In Udaipur we had a local guide who was quite a task master so I feel some of the group didn’t enjoy themselves so much which is a shame because it is such a scenic, picture perfect city.
We started with a boat ride on Pichola Lake around the bay with a stop on an island with a hotel upon it. Along the banks of the lake we saw people swimming and washing things. The island is an oasis of calm from the madness of Indian cities. They had a varied drinks menu and we all whiled away some time relaxing and enjoying the view across towards the city. There were also lots of green parrots and chipmunks in the hotel gardens.
Back across on the mainland we went on a tour of the city palace. Again half of the palace is still residence to the Royal family similar to the one in Jaipur but rather than a museum of artifacts, the area open to the public displays some of the rooms. As usual a camera fee was required for inside the castle (but is definitely worth paying) and they confiscated any cameras found in bags.
The rooms inside are decorated to a lavish but very aesthetically pleasing standard with lots of pretty paintwork and mirrored mosaics. The lack of Islamic influence here is obvious with many depictions of animals and Hindu gods, this is because the Muslims met strong resistance in Rajasthan compared to the rest of India and therefore were not able to convert the locals’ religion. I am thankful for this as the Hindu architecture and decoration is beautiful.
Our guides were then excited to announce a surprise addition to our itinerary, a trip to our tour leaders house. Mukesh and his family were wonderful hosts. We were welcomed with garlands of flowers around our necks and then provided with samosas and pakoras and other Indian treats. It was a truly special touch to make our tour more memorable.
After we had said goodbye to Mukesh, Chanchal and the others we went to the Jagdish Temple. We parked at the bottom of the hill and walked through a busy shopping street to visit the temple. As with all Hindu temples it had complicated carving into the marble.
We also went to Saheliyonki Bari, an area that used to be solely for women but is now a small but pretty garden that can now be visited by both women and men.
We had the chance to go into a textile place where we were measured for tailor made clothing if we wanted and then as a group we decided we wanted to go out for dinner to say goodbye to our guide AJ, who had to leave our tour early as he was offered a new job as a teacher. The place we went to, Aroma, was dead when we arrived, which we did not think was a good sign, however it turns out Indians are like Mediterranean’s, they eat dinner late so us turning up at 8pm was considered early. The food was very good and it turned out to be a nice end to a long day.