Udaipur, on Lake Pichola, has marble palaces, temples, luxury hotels, fine dining, arts, culture and shopping. Rodolfo Contreras / Alamy
Udaipur, on Lake Pichola, has marble palaces, temples, luxury hotels, fine dining, arts, culture and shopping. Rodolfo Contreras / Alamy

My Kind of Place: Udaipur, India



Why Udaipur?

With its marble palaces and five lakes encircled by hills, Udaipur is one of India’s most enchanting places. It’s also the site of some of the country’s finest luxury hotels, which vie with each other to pamper their customers.

The grand City Palace Museum, on the shore of the man-made Lake Pichola which was constructed in 1362, houses a superb collection of traditional miniature paintings, many celebrating the triumphs of the Mewar royal house.

This fiercely independent Rajput warrior clan claims to be descended from the Sun. They spurned marital alliances with the Mughal Empire and – alone among the princely states of India – did not deign to attend the 1911 Delhi Durbar, when King George V visited Delhi in his capacity as Emperor of India.

A comfortable bed

The Oberoi Udaivilas – consistently ranked as one of the world's best hotels – sprawls over 50 acres on the shore of Lake Pichola and includes its own wildlife sanctuary, including roaming deer and wild boar (54,470 rupees [Dh2,923] for a premier double with semi-private pool and breakfast; www.oberoihotels.com).

Located on its own private island, the Taj Lake Palace (www.tajhotels.com), a former royal residence dating back to the 18th century, cossets its guests from the moment they embark to be transported from a private jetty. Rooms vary in size and amenities but it's worth the splurge for a lake view (60,613 rupees [Dh3,253] for a lake-view double with breakfast).

The boutique Fateh Garh (www.fategarh.in) enjoys stunning views from its hilltop location just outside the city. It has its own excellent on-site restaurant, making it unnecessary to venture into the city to dine (20,180 rupees [Dh1,083] for a heritage double with breakfast).

Find your feet

After founding the city in 1559, Maharana Udai Singh II started construction of the City Palace on the shores of Lake Pichola. His successors extended the complex so it’s now the largest such royal structure in Rajasthan. Start from the Badi Pol (Great Gate) and allow at least half a day for a self-paced ramble through its many buildings, courtyards and gardens, led by the excellent audio guide. Vantage points offer fine views of the city and lake. The palace also houses exquisite collections of miniature paintings and historic photographs that provide glimpses of this royal house’s former grandeur.

From the palace, take a short stroll north to Jagdish Temple, built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651. Enter past an immense pair of stone elephants and ascend a steep flight of stairs to admire the ceiling and other sculptures, especially that of Lord Vishnu, carved from a single black stone slab.

Although originally built to view the monsoon clouds, Sajjan Garh Palace, also known as Monsoon Palace, offers a dazzling sunset panorama of Udaipur and its surroundings on any clear day during the year.

Meet the locals

Virasat Experiences (www.virasatexperiences.com) is a community tourism initiative that aims to showcase authentic Rajasthan.

Its heritage walks and fixed or custom itineraries allow visitors to meet artisans or tour surrounding villages.

Book a table

Udaipur’s most exclusive hotels generally restrict their restaurants to residents only. Taj Lake Palace guests should book a table for at least one evening meal at the hotel’s Bhairo rooftop restaurant, for the moonlit view and ambience.

Ambrai at the Amet Haveli (www.amethaveliudaipur.com) is open to all. Try the Rajasthani mutton speciality, laal mas (515 rupees [Dh27]) and dal makhani, a sumptuous black lentil dish (315 rupees [Dh17]). Finding the lakeside restaurant can be a bit tricky, so call ahead for precise directions.

Coffee is the main draw at the Udai Art Café (www.udaiartcafe.com), conveniently located near the Jagdish Temple and the City Palace complex. It also features breakfast, English or Greek style (400 rupees [Dh21]) and light fare – crêpes, sandwiches, salads – from 7am onwards.

Shopper’s paradise

Andraab (www.andraab.com) sells exquisite pashmina items – shawls, scarves, blankets – in attractive traditional and contemporary designs. Also check out its unique pashmina scarves, hand-knit in Srinagar by female relatives of the three Kashmiri brothers that run the company. Well-designed but less expensive items made from pashmina mixed with merino wool are also available.

Created by a member of Udaipur's royal family, Aaskha (www.eternalmewar.com) offers an attractive range of contemporary local Mewari crafts.

You can also admire jewellery from Jaipur's celebrated Amrapali Jewels (www.amrapalijewels.com).

Gem Arts Emporium (www.gemartsemp.com) specialises in traditional gem-centric pieces and silver.

Bougainvillaea (www.bougainvillea.co.in) also houses the work of some of India's best contemporary artists and photographers.

What to avoid

Plan your visit to avoid April to June, when day temperatures often top 40°C.

