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Which is better Jaipur or Udaipur?

Discussion in 'Rajasthan' started by MichelleRayer, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. MichelleRayer

    MichelleRayer New Member

    I am going India and will be visiting Delhi and Rajasthan. When going Rajasthan, I am getting a bit confused to which destination I should choose.
    Both Jaipur and Udaipur seem so good to visit, but I would only have time to visit one of them. So I need to know which is better Jaipur or Udaipur?

    Which out of the two would show me what Rajasthan is really like?
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!

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    (Images from Wikimedia, Piviso, Wikimedia and Wikimedia)

    Overview

    The home of the Rajputs, Rajasthan, is one of the most vibrant states of India. With its numerous forts, palaces and temples, you enrich both your historical and religious side just by exploring the state. Out of all of its cities, two stand out, which are Jaipur and Udaipur. It can be tough deciding which of these destinations is the right one for you. Both offer you a glimpse of the bygone era, has their own charms and can give you an authentic Rajasthani experience. But let's give you a brief overview of these cities to help you understand what truly makes them unique.

    Jaipur is the largest city and the capital of Rajasthan. It is part of the Golden Triangle Tour along with Delhi and Agra. Also referred to as the Pink City of Rajasthan, Jaipur is as bustling as any other metro city. Yet there's this certain aura of royalty as you look into its majestic forts and palaces. Jaipur has the perfect balance of modernity and tradition, which is hard to witness in major cities. It's not stuck in time but it's not moving as fast as other metro cities. Even festivals are celebrated with such fervour in the city of Jaipur. While some tout the city as a touristy destination, a trip to Rajasthan won't be complete without exploring the busy streets of Jaipur.

    On the other hand, we have Udaipur, fondly referred to as the City of Lakes. In the dry desert state of Rajasthan, Udaipur stands out because of its lakes and even lush greeneries. Once the home of the mighty Mewar dynasty, the city also has an assortment of palaces that you can explore. Unlike Jaipur though, Udaipur is more of a serene destination. Perhaps its many lakes adds to the tranquil vibe of the city. Or maybe it's the way the city was planned which is very organised and well executed. Udaipur is also known as the Rajasthan's most romantic city, preferred by honeymoon couples or even families.

    Which is Better: Jaipur or Udaipur?

    Now we go to the comprehensive comparison of Jaipur and Udaipur. Both cities are worth visiting, that's for sure, but if you only have time to spare for one destination, this guide would help you decide which one is the best city to explore for you.

    1. Accessibility
    • Jaipur - Jaipur is easily accessible from major cities of India. It even has its very own airport, the Jaipur International Airport, which has domestic and international flights. It has local flights from cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and many more. For those coming in from Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Dubai, Muscat, Sharjah and Singapore, this airport is also directly connected to them via flight. You need to ride a taxi though or an auto rickshaw from the airport to Jaipur proper, as it is located about 12 kilometres away. Jaipur also has a number of railway stations but Jaipur Junction Railway Station is the main one. There are trains from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Mysore and many more. Some tourists prefer to reach Jaipur by bus though, especially if they're coming from Delhi. A number of private and government buses run between Delhi and Jaipur daily. Finally, for those who have their own vehicles, Delhi is connected to Jaipur via the National Highway 8. You can reach Jaipur within 4 to 5 hours of driving from Delhi. Whatever means of transportation you utilise, Jaipur can be easily reached from some of the major cities of India and even other countries.
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    Jaipur International Airport (Image from Wikimedia)
    • Udaipur - Udaipur is a bit more complicated to reach. It does have its very own airport, the Maharana Pratap Airport, located about 25 kilometres away from the city centre. It has domestic flights from cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai. There are no international flights though so if you're coming from another country, you can reach either Delhi or Jaipur first before venturing into Udaipur. There are no buses from the airport to the city centre so you need to hire a taxi to take you there. If reaching the city via train, its main railway station is the Udaipur City Railway Station. This railway station is directly connected to cities like Ahmedabad, Indore and Delhi. There are also direct buses from cities of Agra and Delhi to Udaipur. But you can also opt to reach Jaipur first and from there, ride another bus to Udaipur. If you're bringing your own vehicle, Udaipur is also connected to Delhi via National Highway 8. It takes a bit more time and effort to reach Udaipur as compared to Jaipur.
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    Udaipur Airport (Image from Rouge Tete)

