The beautiful lake city in Udaipur is an absolute gem in Rajasthan and probably my favourite Indian city. In January 2020 I visited Udaipur whilst leading an overland trip. As usual, even though we had two full days here, most of my first day was spent working. On my second day I was determined to pack in as many of the sites as possible. I researched itineraries for 1 day in Udaipur and couldn’t find anything that suited what I wanted.

So I marked all the places I wanted to visit on my maps.me app and armed with my camera ventured out for the day. I discovered that without being too rushed, there are plenty of sites in Udaipur that can be savoured in just one day.  If you’re interested in seeing a mixture of nature, culture and history in Udaipur, this is the perfect itinerary for you!

Udaipur facts

  • State: Rajasthan
  • Population: 451,000
  • Altitude: 598m
  • Climate: Semi-arid
  • Major languages: Hindi and Mewari

Jagadir Mandish Temple

The first stop for my 1 day of exploration in Udaipur was Jagadir Mandish Temple. This is a small temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Right in the heart of old Udaipur, this is a temple built in the Indo-Aryan style. First I walked around the temple, looking up to admire the intricately carved spires before entering the temple itself. By chance I happened to visit during a ceremony which involved chanting and bell ringing, before worshipers left their offerings. It was quite special to witness.

Entry to the temple is permitted for everyone but no photographs are allowed. 15-30 minutes is enough time here.

Begin your 1 day in Udaipur with a visit to Jagadir Mandish Temple

City Palace

The city palace in Udaipur is quite an impressive building built entirely from granite and marble. It is actually a series of palaces built within a larger facade. The palaces are all linked with zigzag corridors designed to confuse surprise attacks from enemies. It’s definitely fun to wander up, down and around these narrow corridors.

Located on the shores of lake Pichola, the building took nearly 400 years to complete. The palace is a fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture constructed under the Mewar dynasty.  Inside, the palaces have beautiful mirror and glass work, murals and paintings. There is an entire section dedicated to silverware which is not to be missed.

It is possible to explore City Palace by yourself and the route around the site is well marked. There are information boards in the various sections but I was grateful to have the audio guide to lead me around the palace. I would definitely recommend paying for the audio guide to get the most out of your visit.

From inside the palace you get great views over lake Pichola, and the grounds themselves look out over the city. Allow 2-3 hours for your visit. 300 INR entry fee and 200 INR audio guide.

City Palace is a must for your one day in Udaipur

Lunch break near the palace.

After absorbing all the information on offer at the CIty Palace, it’s time for a break. Just outside the Palace there are a number of restaurants lining each side of the street. For the coffee lovers out there, head to Govindas for a tasty caffeine hit. They also serve some pretty tasty food.

Cable Car

After lunch I left the old city and wandered out to Udaipur rope way. This short cable car ride takes you to the top of Machala hill for possibly the best views of Udaipur. On top of the hill you can also find the small Mansapurna Karni Mata temple, which is currently under construction. (January 2020)

It is also possible to walk to the top of Machala Hill but since I had walked from City Palace I definitely welcomed the short break which the cable car ride provided. Just down the road from the cable car entrance is a small lake called Dudh Tali. Take time to walk to the the end of Dudh Tali – the end nearest the cable car – to snap some beautiful reflective photos of City Palace.

The cable car rides lasts only 5 minutes but you will want time to enjoy the incredible views from the top. Allocate1-2 hours here to allow for cable car queues. A return journey costs 120 INR.

Visit the ropeway on your 1 day Udaipur itinerary

Fateh Sagar Lake

It’s time to jump in a rickshaw and drive to Udaipur’s second largest lake, Fateh Sagar. Have a stroll along the promenade or sit down with a chai and indulge in some people watching. This is a popular spot for young locals to hang out so get ready for some selfie requests!

