Udaipur - known as the 'Venice of the East' - is a cultural haven considered to be one of India's most beautiful cities.

Guest blogger Tony Herbert took a trip to the city as part of a bespoke tour of Rajasthan dreamt up by Original Travel. These are his recommendations for the trip of a lifetime.

How to choose your hotel

When we spoke to Asia Expert Miranda at Original Travel, my wife and I were adamant that we weren't just looking for luxury: we wanted to see the real India. There's an important distinction when it comes to hotels in Rajathstan: there are so-called 'heritage hotels', which are often former palaces of the local maharaja that have been converted into top quality establishments, and then there are the luxurious modern hotels, built in highly polished marble, which have no historic connection with the locality. We opted to go for the former.

Where to stay: Fateh Prakash Palace

In Udaipur, we stayed in the Fateh Prakash Palace. Our room was decorated in lavish, old-world style, and it also had superb views of the Lake Palace Hotel (pictured left) - probably one of the most famous buildings in Rajasthan, but also a slight mystery. No one mentions it. Security has been vastly increased since the Bombay bombings: you can't go there unless you stay there. No casual visitors. It's also amazingly expensive - so it's better to admire from afar, or take a boat trip if you're keen to get a little nearer.

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Where to eat

Lunch on both our days in Udaipur was at a lovely restaurant, the Raaj Bagh (or 'Royal Garden' in Hindi), situated along the side of the lake - the food was maybe the best we had anywhere, and all for about £10 for the two of us!

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What to see: the Crystal Room

The museum in Fateh Prakash has many curiosities, in particular the Crystal Room. It's a bizarre collection of crystal objects, including large pieces of furniture like beds, tables and chairs, all made of elaborately constructed crystal.

Jagdish Temple

People often talk about being templed-out in India - but not us. We saw only one in Udaipur, the Jagdish Temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu, covered in well-preserved carvings. Inside, a group of colourfully-clad women sat on the ground performing a music ritual.

The detail: Maharanas

Maharajas are reasonably well renowned - but Maharanas are much less so. Both were stripped of their titles, powers and property by Indira Gandhi in the 1970s - but they still retain much prestige and, apparently, the affection and respect of the locals.

More information

Tony Herbert's bespoke holiday to Rajasthan was organised by Asia Expert Miranda Boord.

For more information on once in a lifetime trips to India, contact Original Travel.