    2. Best Time to Visit
    • Jaipur - Jaipur has a hot and humid climate almost all-year round. Summers, extending from March to June, can be very uncomfortable with temperatures reaching 40°C and beyond. This is not the best time to visit the region as sightseeing can prove to be difficult during summer. Monsoon season, extending from July to September, has temperatures lower than 40°C but humidity is still high. The last season, winter, from October to February, is the best time to explore Jaipur. Temperatures are very mild, barely exceeding 30°C, so you can explore the city as much as you would like.
    • Udaipur - Udaipur has a hot and humid climate too, but generally, temperatures here are lower than Jaipur. During summers, from March to June, temperatures are between 35°C to 40°C. It can be uncomfortable to explore the city during this time, as the heat can be unbearable. Monsoon season, from July to September, is a good time to explore the city. Its numerous lakes become fuller and more beautiful during this time. Humidity is still high though but bearable for the most part. The last season, winter, is the peak tourist season, extending from October to February. Temperatures remain on the high 20°C mark and can even reach below 10°C sometimes.
    3. Attractions
    • Jaipur - It would be difficult to explore most of Jaipur in a day or two. There are many attractions around the city that you need at least four days to fully enjoy your stay here. The prime attraction of the city is the Amber Fort and Palace. Located about 30 minutes away from Jaipur, this majestic fort palace is located upon a hillock. It overlooks the Maota Lake and has several structures within it, perhaps the Sheesh Mahal being the most famous one for its exquisite hall of mirrors. There's also the Jaigarh Fort, just about 15 minutes away of driving from the former fort. The fort was built primarily to protect the Amber Fort and Palace. It is also known for having the largest cannon on wheels in the world, known as the Jaivana. Even more exciting is reaching the fort via a secret tunnel from the former fort. Also worth visiting is the Nahargarh Fort, located close to the former forts. Built as a retreat palace for the king and his queens, the Madhavendra Bhawan is quite fascinating. It has a king's bedroom with secret corridors connecting it to the other rooms of his queens. It also gives a commanding view of the city of Jaipur, especially during night time. Next is the City Palace of Jaipur, a prime example of the fusion of Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. The palace complex is set upon a huge expanse of land, with vast courtyards and gardens. Worth mentioning here is the Diwan-i-Aam, where you can find the world's largest sterling vessels. Not all parts of the palace complex though can be visited as the descendants of the royal family still live here. Another landmark of the city is the Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds. Its outer facade is a mixture of red and pink sandstone, the main theme of the city. It has over 900 small windows decorated with lattice works, which used to enable the royal ladies to look out and observe the street festivities without being seen. Last but not the least is the Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomy observatory with 14 instruments used to predict time, the position of the stars and even eclipses. It also has the Samrat Yantra, the world's largest sun dial.
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    Hawa Mahal in Jaipur (Image from Ankit Agarwal)
    • Udaipur - Let's begin by highlighting the most beautiful lakes of Udaipur. Starting with the Lake Pichola, an artificial freshwater lake built around the 13th century but later enlarged by Maharana Udai Singh. The lake is very picturesque especially with the several manmade islands dotting it. The Lake Palace is located amidst one of the islands of the lake. This heritage hotel was built around the 17th century by Maharana Jagat Singh II as a retreat mansion. It has been converted into a luxury heritage hotel and stands as one of Udaipur's prime attractions. Next is the Fateh Sagar Lake, also a manmade lake created by Maharana Jai Singh. You can visit the islands within the lake as well including the famous Nehru Garden. The second largest manmade lake in Asia, the Jaisamand Lake, is usually off the tourist's radar. It is located about 50 kilometres away from the city centre of Udaipur. Going to the heritage sites around Udaipur, there's the City Palace. The palace complex is so huge that you would need a day or two to fully explore it. The palace complex would give you a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle of the royals, as you take a look around the personal belongings of the Mewar dynasty. It even has a vintage car museum that showcases the vehicles used by the royals back then. The Monsoon Palace and Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary can be combined in one trip, as they're further away from the city centre of Udaipur. Both are located about 12 kilometres away from Udaipur. The Monsoon Palace was a vantage point, a place where the monsoon clouds were observed back then. Now, it gives one a commanding view of the city of Udaipur. Outside the palace is the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can enjoy viewing the wild animals of the region, either by walking or by a battery-operated vehicle.
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    Jaisamand Lake in Udaipur (Image from Festive Tours)

