having lunch at Yummy Yoga Cafe and watching the giant golden catfish rolling around on the surface of the lake. We were a little sorry to be leaving so soon and could have easily spent a few more days enjoying the slower pace of Udaipur, but Pushkar was calling us and there’s no way we’re missing that train! 😇
The Best of Udaipur
Moustache Hostel- super friendly staff, cheap rooms and great facilities make this a win! The showers were unreal. Just make sure to label your water in the fridge as ours was enjoyed by someone else. 🤔
Chirag Rooftop Restaurant – this lakeside restaurant had a chilled vibe, great decor and a gorgeous view of the lake & bats at night.
Cool Cafe – spicy dishes and big bowls of pasta, this cafe/restaurant serves up the perfect comfort food for Indian and Italian cuisine.
Shreenarth Dosa – The best masala dosa (or any other kind of dosa imaginable) in Udaipur.