There's only one "U" in my alphabetical listing today - my beloved Udaipur! This is one of the most glorious cities in the world with its lakes and mountains, palaces and fountains. And after monsoon season (July-September), the whole city is one huge garden, with bougainvillea everywhere and greenery you'll see nowhere else in India. I fell in love with Udaipur when I first went there 25 years ago and every time I return, my heart fills with joy.
Wonderful at any time of year except May (when the temperatures rise to 45C and above!), this city is home of palaces, lakes, bazaars and many more magical sights. It's a bustling place that attracts tourists from all over the world, but few get to see the real city like I do when I'm there, thanks to all my friends, who regularly take me behind the scenes - to the bazaar, the old city and out to the surrounding countryside.
Sunrise (above ... and I haven't altered this photograph in any way at all) is spectacular, as is sunset if you're on Lake Fateh Sagar (top). The city gets the best of both with its network of lakes and since the main city is built overlooking Lake Pichola, it's easy to find somewhere to sit around sunrise or sunset so you can enjoy the views. Sunrise in India is memorable, particularly during the winter months because you get the spectacular colours in the sun, unmatched anywhere else in the western hemisphere.
There are gardens here too - the wonderful manicured plot at Udaivilas (below), where you get magnificent views of Lake Pichola (above); the Nehru Gardens that I was able to walk to when I first visited due to woefully inadequate monsoon rain and an empty lake; and the Saheliyon-ki-Bari gardens in the centre of the city. Definitely a city to spend a few days in if you ever make it to India. I'm about to make my own garden here and you can follow my progress on Jardins sans Frontiers.