• udaipur india soul searching

A Soul Searcher’s Guide to Udaipur

This is a follow up to My Guide to Udaipur, so if you missed that post, start there!

Udaipur is the lake city of India… the Venice of India… the romantic city of the subcontinent. It’s everything: VIBRANT, cultural, but most importantly, it’s the most relaxed place in India AND is still quite touristy.

It’s a balance where you can experience the “real” India and meet other travelers.

If you are coming here to “find yourself” start with this soul-searching guide to Udaipur. You will transform your mind, body, and soul. You might come out a little more artistic and limber, and you will definitely cry happy tears.

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

Your Soul Searching Guide

1. Art Classes.

I took classes at Ashoka Arts, located in Hotel Gangaur. I was taught to draw and paint an elephant on silk. If I can end up with a perfect drawing of an elephant, than anyone can. I am not artistically inclined.

It was supposed to cost 150 rupee, but in more detail he explained, “that’s per hour… most people take one hour… but you were not good. You took 3”. Yeah, yeah. So instead of 450 rupee, we settled on 300 since I wasn’t informed prior of the time limit.

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

2. Volunteer at the animal shelter.

You can do this in many places in India, but Udaipur is well known for animal rufuge. Blogger ‘Wandering Earl’ wrote about his time at the same animal shelter (be cautious clicking- some of the photos are pretty graphic).

Seeing the struggling street dogs and cows in India will break your heart. This is a great way to give back and let go of the guilt. Plus, you can feed a baby cow with a bottle.

3. YOGA & meditation.

my first Indian yoga class was here in Udaipur. I was hooked. It was one-on-one with Prakesh (sun) because I went off-season and no one else signed up for classes. Talk about lucky!

The class itself is free (that’s how you know it’s a good teacher… he’s so good he knows he can get by on tips alone… but do make sure to tip what you think it’s worth).

By the end of the week I was all twisted up and standing on my head alone while he walked around me chanting and wafting incense. Yoga in India is very different than the U.S. It’s difficult but very rewarding… and very early in the A.M. so the sun rises during class.

Prakesh is from 8-9 A.M. which is later than most classes I took and 7 to 8 P.M. I went twice a day. Prakesh is located at Chandpole, near Dadiya Devra Temple, cell no. 9660567621. 

Get henna done after, have some tea, and get to bed early for tomorrow’s yoga!

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

4. Treks.

I didn’t do one here because I was headed north but signs were up all around offering them. I did trek in many other locations in India and it’s a great way to get out of town and usually a tour guide will teach you more about his hometown.

If you can’t manage to budget in a trek while in Udaipur, like me, then find a replacement. Do some physical activity like jumping jacks or push ups and take a walk after to take in the scenery. I literally hate working out, but for some reason while backpacking I do a little bit each day. That, along with eating on a budget and carrying a heavy bag leaves me in the best shape after a trip.

5. Get an Indian massage.

Traditional Indian deep tissue massages are a little painful but so enjoyable. If you do not ask for deep tissue you will be given an Ayurvedic oil massage. These are all about getting blood flow all around your body to the tips of your fingers and toes, to rejuvenate you.

They drip oil nonstop, some literally have a second person continuously pouring the oil. Once I got one in a women’s basement and she used… cooking oil. I didn’t want to be rude, so I let her then took a 2 hour shower. You can also learn massage here like I did in McLeod Ganj, but probably only Indian massage.

500 rupees is a fair price for an hour massage from someone on the street. In a real shop you could pay 700 rupees. I wouldn’t pay 1,000 because you can for sure get a cheaper massage. This is the same all over Rajasthan (although not in hotels and spas). You will feel like a new person after your massage and your budget will still be intact.

6. Boat Tour & Museum.

The tour is around the floating palace in Lake Pichola. I found this a little lame… I could see it just fine from the shore, but they do let you get off at an island (Jag Mandir, not the main Lake Palace) You have about 10 minutes to get back on the boat and one girl got bitten by a snake!!!

On the side, it was only 100 rupees, 200 at City Palace if you have a camera (do yourself a favor and skip the last one).

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

7. Watch the evening’s traditional dancing.

As the kids go up and down the lines across each other, they spin, jump and tap sticks against each other sticks to the beat of the music for over two hours. It’s amazing and actually sprung up some happy tears.

