Sunday, 20 January 2013

"Welcome to Udaipur Mr Bond"

Our final destination in India (not including the forthcoming horse trek) was to the lake city of Udaipur. With no trains or suitable buses available, we decided to go by taxi. We left Jodhpur in heavy rain which made the already murky streets somewhat unsuitable for walking around so it was great timing to head off! The taxi option provided us with stress-free comfort and a half way stop off at the Jain temple of Ranukpur.

The temple was huge and every inch delicately decorated and carved in grey stone and white marble. Inside, lots of individually designed pillars and domed ceilings dominated the space together with the 600 year old mimosa tree growing through the floor. A very spiritual place as described to us by our monk guide.




The luxurious City Palace Hotel on the right
Udaipur is in complete contrast to any of our previous Indian destinations. More Western tourists, less hawkers, much fewer signs of poverty, minimal tuk tuk tooting and of course the stunning lakes. Our hotel roof terrace, like most of the restaurants and cafes overlook the magnificent, man-made lake. Backdropped with a mountain range, and rugged country side it reminded us of Lake Garda in Italy, with an Indian twist.... and of course, any keen Bond fans will recognise the setting in the1981 Roger Moore movie, "Octopussy"!

Lake at sunset from our roof terrace
On our first evening, we met up with some friends we'd met in Jaipur and went to a puppet / dance performance. Ladies, in fantastic jewelled dresses twirled, played miniature symbols and showed of their dexterity whilst balancing various objects on their heads. A puppeteer perform tricks whilst the musicians played traditional songs.

We had a fantastic morning exploring the City Palace and local temple on day two. We observed a service taking place at the temple which started with a eardrum-busting bell being chimed, followed by chanting, worship and further singing by the women. A privilege to be part of despite the ringing ears!! The City Temple was a labyrinth of rooms each taking their own distinctive themes with colours and materials used to decorate them. It was deceptively small from the outside but huge from within demanding wonderful views of the lake and city.

Front of Palace
With Damai and Thomas in the Palace
Much of our time in Udaipur had been spent strolling along the pleasantly quiet streets, visiting a tranquil park with rose garden, perusing a classic car museum and generally just relaxing. Oh and Sonja got a henna tattoo!!




Udaipur is definately not the most interesting of destinations thus far, but in term of recovery before our next adventure, it ticks every box. Tomorrow we head off into the countryside on a four day horse trek / camping expedition, can't wait......


1 comment:

  1. Love the "peeping around the columns" photo. I suppose it is inevitable that you meet up with people again as India is a well-trodden route. Thinking of you and hoping you are not too saddle-sore at the moment! Marlene