Udaipur, India

Known for being India’s most romantic city, Udaipur and its surrounding glittering lakes made my three-day stay last April nothing short of a dream. Perhaps my favorite destination in the northern state of Rajasthan, Udaipur exceeded all of my expectations.

Everything I had read in preparation for my month in India had suggested that there is really only so much one can actually do to ready themselves for a such a trip—that all of the articles, travel blogs and lonely planet guides couldn’t possibly fully brace someone for the challenging sensory experiences to come. (This, I found to be true within my first five minutes outside of the New Delhi airport). But although I had done extensive research, nothing online had prepared me for the awe-inspiring beauty of Udaipur.

The city, with its winding streets crowded with countless vendors and slow-moving cattle, is built beside the stunning Lake Pichola. Along the horizon sits the subtle backdrop of the beautiful Aravalli Hills. During the day, the lake’s rippling water reflects the pearly-white marble of the City Palace. In the evening, the still body of water—and even the air itself—seem to take on the vibrant orange, pink and purple hues of the setting sun, which can only be properly enjoyed during a rooftop dinner or boat ride around the lake. (I was sure to do both!)

I have to admit, however, that my three days in Udaipur were rather relaxed in comparison to the rest of my time in India. But can you blame me? With views this beautiful it would have been rude not to spend a few hours a day simply marveling at my surroundings over a pot of coffee. The Rainbow Restaurant, with its gorgeous rooftop tables and cushioned seating positioned along the Lal ghat, was one of my favorite places to do just that.

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