Naga Nagri

Naga is the Sanskrit word for snake. In Buddhist and Hindu mythology, a naga is a semidivine being, either a serpent or half snake/half human, which can assume either form. They are associated with bodies of water and live in underground kingdoms. I’ve found some sources that say nagri means city.

Map Naga Nagri

Naga Nagri (NAH-gah nah-GREE) is a neighborhood in Udaipur on a squarish peninsula across Lake Pichola from the City Palace. If my research is accurate, then City of Magical Water Serpents is very apropos.

Naga Nagri, as seen from the Mewar Haveli Hotel restaurant.

It’s a five-minute, 50-rupee ride away from the heart of Udaipur, where the main tourist attractions such as City Palace and Jagdish Temple are, and is considered part of the historic old city. The Island Tower Hotel is located there.


Because Nirmal managed the Island Tower when I visited in June 2013, we all hung out there a lot. It was a comfortable place to lounge in the heat of the day, and the rooftop gave us great sunset views and a cool place to spend the evenings.


Chandpol (the structure with the crenellated arch) and the bridge
to Naga Nagri (taken from the Naga Nagri side).

Every afternoon Pushker would accompany me there in an auto rickshaw from Nirmal’s shop or my hotel. After crossing the bridge from the City Palace side at Chandpol, we would be on Brahmpol Road, the main road that cuts across the north side of the peninsula and connects Naga Nagri to neighborhoods in the western part of Udaipur. Along that main road are shops selling kitchen wares, shoes, fabric, pretty much anything. There are tailors and repairmen of all kinds.


Turning left, we’d head south on the eastern side of Naga Nagri where there were a lot of hotels, both backpacker and more expensive, along with craft and curio shops, massage salons, ayurvedic centers and hole-in-the-wall shops selling snacks and cold drinks. Restaurants are usually on the hotel rooftops. A good chunk of the southern tip of Naga Nagri is taken up by Leela Palace, a very expensive hotel.


The Island Tower Hotel is the white
building with the blue arches.

At the second street, we’d turn right, and we’d be at the Island Tower on a much quieter street.


A residential street in Naga Nagri.


The heart of Naga Nagri is largely residential. It thus has a quieter, more peaceful feel to it than the more lively city center across the lake to the east. I didn’t think much of it at first, but because of all the time I spent there, it grew on me.

Directly across from the Island Tower was a little shop where we could get snacks and cold drinks, except for beer. Real food for lunch and dinner preparation and liquor had to be bought elsewhere.

The potato man would pass through the streets of Naga Nagri each day, chanting “potatoes, garlic, onions” like a mantra. At first, I didn’t recognize any of the words he said. Nirmal told me he was speaking Mewari — not Hindi — when I asked him what the man was saying. His distinctive voice echoed up to the Island Tower rooftop where I could hear him clearly. The day I snapped this picture was the only time I ever saw him.


A common sight on the streets of Naga Nagri: both the cow
and the scooter carrying more than two people.

IMG_9258a G Paradise street

Pushker taking a stroll with me in Naga Nagri.


A charming family Pushker and I met while walking the neighborhood.

By the time I left Udaipur, I was very fond of Naga Nagri.


4 thoughts on “Naga Nagri

  1. What amazing insight you are offering us with your writings and photos, Marie. It’s almost like being there with you.. the only things missing are the sounds and smells of this unique town. Love that pic of the happy family!

    • Thanks for that! Making it come alive for the reader is always my goal. I’ll make sure to take more videos next time. The YouTube tourist videos have inspired me. That family really is charming! I’m going to print an 8×10 and take it to them on my next trip!

  2. The potato man! In Italy, you’ll often hear a voice yelling from a loudspeaker mounted on a tattered truck: “Onions! Tomatoes!” and whatever else he’s selling that day as he rumbles slowly through town. Same idea.

    I LOVE the photo of the pink rooftop overlooking Naga Nagri! A spectacular view!

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