    4. Activities
    • Jaipur - If you're wondering whether there are any adventure activities that you can do in Jaipur, well, there are plenty! First is the hot air balloon safari offered by Sky Waltz. You can feel like a bird as you float into the sky amidst a large hot air balloon, overlooking the Maota Lake and Amber Fort and Palace. There are two hot air balloon safaris daily, except during summer season when only an early morning hot air balloon safari is available. You can also indulge in an elephant ride to reach the Amber Fort and Palace. Alternatively, if riding an elephant isn't really your interest, head on to the Elefantastic Elephant Farm. You can get closer to the majestic elephants and even understand how they are taken care of the locals. You can also take a boat ride into the Man Sagar Lake and get a closer view of the beautiful Jal Mahal, also known as Water Palace. Finally, before your visit to Jaipur ends, interact with the locals of the Chokhi Dhani Village. Watch cultural performances such as magic shows, puppet shows and acrobatic shows, these are sure to tickle the fancy of the little ones.
    • Udaipur - Udaipur has many lakes where you can indulge in a serene boat ride in. While most tourists prefer the Lake Pichola, head on over to the lesser known lakes like the Jaisamand Lake. Here, you can certainly enjoy the tranquility and quietness as compared to the more popular Lake Pichola. Don't worry as it is every bit as beautiful as the popular lake of Udaipur. Sky Waltz also offers a hot air balloon safari overlooking the entire city of Udaipur. Get a commanding view of the city, from a bird's eye view, with this ride. Shilpgram is Udaipur's version of the Chokhi Dhani Village. It's best visited at night time, when cultural performances can be seen from the in-house amphitheatre. You can also take home some souvenirs here, handcrafted by the locals of the city.
    5. Stay Options
    • Jaipur - There are more staying options in Jaipur than in Udaipur. You can choose over 800 staying options, ranging from luxury hotels and of course, budget hotels. Top notch hotels such as the Rambagh Palace and The Oberoi Rajvilas have room rates over Rs. 50,000 per night. But if you love luxury or even feeling like a maharaja, then these hotel options can give you that experience. On the other hand, more affordable five-star hotels such as ITC Rajputana and The Hilton won't set you back more than Rs. 10,000 per night. Four-star hotels are good options for those who don't want to splurge as much but want their stay to be luxurious still. For that, you have hotels such as Fortune Select Metropolitan and Lemon Tree Premier, with room rates not exceeding Rs. 7,000 per night. For those who are in a budget, for as little as Rs. 1,500 per night, you can enjoy a stay in decent hotels such as Hotel Kalyan and Hotel Savoy.
    • Udaipur - There are over 400 stay options around Udaipur, ranging from luxury hotels to even budget guest houses. If you have the money to spare, five-star hotels that are worth staying in Udaipur are The Oberoi Udaivilas and the Taj Lake Palace. Keep in mind that you need to spend over Rs. 40,000 per night in order to stay in any of these hotels. More affordable five-star hotel options are the Trident Udaipur and Ananta Udaipur, with room rates ranging between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per night. There are also plenty of three-star and four-star hotels within the city which offer top-notch facilities for lower rates. Best reviewed hotels for that category are that of the Cambay Resort and Fern Residency, which has room rates under Rs. 5,000 per night. For those in a budget, try out hotels like Dayal Hotel and Hotel Nayee Haveli, which gives you the best value for your money without compromising on standards.
    6. Dining Options
    • Jaipur - Whether you're in the mood for Indian, Asian, Chinese or Italian cuisine, Jaipur has plenty of dining options to cater to your taste buds. For the ultimate indulgence, fine dining restaurants are available in most five-star hotels of the city. Jaipur Marriott Hotel's very own Okra has won the hearts of buffet lovers. With a wide variety of cuisine ranging from Indian to International ones, Okra offers a fine dining experience like no other. If you're someone who loves a good view while dining, the Peacock Rooftop Restaurant is Jaipur's best contender for that. Apart from the delicious Italian and Indian dishes, you can enjoy the view of the city of Jaipur while dining. If you want to sample Rajasthan's cuisine, then you can try out the Shree Balaji Restaurant. You can enjoy an unlimited Rajasthani thali here for a minimal price. And don't forget to take a look around Jaipur, you can try out the local street foods this way through the numerous road food stalls in the city.
    • Udaipur - There's no shortage of rooftop restaurants around Udaipur, giving you a beautiful view of the City of Lakes while filling your tummy with yummy delights. Serving grilled dishes is the Charcoal by Carlsson, which is also a rooftop restaurant. It is pretty small but cozy and always serves meals to guests with a smile. The Jaiwana Haveli Rooftop Restaurant offers a view of the Lake Pichola along with the City Palace. They serve Indian dishes, almost like home-cooked meals to guests. The Greco House Restaurant is also a good choice as they offer a wide variety of cuisines, from Indian, Greek, Italian, to Chinese and also has a great view of the city from the rooftop. If you're looking for more affordable restaurants that serve authentic Rajasthani cuisine, then try out the Natraj Dining Hall or the Krishna Dal Bati Restaurant.
    7. Excursions
    • Jaipur - You can explore Jaipur alone or in combination with the cities of Agra and Delhi, to complete the Golden Triangle Tour. Both cities are under 300 kilometres away from Jaipur and easily reachable by road. Around Rajasthan, there are also nearby cities that you can visit close to Jaipur. Pushkar is just 145 kilometres away from Jaipur and is the home to the only Brahma temple in India. Neemrana is just 155 kilometres away from Jaipur and is known for the Neemrana Fort and Palace. You can also indulge in adventure activities here like the flying fox. Just about 115 kilometres away from Jaipur is Shekhawati, famed for its grand havelis teeming with beautiful frescoes, found nowhere else in the state. Last is the Ranthambore National Park, about 168 kilometres away from Jaipur. It is one of India's most popular national parks and also home to large number of tigers.
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    Pushkar (Image from Wikimedia)
    • Udaipur - Closest to Udaipur is the tragic city of Chittorgarh, about 117 kilometres away. This is where the Chittorgarh Fort is located, a fortress full of stories about sacrifice, love and devotion. About 103 kilometres away from Udaipur is Kumbhalgarh, where you can find the Kumbhalgarh Fort. It is believed to be the second longest fortification in the world, after the Great Wall of China. Its history is related to the Chittorgarh Fort so if you can, combine a trip for these two as much as possible. Just about 93 kilometres away from Udaipur is the city of Ranakpur where you can find the Jain Temple. This Jain Temple is exquisitely carved, so much that no two of its pillars are carved alike. Finally, you can also visit Rajasthan's only hill station, Mount Abu, located about 163 kilometres away from Udaipur.
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    Chittorgarh (Image from Wikimedia)

