Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), though inconveniently located in the Tourist Office at Fateh Memorial in Suraj Pol (tel. 0294/241-1535; Mon-Sat 10am-5pm), can arrange accommodations, licensed guides, maps, and brochures. You can also call the RTDC Hotel Kajri at tel. 0294/241-0501 through -0503 for tourist information and assistance. Satellite tourist offices can be found at the airport (tel. 0294/265-5433; open at flight times) and at the railway station, which was scheduled to reopen once new train services begin.
The most convenient place to draw money against your credit card/ATM card is near the Jagdish Temple (City Palace Rd.). There is also an ICICI Bank next to the Jet Airways office (Madhuban), an SBI ATM next to Indian Airlines (Delhi Gate), and several others near Town Hall, Bapu Bazaar. There are two convenient LKP foreign exchange offices on Lake Palace Road (next to Rang Niwas Palace Hotel) and near Jagdish Temple. A useful private hospital is American International Hospital on Kothi Baugh, Bhatt Ji Ki (tel. 0294/242-8701 through -8704).
Getting ThereBy Air -- Dabok Airport is 25km (16 miles) from Udaipur. As always, Jet Airways is the preferable option (tel. 0294/256-1105-60), connecting the city with Delhi, Mumbai (both 1 hr., 15 min.), and Jaipur (45 min.). Indian Airlines (tel. 0294/265-5453 airport, 0294/241-0999 Delhi Gate) covers the same routes, as well as Jodhpur. A regular non-air-conditioned taxi into town should cost about Rs 300). Travel Plan (details below) offers air-conditioned taxis from the airport to the city for Rs 400
By Train/Bus -- The Mewar Express departs Delhi's Nizamuddin station at 6:35pm and arrives at Udaipur City station at 6:10am the following morning; significant stops en route are Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur (for Ranthambhore), and Chittaurgaur. There's an evening train from Jaipur, departing 9:40pm, which arrives at 7:10am the following morning. From Ahmedabad there is the Ahmedabad Express departing at 7:45pm arriving at 4:20am and the Fast Passenger departing 9:20am arriving at 8:55pm. There are deluxe bus connections from Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Ahmedabad (roads are in fairly good condition). In the unlikely event that you've opted for a bus, you will most likely be dropped off just north of the City Railway Station.
Due to the narrow, winding alleyways of the Old City, the best way to get around the main tourist sights (the area surrounding the City Palace) is on foot, but if you want to spend a rather satisfying day taking in all the sights in the city, consider renting a moped or bicycle from Heera Cycle Store & Tours & Travels (inside Hotel Badi Haveli, 86 Gangaur Ghat Rd., easy walking distance from Jagdish Temple; tel. 0294/513-0625; copy of passport and driver's license required; daily 7:30am-9pm)
For journeys farther afield, hiring a car with driver is probably the only way to go; you will certainly need one for the recommended trips described below. To hire one for the day, or for a self-planned tour in Rajasthan, call Travel Plan (tel. 0294/252-4688 or -242/1902; fax 0294/241-0213) and ask for Mr. Mahipul Sigh (or try him at tel. 098/2905-9319; email@example.com). Mr. Singh will provide experienced qualified and licensed guides in all languages for Rs 660 for half day and Rs 800 for full day. Or call Gajraj Singh, a bright young man who is passionate about his city and is well educated in its history and culture and speaks perfect English (mobile tel. 098/28509651; firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, the efficient Ramesh Dashora, proprietor of Parul Tours and Travel, opposite Jagat Niwas Hotel, at 32 Lal Ghat (tel. 0294/242-1697; email@example.com); Ramesh offers English-speaking guides (Rs 1,000/day), plus A/C Ambassadors (or Indicas) for Rs 1,500 for a full day; this includes 250km (155 miles) with each additional kilometer costing around Rs 6, and there's an overnight fee of Rs 150. More substantial vehicles will push prices up considerably. You can even reserve a car online (www.rajasthantravelbycab.com).
Udaipur's biggest festivals are the Mewar Festival, held every March or April, and the Holi Festival, held every March. October's Ashwa Poojan is another celebration worth inquiring about (your hotel should be able to advise you on exact dates and where best to experience the festivities). The Gangaur Festival is celebrated with special zeal by the women of Udaipur (end of Mar to Apr). During this festival, unmarried women pray to the goddess Gauri (manifestation of Parvati, Shiva's wife) for a good husband, while the married pray for the well-being of their husbands and a happy married life. Women decorate their hands and feet with mehendi (tattoos of henna paste) and carry colorful images of Gauri and terra-cotta lamps on their heads as they dance and sing songs in street processions. At the end of the festival they break these lamp-pots and celebrate with a feast. Festivities last 18 days and include many colorful processions and a fireworks display.