Think of India as many things but romance and tranquility do not spring to mind. Udaipur, however, is a city that is arguably one of the most romantic destinations in the world, with its beauty being infamous. Known as ‘Venice of the East,’ Udaipur is a lakeside paradise of shimmering marble, with the city tightly wrapped around the crystal clear Lake Pichola. It’s impossible not to fall in love with.
Udaipur is exhilarating, the winding streets are crammed with Mediterranean-inspired cafes, music shops and local craft lessons are offered at every turn. Rickshaws buzz around the narrow roads and cows walk around oblivious to the traffic they leave in their wake. Buildings are stacked on top of each other making it seem small and crowded, but when you reach the edge of the city everything just falls away and you’re left looking out on to a vast scene of mountains and a couple of boats leisurely bopping across the lake.
For the perfect evening of romance, take a riverboat cruise along the lake at sunset on a gondola-like-boat, which will take you on a route that follows the city edge and up to the magnificent City Palace. The intense orange and yellow hues as the sun sets behind the rugged folds of the Aravalli Hills illuminating the city making it appear to be painted gold. The night doesn’t end there, step off the boat and take a wander to a dance show that is put on by an independent production. Set in the ruins of a palace immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Udaipur, as locals perform their traditional dances.
Discover the early morning serenity of the city by waking early and heading to a local yoga class. The traditional breathing exercises and gentle stretches are made only more relaxing as the natural breeze and sun beams through the shutters of the room. A short walk from the yoga studio is the Sun and Moon Rooftop Restaurant, the perfect place to sip delicious coffee and enjoy the panoramic views over the whole city.
Take a break from wandering, and visit Janak Arts, a locally owned homestay that welcomes visitors to take place in a variety of workshops. Within a minute of being here, I found myself with an intricately painted elephant on my finger nail, learning how to make masala chai from scratch followed by tucking into some homemade curry on the veranda, and booking a slot to get my palms read. A place that is so welcoming and the willingness to teach tourists their ways is humbling.
There is no better place to get your palms read than Udaipur, spirituality is embedded into day to day life here. As I sat across from the reader, giving only my name and birth date, my personality was broken down according to star signs and the lines on my palm. At times it felt like he knew me better than myself, thoughts I had had but never really paid any attention to were brought up and exposed. The experience was mystical, eye-opening and enlightening.
The backdrop of the City Palace’s soft meringue-like roofs against the green hills was the perfect setting for James Bond’s ‘Octopussy,’ the 1983 blockbuster chose this town to film several scenes. Filming at the ‘floating’ Lake Palace, a luxurious hotel only accessible exclusively by boat so, many are only able to admire from afar.
If your chasing romance look no further than Udaipur.
Hello, I’m Samantha. A twenty-two-year-old fashion communication and promotion graduate. An avid shopper, lover of interiors and good coffee addict.