Don’t miss

The Jag Mandir Island Palace (www.hrhhotels.com), one of two palaces on Lake Pichola islands, can be reached by boat from the jetty near the City Palace.

It’s a must-see, particularly for those not staying at the Taj Lake Palace. Ferries depart hourly. Plan on a sunset cruise for the best views or go earlier in the day to stroll through the gardens and enjoy a meal.

Go there

Round-trip flights on Jet Airways (www.jetairways.com) from Dubai connect through either Delhi or Mumbai, and cost from Dh1,409, including taxes.

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.
Tightening the screw on rogue recruiters

The UAE overhauled the procedure to recruit housemaids and domestic workers with a law in 2017 to protect low-income labour from being exploited.

 Only recruitment companies authorised by the government are permitted as part of Tadbeer, a network of labour ministry-regulated centres.

A contract must be drawn up for domestic workers, the wages and job offer clearly stating the nature of work.

The contract stating the wages, work entailed and accommodation must be sent to the employee in their home country before they depart for the UAE.

The contract will be signed by the employer and employee when the domestic worker arrives in the UAE.

Only recruitment agencies registered with the ministry can undertake recruitment and employment applications for domestic workers.

Penalties for illegal recruitment in the UAE include fines of up to Dh100,000 and imprisonment

But agents not authorised by the government sidestep the law by illegally getting women into the country on visit visas.

How the UAE gratuity payment is calculated now

Employees leaving an organisation are entitled to an end-of-service gratuity after completing at least one year of service.

The tenure is calculated on the number of days worked and does not include lengthy leave periods, such as a sabbatical. If you have worked for a company between one and five years, you are paid 21 days of pay based on your final basic salary. After five years, however, you are entitled to 30 days of pay. The total lump sum you receive is based on the duration of your employment.

1. For those who have worked between one and five years, on a basic salary of Dh10,000 (calculation based on 30 days):

a. Dh10,000 ÷ 30 = Dh333.33. Your daily wage is Dh333.33

b. Dh333.33 x 21 = Dh7,000. So 21 days salary equates to Dh7,000 in gratuity entitlement for each year of service. Multiply this figure for every year of service up to five years.

2. For those who have worked more than five years

c. 333.33 x 30 = Dh10,000. So 30 days’ salary is Dh10,000 in gratuity entitlement for each year of service.

Note: The maximum figure cannot exceed two years total salary figure.

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

THE SCORES

Ireland 125 all out

(20 overs; Stirling 72, Mustafa 4-18)

UAE 125 for 5

(17 overs, Mustafa 39, D’Silva 29, Usman 29)

UAE won by five wickets

Mobile phone packages comparison
The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Need to know

Unlike other mobile wallets and payment apps, a unique feature of eWallet is that there is no need to have a bank account, credit or debit card to do digital payments.

Customers only need a valid Emirates ID and a working UAE mobile number to register for eWallet account.

Company Profile

Company: Astra Tech
Started: March 2022
Based: Dubai
Founder: Abdallah Abu Sheikh
Industry: technology investment and development
Funding size: $500m

Trippier bio

Date of birth September 19, 1990

Place of birth Bury, United Kingdom

Age 26

Height 1.74 metres

Nationality England

Position Right-back

Foot Right

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES

All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Saturday
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur (3.30pm)
Burnley v Huddersfield Town (7pm)
Everton v Bournemouth (7pm)
Manchester City v Crystal Palace (7pm)
Southampton v Manchester United (7pm)
Stoke City v Chelsea (7pm)
Swansea City v Watford (7pm)
Leicester City v Liverpool (8.30pm)

Sunday
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United (7pm)

Monday
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion (11pm)

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

Abu Dhabi traffic facts

Drivers in Abu Dhabi spend 10 per cent longer in congested conditions than they would on a free-flowing road

The highest volume of traffic on the roads is found between 7am and 8am on a Sunday.

Travelling before 7am on a Sunday could save up to four hours per year on a 30-minute commute.

The day was the least congestion in Abu Dhabi in 2019 was Tuesday, August 13.

The highest levels of traffic were found on Sunday, November 10.

Drivers in Abu Dhabi lost 41 hours spent in traffic jams in rush hour during 2019

 

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Power: 110 horsepower

Torque: 147Nm

Price: From Dh59,700

On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Rankings

ATP: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,955 pts; 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,320; 3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,475 (+1); 5. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 5,060 (+1); 6. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,845 (+1); 6. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,600 (-3); 7. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,110 (+2); 8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3,960; 9. John Isner (USA) 3,155 (+1); 10. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,140 (-3)

WTA: 1. Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7,030 pts (+3); 2. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6,290 (+4); 3. Simona Halep (ROM) 5,582 (-2); 4. Sloane Stephens (USA) 5,307 (+1); 5. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 5,100 (+3); 6. Angelique Kerber (GER) 4,965 (-4); 7. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 4,940; 8. Kiki Bertens (NED) 4,430 (+1); 9. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 3,566 (-6); 10. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 3,485 (+1)