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching

8. Shop the Hippie markets.

Ask the women working if they can do henna in their homes, or where to get a nice piercing. They are the locals; they can answer all your questions.

Don’t be surprised if when you look at a scarf the owner pulls out 200 others that are similar (same same but different). He’ll unfold them all! But you can’t worry about that- it’s the way they run shops in India.

What to buy? Ali baba pants if you like them, silk scarves (don’t get wool because it’s so hot!), Rajasthani wall hangings, and gold jewelry. I prefer the ear chains and bracelets that connect to rings. You can also pick up silk skirts, silver bangles, and camel leather.

Udaipur is where I picked up bean-bag shells that are hand sewed patches of traditional Indian designs. They were 100 rupees a piece. What a steal! Some might read this and think “shopping isn’t soul searching” if you think that, then you’re not doing it right. Just kidding, sort of; I find shopping peaceful and finding gifts for myself and others makes me extremely happy!

udaipur india soul searching

udaipur india soul searching





About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Mridula April 18, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

    There is so much more to do in Udaiour! Lovely ideas and beautiful pictures.

  2. Katie April 18, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    I adore that elephant photo! And the art you made, what a great souvenir. Can’t believe he told you how “not good” you were – lol. I don’t care what anyone else thinks – shopping can be a little soul searching. Markets often reflect a lot of culture, and they make me happy, so there. ;)

    • Rachel Jones April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Yeah, Indians are pretty straight forward people lol. Shopping is my favorite soul searching activity on the list! :)

  3. Mani April 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    I love the art pieces and those bean bag shells are amazing!

    • Rachel Jones April 19, 2014 at 5:43 am - Reply

      I love the bean bags and of course they are sitting in my closet at my parents house- the downfall of staying on the move! Although one day, i’ll have a really interestingly decorated house! haha

  4. Rebekah April 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I think shopping can be one of the most accessible ways to interact with people when traveling. I’m shameless about asking tons of questions about how things are made and the origins of a craft.

    • Rachel Jones April 19, 2014 at 5:44 am - Reply

      It’s always a bummer when the origin is a sneaky factory though! Happens a lot in India, although they play it off like it was crafted just down the road! It’s great when you find pieces that are unique.

  5. Pam April 19, 2014 at 11:23 am - Reply

    This post really makes me wanna travel to India NOW!

  6. Shalu Sharma April 20, 2014 at 4:03 am - Reply

    The cooking oil must have been mustard oil. As you say its used for cooking and also for putting on your skin. Its very popular in the villages. Culture difference between west and east I suppose.

    • Rachel Jones April 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Mustard oil, that’s interesting. I hadn’t heard of it!

  7. Rebekah Voss April 20, 2014 at 4:53 am - Reply

    Urgent to do: print out this blog post and attempt to do each and every item in a single day. Is it possible? Thanks for the great ideas. India is on my list for later in the year if I can possibly tear myself away from Vietnam. (:

    • Rachel Jones April 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      haha it might be a stretch but go for it! I hope you make it this way- it’s such an interesting country

  8. Anu @ Country Hopping Couple April 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Must have been a great experience! I loved your Elephant painting! While I know there’s plenty of sight seeing things to do in Udaipur, the experiences you’ve mentioned are very unique! And lovely pictures!

    • Rachel Jones April 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      That’s my favorite thing about India, the activites you can spend your day doing are so different to other countries, and because they are affordable you can try a little of everything. Thanks about the elephant, you like it more than my teacher did lol

  9. Renuka April 21, 2014 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Lovely post! I, too, have been to Udaipur, but didn’t do so many things! :) You have managed to explore it quite deeply. Shocked to know that a girl was bitten by a snake!!!

    • Rachel Jones April 21, 2014 at 8:34 am - Reply

      I was waking up earlier than I ever had, eating veg only for first time in my life, doing yoga… I had a LOT of energy! I wish I would have stuck with it. I was shocked about the snake too!

  10. Elora April 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Good grief, more and more I just want to skidaddle to India and just soak everything in–you are just wooing me over there with your posts!

    • Rachel Jones April 22, 2014 at 2:36 am - Reply

      muahaha that’s my evil plan… I should India’s tourism board and be like “now listen.. all these new visas .. those were b/c of me.. ” But in all seriousness, it is my plan! India is amazing and I hope that everyone who reads these and thinks that will shake the negative out and come try it here!

