Although its name means ‘the backyard’, Lake Pichola is the centre of imagination in Udaipur. The town grew up on the shores of Pichola and now lives on its banks. Palaces and hills hug its contours. Havelis and houses and hotels find sustenance in its waters. When the lake is full, people bathe in it, swim and take boat rides, or simply gaze at it. The lake’s waters are reflected in the life of Udaipur. When Pichola is dry, camels and buffaloes graze on its surface, and every heart sinks.

You can sit on the numerous rooftop restaurants on Lal Ghat, Gangaur Ghat and Hanuman Ghat and enjoy the changing colours of the lake and its environs. You can take a boat ride from the City Palace jetty on Bansi Ghat (Fee: 325 for adults, 165 for children for 1 hr;  225/115 for 1/2 hr) and enjoy wonderful views of the lake’s shores and its elegant buildings. The lake has two island palaces, Jagmandir and Jagniwas. The palace on Jagmandir Island was built in the 17th century and its courtyard has a restaurant offering scenic views. The Jagniwas Island hosts the famous Taj Lake Palace hotel. The longer boat ride includes a 20-min halt at Jagmandir Island.