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

'Skin'

Dir: Guy Nattiv

Starring: Jamie Bell, Danielle McDonald, Bill Camp, Vera Farmiga

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Company profile

Date started: May 2022
Founder: Husam Aboul Hosn
Based: DIFC
Sector: FinTech — Innovation Hub
Employees: eight
Stage: pre-seed
Investors: pre-seed funding raised from family and friends earlier this year

WISH

Directors: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn
Stars: Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk
Rating: 3.5/5

WWE Super ShowDown results

Seth Rollins beat Baron Corbin to retain his WWE Universal title

Finn Balor defeated Andrade to stay WWE Intercontinental Championship

Shane McMahon defeated Roman Reigns

Lars Sullivan won by disqualification against Lucha House Party

Randy Orton beats Triple H

Braun Strowman beats Bobby Lashley

Kofi Kingston wins against Dolph Zigggler to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Mansoor Al Shehail won the 50-man Battle Royal

The Undertaker beat Goldberg

 

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope 
Defenders: John Stones, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young, Danny Rose, Trent Alexander-Arnold 
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph 
Forwards: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck

SERIE A FIXTURES

Friday Sassuolo v Torino (Kick-off 10.45pm UAE)

Saturday Atalanta v Sampdoria (5pm),

Genoa v Inter Milan (8pm),

Lazio v Bologna (10.45pm)

Sunday Cagliari v Crotone (3.30pm) 

Benevento v Napoli (6pm) 

Parma v Spezia (6pm)

 Fiorentina v Udinese (9pm)

Juventus v Hellas Verona (11.45pm)

Monday AC Milan v AS Roma (11.45pm)

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Going grey? A stylist's advice

If you’re going to go grey, a great style, well-cared for hair (in a sleek, classy style, like a bob), and a young spirit and attitude go a long way, says Maria Dowling, founder of the Maria Dowling Salon in Dubai.
It’s easier to go grey from a lighter colour, so you may want to do that first. And this is the time to try a shorter style, she advises. Then a stylist can introduce highlights, start lightening up the roots, and let it fade out. Once it’s entirely grey, a purple shampoo will prevent yellowing.
“Get professional help – there’s no other way to go around it,” she says. “And don’t just let it grow out because that looks really bad. Put effort into it: properly condition, straighten, get regular trims, make sure it’s glossy.”

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Tips for entertaining with ease

·         Set the table the night before. It’s a small job but it will make you feel more organised once done.

·         As the host, your mood sets the tone. If people arrive to find you red-faced and harried, they’re not going to relax until you do. Take a deep breath and try to exude calm energy.

·         Guests tend to turn up thirsty. Fill a big jug with iced water and lemon or lime slices and encourage people to help themselves.

·         Have some background music on to help create a bit of ambience and fill any initial lulls in conversations.

·         The meal certainly doesn’t need to be ready the moment your guests step through the door, but if there’s a nibble or two that can be passed around it will ward off hunger pangs and buy you a bit more time in the kitchen.

·         You absolutely don’t have to make every element of the brunch from scratch. Take inspiration from our ideas for ready-made extras and by all means pick up a store-bought dessert.

 

AUSTRALIA SQUAD

Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Non-oil trade

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Japan grew by 34 per cent over the past two years, according to data from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre. 

In 10 years, it has reached a total of Dh524.4 billion. 

Cars topped the list of the top five commodities re-exported to Japan in 2022, with a value of Dh1.3 billion. 

Jewellery and ornaments amounted to Dh150 million while precious metal scraps amounted to Dh105 million. 

Raw aluminium was ranked first among the top five commodities exported to Japan. 

Top of the list of commodities imported from Japan in 2022 was cars, with a value of Dh20.08 billion.

What is graphene?

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged like honeycomb.

It was discovered in 2004, when Russian-born Manchester scientists Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were "playing about" with sticky tape and graphite - the material used as "lead" in pencils.

Placing the tape on the graphite and peeling it, they managed to rip off thin flakes of carbon. In the beginning they got flakes consisting of many layers of graphene. But as they repeated the process many times, the flakes got thinner.

By separating the graphite fragments repeatedly, they managed to create flakes that were just one atom thick. Their experiment had led to graphene being isolated for the very first time.

At the time, many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable. But examined under a microscope, the material remained stable, and when tested was found to have incredible properties.

It is many times times stronger than steel, yet incredibly lightweight and flexible. It is electrically and thermally conductive but also transparent. The world's first 2D material, it is one million times thinner than the diameter of a single human hair.

But the 'sticky tape' method would not work on an industrial scale. Since then, scientists have been working on manufacturing graphene, to make use of its incredible properties.

In 2010, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Their discovery meant physicists could study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties.