Aside from the sound of our boat gently gliding through the water, the peaceful lake is completely still. The glimmering water is a mirror to the rolling hills, stone-carved temples and grand palaces glowing beneath a beautiful sunset.

I am in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur on a serene sunset boat ride, watching the pelicans and cormorants fly back to their nests.

It’s hard to believe I’m a world away from the bustling chaos, noise and pollution that characterises India.

I arrived in Udaipur a few days ago expecting to find some of the old-world allure that seems to be fast disappearing from India’s urban cities. And I’m not disappointed.

I’ve only seen glimpses of this picturesque city on cinema screens – most recently in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – but am already charmed by the decadent palaces and narrow gallis (lanes) lined with havelis (houses), bazaars and temples.

Located in western Rajasthan, Udaipur is also known as the ‘City of Lakes’ and the ‘Venice of the East’, thanks to its seven large lakes sprawled across the city.

The City Palace complex, home to the present king of Udaipur, Arvind Singh Mewar, overlooks Lake Pichola.

Built on a hilltop in the 16th century, the royal complex offers stunning panoramic views of the city, Aravalli hills and its surrounding historic monuments that include Jag Mandir, Jag Niwas (now known as the Taj Lake Palace), Jagdish Temple and Monsoon Palace.

The Monsoon Palace, which was the Maharana's hilltop residence in the Aravalli mountains during the monsoon season in the 19th century, is currently empty and a great vantage point above the city and the lakes.

We take a bright yellow and black tuk tuk to City Palace Road, with camels and cows appearing out of nowhere to greet us at various crossroads.

We pass through shops filled with bright saris, embroidered sandals, colourful Rajasthani marionettes and silver jewellery.

The explosion of colour continues at Ganesh Handicraft Emporium.

Located behind Temple Square, the 350- year-old haveli looks unassuming on the outside but transforms into an Aladdin's cave, becoming a treasure trove of 16 galleries brimming with vibrant Rajasthani textiles, wooden and stone-carved crafts and traditional paintings.

I follow Rohan's recommendation and head over to Eklingji, a large Hindu temple complex on the outskirts of the city. I arrive just in time to take part in the aarti (evening prayers) session and receive blessings from the priest.

Afterwards, I unwind at the luxurious Leela Palace hotel in Udaipur, admiring the spectacular view of the Aravalli mountains and Lake Pichola while relaxing, the royal way, with a refreshing glass of iced tea in the courtyard.

I opt for a soothing ayurvedic massage at the hotel’s spa, where my therapist uses aromatic oils to stimulate the body, mind and spirit. My wellbeing programme continues with a pre-dawn yoga session the following morning.

Now I’ve got my mojo back I’m ready to brave the bustling streets of Delhi.

When I arrive in the capital, the beeping horns and noisy traffic are a shock to my system.

We set off on a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, one of the country's oldest and busiest markets.

Set up in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal), Chandni Chowk bazaar is known for its vibrant and colourful wedding wear, ornate jewellery, silverware and bespoke furniture.

Asia's largest spice market, Khari Baoli, can also be found here, along with a Baptist church, a Sikh temple and two mosques – a testament to the diverse cultures and religions that make India so intriguing.

We head towards nearby Red Fort, or the Lal Quila, which takes its name from its burnt-red sandstone walls. Built in 1638, the walls were designed to keep out invaders.

We drive past the India Gate and Humayun’s Tomb, then on to a quick stop at Qutub Minar.

Despite a tragic incident in which a power failure in 1981 plunged the tower staircase into pitch-black darkness, resulting in a stampede which killed 45 people, the Minar is still a popular tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

According the Ministry of Culture, it is the second most visited monument in India, after the Taj Mahal, with approximately four million people flocking to see the ‘Tower of Victory’ every year.

The busy markets and crowded monuments seem like a very different India to the spas and peaceful lakes of Udaipur. But in one way or another, both cities stimulate the senses, showing just how diverse this country can be.