Are you an Oreo fan? I had the most amazing Oreo milkshake here! Allow 30 minutes at this spot.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari Gardens

Next continue your rickshaw journey around the lake to Saheliyon-ki-Bari Gardens, also known as the Princess Gardens. In this brief visit you can admire beautiful lotus pools, pavilions and statues. Enjoy a break from the noisy streets and revel in a little slice of peaceful, green paradise. Be warned though, there is no complete escape from the sales offers, with vendors inside the gardens willing to sell you anything from a camera battery to a selfie stick.

15-30 minutes is enough time to appreciate the gardens. 100 INR entry fee.

Manji Ka Ghat Park

The final destination on your Udaipur itinerary is Manji Ka Ghat Park. This is the perfect spot to finish off sightseeing for the day with a relaxing sunset. From this park you can either sit on the East side to enjoy the soft evening glow on City Palace or sit on the west side to watch sunset over the hills. Arrive 15 minutes before the sceduled sunset time to appreciate the colour change on City Palace. The park is free to enter.

Alternatively see the cultural show at Bagore ki Haveli. I didn’t get chance to do this as it clashed with sunset but members of my group attended and said it was very impressive. The Dharohar Dance Show consists of a series of dances by women in typical Rajasthani dress. It includes the Bhavani Dance, where a performer skilfully dances with earthen pots balanced on her head. The show starts nightly at 7pm but be sure to get your tickets in advance as it sells out quickly.

Finish your 1 day in Udaipur with sunset overlooking the old city

Dinner with a view

To complete you day in Udaipur, enjoy a delicious meal in one of Udaipur’s many restaurants. Savage Garden restaurant serves Italian or Indian food with views looking out over lake Pichola. They also serve beer which can be difficult to find in the temple area.

For views of City Palace, Gangaur Ghat and Bangalore Ki Haveli head to the rooftop restaurant of Hotel Lake Pichola, called UPRE 1559 AD. They serve Rajasthani delicacies.

With more time in Udaipur

If you have more time available to spend in Udaipur there are lots of other options you could enjoy. Here are some of the activities that my group recommended. 

Visit Monsoon palace

Sat atop a hill, Monsoon Palace is 5km west of Udaipur. The palace was originally planned to be an observatory which would monitor and predict the monsoon. Unfortunately Maharana Sajjan Singh died before it was finished and instead it became a palace designed to enjoy panoramic views of Fateh Sagar Lake.

Jump in a taxi or rickshaw to get there and arrive before sunset when it closes for the day. 

Take a boat ride on Pichola lake

For just a few hundred rupees, a great way to spend an hour or so is to take a boat ride on Pichola lake. The boats trips include visits to Lake Palace and Jag Mandir. Tickets are sold at the City Palace ticket counter.

Enjoy a cooking class

Several of my passengers took a cooking class with Shashi. They helped prepare some classic Rajasthani dishes and then got to devour the food afterwards. The class costs 1500 INR.

Explore Indian countryside on horse back

If I had more time in Udaipur I would definitely take a scenic horse ride with Princess Trails. They use Marwadi horses and offer a variety of rides through rural Rajasthan. One member of my group took the 2 hour ride for 2000 INR and absolutely loved it. They will collect you from your hotel and include a refreshing beer at the end of the ride.

Classic car museum

The vintage car museum showcases an exquisite collection of royal antique cars including Rolls Royce and Cadillacs. The museum is located on Gulab Bagh road and the entrance fee is 250 INR.

Where to stay for your perfect Udaipur itinerary

I spent three nights in Udaipur and was based in Hotel the Tiger. This is a basic but comfortable hotel right in the heart of the action. It is a stones throw from Gangaur Ghat and Bangalore Ki Haveli, with Jagadir Mandish Temple and City palace just 5 and 10 minutes walk away respectively.

However, the most impressive part of this hotel is the view from the rooftop terrace. Start your one day Udaipur itinerary in style with breakfast views of Lake Palace and Monsoon Palace. They also offer dinner. The restaurant is vegetarian only.

This is your perfect 1 day in Udaipur itinerary. Udaipur is known as the CIty of Lakes and is a must visit for any trip to Rajasthan, India.

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