Yesterday morning Stuart and I drove south through the Aravalli range, a lush landscape of rolling hills, passing small villages and flashes of the brilliant pinks and reds of shepherds' turbans.
We were heading towards the beautiful 'City of the Lakes' (also as known as the ‘White City’) - Udaipur. A gorgeous city where the pace of life is somewhat slower than the rest of Rajasthan.
Upon arrival into Udaipur, we headed to our hotel (more of that later) and just relaxed and soaked up the romantic city vibe!
In the evening, we enjoyed a steady bike ride around Udaipur and it's surrounding villages during sunset. It was a wonderful way to see the city and to experience the lesser known areas of Udaipur. We stopped half way and a street vendor made us some fresh masala tea (fast becoming my favourite tipple in India.)
Udaipur is one of India’s most romantic destinations, with stunning palaces and colourful bazaars set alongside lakes and surrounded by wooded mountains.
The city was founded by Udai Singh in 1567 after a resounding defeat by the Mughal Emperor Akbar at his former stronghold of Chittaurgarh. The city was attacked by the Mughals over the next 25 years, and subsequently by the rising power of the Marathas, until lasting peace was achieved under British influence in 1818. The rulers of Udaipur are the senior family of Rajasthan, and may call themselves Maharanas, which is a cut above the average Maharaja.
Later in the evening we took a swim in the hotel pool and enjoyed the view across the lake over dinner.
Today we undertook a city tour which covered the main sights including the spectacular City Palace overlooking Lake Pichola and the Lake Palace. The Lake Palace is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan and houses a thoroughly impressive range of interior decoration, as well as a section on royal paraphernalia, toys and miniatures (Udaipur has several schools of painting).
Nearby is the Tripolia Gate, where the ruler was weighed on his birthday and his weight in gold distributed among his subjects.
We also visited the Saheliyon-ki-Bari Gardens (Gardens of the Maids of Honour) at the north end of the city. Complete with an antique artificial rain system (waterspouts supplied from a series of clever pipes and gravity) and boasting attractive ornamental designs as well as a delightful lotus pool it was a nice change from the bustling streets.
Tonight we are promised a Folk Dance Performance at Bagore Ki Haveli. Now, I don't about you, but any folk dancing, even traditional Rajasthani folk dancing, fills me with dread. So let's see if we make to through to the final bow.
Nice place here.