First things first, Delhi to Udaipur cannot be termed as a weekend getaway as the distance of 650 kilometres between Delhi and Udaipur takes at least 8-9 hrs and driving on India's National Highway 48 and 58 can be tiring given the truck traffic in Rajasthan. Udaipur is, without doubt, one of the most pretty cities in Rajasthan and has amazingly delicious cuisine on offer (even for vegetarians!). Now that the plan was to get to Udaipur, the vehicle had to be comfortable and fun to drive and hence, the choice of the new generation Volkswagen Passat was not surprising at all. Now, Volkswagen Passat also suits the overall royal vibes and feel of the city of Udaipur as it is luxurious, comfortable and has a regal stance and feel.
The journey to Udaipur from Delhi is a regular highway drive so one will drive through the same highway that connects Jaipur and then take the bypass road towards Udaipur. It is strongly recommended to start as early as possible to skip the truck traffic and making it to the scenic side of the highway (after Ajmer, Pali). Volkswagen Passat in its new avatar drives like it owns the road as it is powerful and definitely one of the most good-looking sedans in the segment. After an early start, given it was a public holiday, we made it to Udaipur in good time by 4 pm after starting at about 5 am in the morning after two breaks.
Volkswagen Passat is a charming car for its owner and drives with elegance. The design of the sedan is futuristic and new compared to other VW cars in India. I am not a fan of excessive use of chrome in any vehicle, however, the three-slat chrome grille in the front does not look overdone at all. The simple design of the headlamp cluster remains my favourite part on the face of the car and features LED projector headlamp with DRLs.
This was not the first time I was in Udaipur, but it was the first time I was exploring the city as a tourist. We were staying at a resort close to the Udaipur Monsoon Palace. The first night we decided to have dinner at the Aravali rooftop restaurant that has one of the finest views of Lake Fatehsagar. The next morning started with the visit to the Udaipur City Palace. The City Palace in Udaipur lies in the heart of the city and has multiple entry points. Never use google maps to get to the City Palace, not that the location is wrong, but it will take you through the most narrow streets of Udaipur. Volkswagen Passat is a long and wide car and I had to drive through very narrow roads (thanks to google maps) but the Passat did well. Not only the locals were impressed with the car but with its Atlantic Blue colour the Passat looked desirable.
The Udaipur City Palace also has a boat ride over Lake Pichola that is a must do. The City Palace tour is also interesting although a bit too long, however, is a must for Palace and history lovers. For lunch, we all unanimously voted to eat Rajasthani Thali and headed to Natraj dining located close to the Udaipur railway station. The thali was both affordable and mouth-watering with the highlight being dal bati and churma.
As much as we wanted to take a good afternoon nap, the locals in Udaipur suggested not to miss the sunset at the Udaipur Monsoon Palace which is also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace. The drive towards this Monsoon palace requires you to buy a toll and parking ticket (Rs 150/car) and the curvy road is a delight to drive as it is located on a hilltop. Volkswagen Passat's steering is responsive and the hill-assist feature makes it easy and fun to drive on twisty and hilly roads.
The palace faces the Lake Fateh Sagar and is a very peaceful place despite having regular tourists. The view from the top of the Sajjan Garh Palace is a must watch in Udaipur. The dinner that night was done near the Lake Fateh Sagar that has a lot of small food joints famous for Bombay chats and desert. The next day was reserved for the famous Chittorgarh fort that recently was in limelight with the movie Padmavat.
Chittorgarh is about 140 kilometres away from Udaipur and the massive Chittor Ford is indeed one of the largest forts in India. The highway up to the fort is decent with no real good eating joints on its way and less truck traffic allowed me to use the cruise control of the Passat to its maximum use.
The elegance of the Passat's exterior design is carried over to its interiors as well and was noticed well by occupants on this road with little traffic. The good use of wood on the dashboard again gives a very rich feel and the analogue clock exudes a classic look. The A/C vents on top of the wooden finish in the dashboard is similar to the Audi Q7. The rear is very comfortable and roomy and the smooth highway did give rear passengers a comfortable sleep towards the course of the journey. The sedan is powerful and the flat-bottom steering wheel enhances sportiness, while the infotainment system is easy to use and Android Auto works seamlessly on the sedan making it convenient for the driver.
The Chittor Fort or Chittorgarh is one of the largest forts in India and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure during the visit to this fort you do get an authorised guide as the there is so much to see, so much history and it is totally worth it. The site where Rani Padamavati and others committed 'Jauhar' (mass self-immolation) when Alauddin Khilji defeated Maharana Ratan Singh is now converted into a garden.
Udaipur lives up to the reputation of being a royal city and the city offers a lot to do, see and a glimpse into the rich history of Mewar and the Volkswagen Passat also lives up to the reputation of being a royal chariot.