  11. Saugaato Ray June 30, 2014 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Very interesting posts and a great read. Do log to our site http://www.aastitva.com and http://www..com/aastitvabeing if you are interested to Body-Mind-Soul connection healing. :) God Bless!

  12. Amit September 29, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    Cheers Girl!

    This is awesome stuff. Congrats to u! I am an indian and met my Czech girl somewhere in the jungles of Nepal. We both love travelling and extensively traveled together in India in my bike much to the amusement of my countrymen. i have many stories to tell just like you while my girlfriend can count 10x stories about India and Indian culture from her perspective. She before meeting me have already extensively traveled in India.

    Currently living in Goa for next 6 months and than lets see where destiny would take us together for an another life chapter and happy moments

    • Rachel Jones October 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      That’s great to hear. Sounds like you have a fabulous next few months ahead of you. Goa is great and you’ll love it. Enjoy!!

  13. Jessie October 27, 2014 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel. I’m a kiwi coming for (*sob so short!) a month long trip to India this February. How long would you recommend spending in Udaipur? Great, great blog btw. Experiences in India from a solo-traveling chicka who isn’t quite a “backpacker” but still wants to be on the backpacker budget was just what I was looking for (we’re one of the same kind :) )

    • Rachel Jones October 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      I think 2-3 days in Udaipur. Def no longer than that! and nice to meet someone whos also a hippie in heels!

  14. Frances August 1, 2015 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, I loved your article on Udaipur. I am going there myself next week. It’ll be my second time actually, but this time I will skip all the touristic visits and dig into the classes and courses! Your tips were amazing. Thanks for sharing!
    Can you remember where you saw the youths dancing in the street (“7. Watch the evening’s traditional dancing”) I get tired of the shows for tourists and I wish I can mingle with the locals more… Thanks a million!
    Frances – Rome

    • Rachel Jones August 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      Awesome, enjoy the classes!

      The dance was just on the main center of town, I think they do it often because some other travelers have mentioned they saw the same thing. It was a big event so I’m not sure. I would ask a local.

  15. Jade October 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Please would you let me know where in Udaipur you stayed?? I would love to go and take the art classes and yoga sessions there. Your blog always inspires me.

    My email address is [email protected] (I don’t know if I’ll get a message with your reply??)

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon! xxx



  16. Agnes October 8, 2015 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Your posts are amazing, they inspired and guided lots of my travels for my upcoming trip to India! :)
    Silly question: what’s a “proper” donation for a class with Prakash?
    Thank you!

    • Rachel Jones October 9, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Hmm I can’t remember, lots of yoga classes go for 300 Rs. a class or as low as 200 Rs. so since he doesn’t charge you could give that or even 100 Rs. if you’re on a tight budget.

      • Agnes October 10, 2015 at 9:30 am - Reply

        Thank you Rachel! :)

  17. Katie August 5, 2016 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel! This is my first comment, and I just wanted to thank you for having such an extensive blog on India! I think i’ve read all of your India informational posts atleast 3 times over. Im so excited to put all my knowledge to use, and I definitely feel prepared now.

    Thanks again!

    Also, im so excited for Udaipur; I have a feeling I will fall in love with this city!

    • Rachel Jones August 6, 2016 at 4:44 am - Reply

      Hi Katie! I’m so happy to hear that! Keep reading lol those page clicks help me keep doing this as a job ;) I hope you love Udaipur. It’s such a cool city.

  18. Isla Nolan August 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Great article i fell in love with Udaipur all over again . I recently went to this place its amazing one, n your picture content is really amazing virtually takes me back in there. I did a bit of research before i went here , .Hope will meet u in Goa someday.

    • Rachel Jones August 20, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      Hey Isla, awesome! Thanks for sharing your tips as well :)

  19. Thomas James August 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks Rachel for sharing all these pictures, I’ve also visited udaipur, it was a solo trip and indeed this city is fun alongside traditional. The lakes are mesmerizing and the forts are truly Royal. the experience of mine was unforgettable but it got refreshed when I went through your Blog!
    Amazing work done by you..

  20. On the subject of India | The Blocks of Media January 14, 2018 at 7:00 am - Reply

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  21. On the Subject of India – A Nepali Wedding February 17, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

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  22. avril robinson March 6, 2019 at 5:08 am - Reply

    Love the elephant painted on silk class but I’m not visiting Udaipur. Do you know of similar classes in Delhi or Jaipur?

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