Spread around the shores of shimmering Lake Pichola, Udaipur is the dreamiest of Rajasthans cities. Its skyline of whitewashed havelis and temple towers, rising to the ochre walls and domes of the Sisodia dynastys exquisite City Palace, is one of the most recognisable in Asia, while the sunset views across the water and pleasure palaces on the lake are justifiably the stuff of legend. Shah Jahan once spent a summer here and it is said he was so taken with the beauty of the architecture that he used it as a blueprint for the Taj Mahal. Todays visitors divide their time between explorations of the warrenous old city, and tours of the City Palace, with its richly ornamented mahals. Udaipur also boasts a bumper crop of breathtakingly beautiful palace hotels, and these provide regal bases for day trips to the many monuments scattered among the nearby Aravalli Hills.