….India Diaries ‘Udaipur’
We left Pushkar feeling pretty chilled, and with an eager anticipation as to what the next stop on our epic Rajasthan tour would bring. After a week or so travelling, it’s easy to think you’ve “experienced it” – the culture that is, but time and again we were proven so wrong, we had no idea how much the regional cultures would differ, even within the same state.
Udaipur….’The City of Lakes’, with a population of approx. 450,000 had its own welcoming personality. As with many other cities we visited, it also had a healthy back-drop of multiple religious groups living in harmonious co-existence, and that worked for us.
The ‘draw’ of Udaipur – our favourite Indian city to date, might best be explained in pictures rather than words…
India is like a box of chocolates….you just never know what you’re gonna get…and this is particularly true when on a road trip – evidenced by the party tractor above. Almost every tractor we saw on the drive from Pushkar to Udaipur was adorned in the same way and packing a boombox and a couple of speakers, because you need music while you work…right?! Party on Rajasthan!
The most famous accommodation on the lake by far is the Taj Lake Palace Hotel Taj Lake Palace Hotel This is the one hotel that can only be accessed by boat, unless the lake dries up (as it did during the 2012 drought) and it’s über exclusive. We like to treat ourselves occasionally while travelling, but the price of accommodation was well outside our comfort zone, so we figured we’d just pop over for lunch and check it out – a good compromise right?……wrong, no riff raff allowed! You have to be a paying guest to enjoy this expensive little gem.
With no chance of entry to the Lake Palace Hotel, we opted to do a tour of the magnificent City Palace, and as with our other excursions, were impressed by how incredibly well-preserved this structure is. The rich history is too deep to go into in this overview, so if you’re interested to learn more, check out this informative link; http://www.udaipur.org.uk/tourist-attractions/citypalace.html
With the Palace tour under our belt, it was time to check out the local markets (I needed authentic spices to bring home for Indian dinner entertaining)….so we hired an ‘auto’ driver for a few hours. I don’t remember his name, but he was hell-bent on taking us up to the surrounding hills to visit the “craft village”, and no doubt on a healthy commission for doing so. After too much debate, he relinquished and took us to the local market as originally requested. Love these awkward travel moments – just not so much at the time!
Not buying organic food is not an option, how cool is that?!
The shot below was a common sight in many of the Indian towns/cities we visited. There always seemed to be a buzzing network of “one-way” back streets, with double parking and multiple vehicles traversing “one-way” in both directions! If the owners of obstructing vehicles were not in hollering distance, the accommodating by-standers were ready to oblige with a stealthily coordinated ‘pick up and drop’ exercise to move the temporary offenders. An efficient resolve with no parking tickets incurred.
I’m not sure where we happened upon the info about the Dharohar Folk Dance at the Bagore Ki Haveli (likely Trip Advisor – our ‘go to’ resource while on the road these days), but I’m glad we paid attention. This was a fab way to while away a couple of hours with dancing and regalia from multiple regions around India. A very talented cast indeed. All these pics were taken in very low light with an 18-200 mm lens on my Nikon D90 at maximum ISO, so I was pleased anything turned out.
Spinning around in a floaty skirt with some of your besties, what more do you want from life?!
The audience participation went down well too.
This lovely lady is my hero….we didn’t know she was 70 yrs old until after she’d finished the following sequence of pot balancing. To be honest, we were impressed when she donned the first 2 – 3 levels, and were not prepared for her to return another 7 times to be loaded up to the hilt!
Balancing 10 clay pots is not enough in and of itself to assure job satisfaction, so best lay down a glass carpet to raise the difficulty bar another level!
Darling husband looking quite distinguished in his Kurta – brings out the steel-blue eyes!
Night time around Lake Udaipur is a magical experience, all the buildings are so beautifully lit, and I get to practice my night photography (sans tripod!)
Above….our sparkling hotel, taken from across the lake.
5 steps outside the hotel on our way to dinner and a couple of local teenagers enquire “how was the wedding”…I guess we looked the part!