Udaipur and Jodhpur are two of the most famous and tourist cities of Rajasthan. When travelling from one city to the other, there are many other attractions that should not be missed such as the Ranakpur temples and other impressive forts.
Udaipur, the Venice of Rajasthan
Udaipur is city where it is good to stroll along the ghats of Lake Pichola, superb restaurants and hotels allow you to fully enjoy it. A tip: a boat trip at sunset on the lake because it allows you to enjoy the most beautiful colors of the city. This also offers the opportunity to approach the magnificent island hotels located in the middle of the lake. The facades of the palace take on a golden color, in short, an activity not to be missed!
An unmissable visit awaits you at the City Palace overlooking the city. This palace is particularly famous for its glass mosaics, the view of Lake Pichola is also splendid. It takes 2 hours to discover all the secrets of the palace through a one-way route taking visitors from room to room, sometimes via shaded courtyards and terraces. Once the visit is over, do not hesitate to browse the shops of the Manek Chowk esplanade including Anokhi and its creative textiles.
From the City Palace, the old town awaits you. Indeed, a few minutes from the palace stands Jagdish Temple and its beautiful carved reliefs. Between this temple and Chand Pole, many shops and cafes take turns. It is the most touristic district of the city and is worth a look just for a walk along the white havelis.
If your stay allows it, the North of the city can be a good base. Indeed, the gardens of Sahelion-ki-Bari or the view from Moti Magri are worth the detour.
The ramparts of the citadel are built on the sides of this plateau made up of numerous palaces, baoris or other sanctuaries. Once past the seven gates, a road goes around the plateau and allows access to the various sites. Among the most impressive places, Kumbha Palace from which one can walk to the beautifully crafted Victory Tower before reaching the sacred pool Gaumukh Kund. The latter is fed by a source attracting many Indians in search of purification.
Further on, taking the car, Padmini’s Palace is an elegant pavilion built in the middle of a pond. From this palace, you may be lucky enough to admire some bickering long-tailed monkeys. The rest of the visit can be devoted to the discovery of the ruins of old palaces or wells as well as the Tower of Fame, all in relief.
The unknown Kumbhalgarh Fort
Only 2.5 hours drive from Udaipur is another fort which seems even more imposing than those of Amber or Chittor: Kumbhalgarh.
To reach this new fort, you have to have a strong heart. Indeed, we leave the monotonous arid plains and a mountain road with some switchbacks follows. This is an opportunity to admire new landscapes associated with the main mountain range of the region: the Arrawali.
Apart from the usual tourist circuits, the Kumbhalgarh fortress is the second largest in Rajasthan. Its walls stretch for 30 km, the view of the mountain range is breathtaking. From the gate where the ticket office is located, Ram Pol, a path climbs gradually to reach the citadel. The palace at the top is a veritable maze of empty rooms, but the view is still just as impressive.
The Jain temples of Ranakpur
Ranakpur is only 30km from Kumbhalgarh but there too, you have to take a mountain road and a few turns. We then find tourists at the entrance of these temples, often placed as a stopover between Udaipur and Jodhpur.
Nestled in the hollow of green hills, these temples, the main one of which is Adinath, are home to real architectural marvels. It looks like certain columns or facades cut like lace. The whiteness of the place contrasts with the surrounding hills and gives this place a sacred dimension. The realization of the decoration all in sculpture of the temple makes it one of the most beautiful Jain constructions. The marble is worked like ivory, details appear the further you go in the visit, doable with an audio guide.
Jodhpur, the blue city
From the small town of Ranakpur, it takes 3 hours by road before arriving on the outskirts of Jodhpur. Between the blue city of Bhramanpuri at its feet, the bazaar and its famous Mehrangarh fort, this city is a good summary of India before leaving.
Mehrangarh, property of the Maharaja of Jodhpur is a citadel perched high above the city. It is also one of the most imposing forts in Rajasthan. Like all the other fortresses in the region, countless rooms, courtyards and terraces follow one another for nearly 3 hours of a historical visit that can be done with an audio guide. In addition to the museum, it is possible to walk along the walkway to discover the city from above and in particular Bhramanpuri and its blue walls.
Jodhpur’s bazaar stretches around the clock square. It’s a great place to capture the life of an Indian market, as big cars can’t get in. It is thus easier than elsewhere to browse the stalls at this wide esplanade. The latter is dominated by a monumental clock, Clock Tower. This tower has become a symbol of the city. Around this square, the small alleys are full of other merchants, some of whom I am sure will be able to reserve a few surprises for you before returning home!
Photo by Ibrahim Rifath