Udaipur, India

Shimmering Lake Pichola close to Udaipur is one of the city’s main draws; the largest of the city’s many lakes, it has a starring role in James Bond film Octopussy, when the suave spy emerges from it disguised as an alligator. Take a boat trip across the languid waters to beautiful Bagore-Ki-Haveli, a palatial 18th-century mansion housing colourful Mewar artwork and traditional costumes, or visit the extravagantly decorated City Palace museum, to discover the story of the city’s origins. The shady, bougainvillea-filled paths, marble elephants, embellished pavilions and grand fountains in Saheliyon-ki-Bari (the ‘garden of maids’) are a must-see – legend has it, the king designed the garden himself to present to his queen-to-be and her 48 maids, so it may give your other half some ideas…

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When to go

The best time to visit is in winter, from September to March, when the tropical climate gives way to milder temperatures. In summer, temperatures soar, making it uncomfortably hot for visitors.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Jet Airways, Air India, and SpiceJet fly daily from Delhi (just over an hour’s journey) and Mumbai (around a 90-minute flight). A local taxi from the airport to the city centre is around INR500-750, but most hotels organise transfers. Depending on where you’re staying, you may need to hail a tuk tuk, the best way to navigate the city’s narrow streets – the price varies, depending on your haggling skills.
  • Trains

    Udaipur City Railway Station has direct connections to Jaipur, Delhi and Mumbai with Northwestern Railways. The Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and Maharajah Express have carriages that recall Raj-worthy elegance.
  • Automobiles

    Udaipur is easily accessible by road from most major cities, but driving in India is not for the faint-hearted; be prepared for wayward goats, tuk tuks, motorbikes and the odd bovine road-block.