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Surrender to Udaipur’s Royal Romance
In the heart of Regal Rajasthan is a city of enchanting beauty and splendid palaces surrounded by deep blue lakes and rugged hills. Udaipur’sdelicately carved Havelis, twinkling lights and glittering lakefront ooze a timeless romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet, discover Ambika Gupta*.
City of Lakes and Lights
Udaipur’s romantic landscape transports you to a magical world. This medieval city founded in 1595 is set among tranquil lakes and ringed by hazy purple Aravallis.Its placid waters, gently gliding boats, and graceful Havelis make Udaipur look like a delicate watercolor. Also known as the Venice of the East, this Lake City originally grew on the banks of lovely Lake Pichola. The majestic City Palace and Fort rise from the edge of this lake in breathtaking splendor. As twilight descends, take a boat ride to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its iconic heritage buildings. As you glide along the lakefront festooned with soft, fairy lights, an evening breeze will ruffle your hair and you can feel your spirits soar.
The sprawling City Palace and Fort complex were built by successive Mewar rulers over a staggering four and a half centuries. The royal family of Udaipur continues to occupy a section of the premises while the rest is open as a museum for guests. Reserve an entire afternoon to explore a series of exquisite palaces, examine royal heirlooms and lounge in leafy courtyards before finally enjoying a sundowner with a sunset view of the lake and then heading for a thrilling evening Light & Sound show. Be sure you don’t miss the priceless, antique crystalware in the Crystal Gallery and the Maharaja’s Vintage Car Collection, which includes beauties like a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II in mint condition.
Taj Lake Palace is possibly the most romantic hotel in the world, originally built in 1746 as the royal retreat for MaharanaJagat Singh II. Its exotic location on an island in the middle of a lake and grand interiors made it the perfect backdrop for the Bond movie Octopussy. This floating vision in marble boasts of breathtaking views, signature restaurants, a sumptuous spa, and world-class hospitality. This luxury property is designed to pamper your every whim and give you a taste of true-blue royalty.
The atmospheric old city is labyrinthine of narrow lanes, honking scooters and cubbyhole shops selling everything from silver jewelry to cloth bags, colorful mojari’s, leather-bound notebooks, statues, and artifacts. These winding alleys are a delight to explore with their antique homes and whimsical wares. However, Udaipur’s truly unique craft is Mughal-style miniature paintings created on versatile mediums like paper, cloth, wood and glass. Enroll for a quick class and try your hand at painting a canvas or buy one to carry home.
A Taste of Royalty
Udaipur’s vibrant lakefront is lined with cheerful alfresco and rooftop cafes. For a romantic dinner, pick from the lakeside restaurants on Hanuman Ghat, which have uninterrupted views of the lake and the fort, glowing golden against a starlit sky. Most restaurants are multi-cuisine and some have regular screenings of Octopussy. Unwind on a deck next to an inky blue lake with a glass of sparkling wine, as you catch stray notes of music drifting on the water. For an authentic Rajasthani meal, look no further than the traditional, all-you-can-eat thali at the Garden Restaurant. This is not a meal but a crash course in the mind-boggling richness of Rajasthani cuisine and hospitality.
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