Thursday, 11 November 2010

Glorious gardens in Udaipur

There's no better place to watch the sunrise than the lakeside gardens at Udaivilas, Udaipur - part of the Oberoi Hotels group and definitely the best-kept garden in my favourite Rajasthan city. As readers know, I was there last week opening Disha Hospital, but once I had time to relax, I got out into the gardens and spent time on the lakes, which are absolutely full this year, thanks to a wonderful monsoon season.
Udaivilas is well positioned overlooking Lake Pichola, and there are 30-acres of landscaped gardens that complement the Mewar style-architecture of the hotel. The buildings and gardens were designed by Bill Bensley, who is renowned throughout Asia for his innovative hotel work, and the Mughal-inspired, stepped water garden (above) is one of the highlights of this property, with its fantastic sun king.
On the lake side of the property, the gardens flow downhill and provide a wonderful green haven away from the bustling city centre of Udaipur, with views of the City Palace and the famous Taj Hotel in the middle of Lake Pichola. These gardens are so immaculately maintained that it's hard to believe you are in India here! And even if you're not staying at the hotel, it's worth going for lunch, just so you can enjoy the gardens - it's a wonderful respite from the dusty city, particularly when the weather's hot.
The water garden theme continues on the lake side of the property and there are stepped terraces, waterfalls and a sloping garden with immaculately tended lawns, flowering shrubs, agaves and rocky outcrops planted with ornamental grasses.
Arriving by car, there's a tree-lined avenue which leads to the main hotel entrance and the first inner courtyard garden (above) has a central marble lotus pool with striking black and white tiled walkways. There are swathes of bougainvillea everywhere and you can smell the fragrant scent of frangipani. This is quite different to Udaipur's city garden, Sahelion-ki-Bari, with its splendid avenue of Royal Palms and crowds of visitors.
At the bottom of the garden adjacent to the lake, there's a lily pond (above) and if you're up in time, you'll get a wonderful view of the sunrise from here. This garden is a real treat, so don't miss it if you get to Udaipur! 

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I wish i could travel around and see so many amazing things like you do.

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  2. I did miss it when i was in udaipur, the stepped water garden looks superb, must go back some day,

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  3. Magical, it is stunning, thank you for sharing.

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  4. The water features are just spectacular. I have to admit, around the world they have such beautiful displays using water. I think far better than in the US from what I have seen. It also seems to have such meaning too.

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  5. Enjoyed this so much. Stunning and beautiful.

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  6. What a pleasure it is to visit so many gardens with you. Until the time when I can see them in person, I don't know if I could have found a better guide, nor more graceful set of eyes.

    Thank you for your posts!

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  7. Beautiful garden with spectacular water features! I like the first photo the scene overlooking the serene lake and the last photo reminds me of Monet's garden scene.

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