Udaipur: A ride into history, nature and art!
Udaipur is a bustling city today. Yet the number of sacred forts and majestic palaces in the city tell tales of its rich and proud heritage. A tale of the Mewar dynasty that has ruled unconquered.
Because of its setting in the neighbourhood of the Arravali Hills there, the roads around this glistening Rajasthan city are quite the motorcyclist's delight. The tarmac is smooth, the corners are twisty and the views are awe-inspiring. Here are four rides you can enjoy from Udaipur.
A ride to seek some blessings
On a nippy winter weekend, start off from Udaipur and ride to Ranakpur - 90km away. It's a fantastic and leisurely ride.
Ranakpur is one of the biggest and most important Jain temples in India. It's a quiet and peaceful place. You will arrive here within two hours of starting off from Udaipur. It dates back to the 15th century when Rana Kumbha of Mewar gave a large stretch of land in a quiet and scenic valley, deep in the Aravallis, to the Jains. The main temple is the Chaumukha Temple, or Four-Faced Temple.
A day-trip to the birthplace of a legend
Kumbalgarh is another great ride, about 100km away from Udaipur. The mighty fortress of Kumbalgarh, perched atop a hill, was founded by MaharanaKumbha in the year 1458 and its walls stretch for approximately 36kms. The road leading there is a rider's delight with nice hill roads and tricky turns and spectacular views. Try to catch the sunset on the way back.
The fort is quite a wonder to explore; the walls have fantastic views and are wide enough to accommodate two trucks side by side. And while you are here, you must also visit the tower of Maha Rana Pratap, who was born here.
A ride for some art and craft
Nathdwara is not just famous for its Shreenathji Temple. The ride from Udaipur is a scenic 50km journey and along the way, you can also stop at the Eklingji Lake and temple. Nathdwara is known for its cloth paintings called Pichwais, handmade toys, figurines of terracotta and ivory and for its delicious milk sweets. The road to there is the old NH8 which now has less traffic thanks to the new road to Jaipur. It is very scenic. Ride past Eklingji and stop at the Bagela Lake.
The Radha Krishna Kund is a very peaceful place where you could park your bike and sit there to relax. It is believed to be a holy place.
A ride to the battlefield of titans
For a dose of history and a fantastic riding road go to Haldighati that is 50km north of Udaipur. Maha Rana Pratap and King Akbar had their famous face off over here in which both sides bore heavy losses and there was no clear winner. Start off from the pretty Pichola Lake and ride to the Udaipur Bypass. This is good for some straight-line speed. The narrow road from the bypass to Haldighati is good for some cornering with your bike.
Today you can actually stand there in that narrow ravine and imagine how epic the battle must have been. Just 2 Km west of Haldighati is Chetak's tomb. This brave horse was seriously wounded in the battle and yet carried his master to safety and then died after crossing stream.