The surrounding countryside of Udaipur (India) offers a plethora of choices when it comes to exciting day trip destinations. The best way to move around is by hiring a car or a taxi for the entire day so that you can take as many stops as you want and stay in the area for as long as you care to do so. However, for the adventurous ones or for those who are on a tight budget, taking the bus makes for a cheaper and interesting alternative.
Here are some suggestions for those who want to explore the region’s rich historical and cultural heritage rooted in the splendid temples, lavish palaces and extraordinary ancient ruins found here.
Ranakpur, located about 40 miles from Udaipur and takes a little over an hour’s drive is a popular day trip destination from the City of Lakes. Tourists flock to this side of Rajasthan for the magnificent white marble Jain Temple complex. If you are a stickler for detail, then you will have a blast examining thousands of exquisite relief carvings that are as delicate as they are beautiful. Be sure not to miss the 1,444 pillars found in the Chaumukha Temple – each intricately carved pillar in different hues – is one of a kind because no two pillars are similarly designed!
Other temples worth checking out in this area include the Patriyon Ka Mandir for its unique casements and remarkable Jain figures. There is also Surya Narayan Temple nearby where you can gaze at the extraordinary image of the Sun God, standing mightily in a chariot drawn by his seven majestic horses.
A two hour drive south of Udaipur will take you to the beautiful palaces of Dungarpur. Art-lovers will delight in the art work on display at the fortress of Gujarat. Wander around the seven-story edifice and soak up the marvelous frescoes, stained-glass mosaics and exquisitely decorated tiles, among others. You also might want to explore the nearby tranquil shores of Gaibsagar Lake where more than a hundred species of birds can be found.
If you do not have much time to spend, then off you go to Nathdwara located only 30 miles away from Udaipur. It is home to the famous Shrinathji Temple where the 600 year old black marble statue of Krishna is on display. Expect to find a good number of pilgrims and believers when you go for a visit. You may not be allowed entry to the interior of the temple – if you are a non-Hindu – but you can linger near the entrance to catch sight of splendid Pichwai paintings depicting the life of Krishna. If you wonder what makes the paintings so eye-catching, it is the painted hand-spun cloth that makes the artwork so captivating.
You can also just go for a 30 minute drive from Udaipur to the nearby village of Eklingji where a sprawling 108-temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva can be found. A little further north is Nagda, home to the ancient capital of Mewar, where the temple ruins of Saas Bahu and Adbhutji make for an exciting and atmospheric getaway – a sure treat for the fans of sassy Lara Croft or daring Indiana Jones.