    8. Required Stay Duration
    • Jaipur - For covering the main attractions around Jaipur, you can allot at least four days for that. Amber Fort and Palace in itself requires a whole day to explore. If you take into account the other attractions, you need at least two days to fully visit them. And the remaining one day can be a buffer day for shopping or in cases of delays or postponements in your schedule. While you can explore Jaipur in two days or less, it can be a bit rushed and tiring to do so. If you want to truly immerse yourself in the Rajasthani culture, then allot a maximum of four days for the city. On the other hand, if you decide to incorporate Jaipur into the Golden Triangle Tour, most travel companies allot at least three days for the three cities.
    • Udaipur - Udaipur can be easily explored within two days. However, if you're coming from a further city, you need to allot an extra day to reach the city as it is located on the inner part of Rajasthan, unlike Jaipur. For sightseeing though, you can cover most of the attractions within two days. An extra day can be allotted for shopping or leisure sightseeing. Do spend at least a day in the City Palace of Udaipur so that you can explore all its nooks and corners.
    Conclusion

    So have you decided yet? Jaipur is a big and bustling city, complete with modern attractions and heritage sites. It isn't as chaotic as Delhi or as lively during the night as Mumbai, but it has its very own charm. It's a city filled with beautiful forts and palaces yet still able to keep up with the modern pace of life. If you love forts, Jaipur has a number of them to keep you busy. Even the palaces of Jaipur are architecturally incredible. For an authentic Rajasthani culture experience, there's the Chokhi Dhani Village to cover that part. Busy as it might seem, Jaipur shouldn't be missed out when looking into an authentic experience of the state of Rajasthan.

    Udaipur is a very serene city, filled with romantic views of lakes. While it isn't fully rural, it doesn't have much of the hustle and bustle of Jaipur. Even on the outskirts of the city, you can enjoy lush greenery which is hard to find in the desert state. The royal palaces of Udaipur, the City Palace and the Lake Palace, can give you a glimpse of the lavishness of the Mewar dynasty. If what you seek is a bit of a tranquil destination, Udaipur fits that category well. And for an authentic Rajasthani culture experience, Udaipur has the Shilpgram as well. If you want to stay away from the crowds or the commercial appeal of metro cities, Udaipur is a good option for you.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip to Rajasthan!
     

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