Udaipur is in the state of Rajasthan and is a popular romantic destination. We flew IndiGo Airlines which is one of the domestic choices for flights within India. A quick hour and $100 USD for the ticket and we were there.
We checked into our quaint little hotel called Mewar Hevali, which cost only about $30 USD per night. It was colorful and comfortable and just about half a block from Lake Pichola. The first thing we did was sit down on the guard (stairs going down into the lake) and just take in the sounds and beauty of the picturesque scenery. I can tell you that after being in Delhi, the sights and sounds of a lake, along with the blue sky, moved me to tears. We watched a woman wash her laundry in the water and a couple of people came down to bathe. I saw a small fishing boat with two fisherman checking their nets. Later that evening we watched the sunset from a rooftop restaurant called the Rainbow Restaurant. It soon became our favorite place for Masala Chai Tea and Poray (pronounced Poor Awe). It’s a southern Indian rice dish made with flattened puff rice and spices. So good!
Shopping for Handicrafts
The next day we wandered through the narrow cobblestone streets with tall buildings on both sides filled with fascinating shops and resteraunts. I was immediately impressed with the local craftsmanship and cheap prices! I bought a handmade leather back pack, some leather sandals, silver jewelry set with semi precious stones, a new knife in a camel bone and silver sheath and colorful scarves. The prices were probably around 20% of the price I would pay for similar items back home, but the quality was far superior!
We saw all kinds of animals in the city, including a painted elephant that caused a traffic jam in the narrow streets. We saw camels, donkeys, goats, a very intimidating looking bull blocking a row of motorcycles, and the always present wild dogs sleeping lazily in the sun.
A Funeral Procession
Soon I heard what sounded like a parade coming down the street with drums and horns playing. I quickly pulled out my camera to take pictures but then Vikalp told me it was a funeral procession and that it would be rude. So we watched the colorfully dressed morners march down the street. The women carried buckets of water on their heads that spilled down on them seemingly on purpose.
Everywhere are temples, and they range in size from just a few feet across to half a block in width. Inside are statutes of the over 330 million gods they worship. Amongst the most popular are Ganesha, the God of prosperity, and Shiva, the god of death and fire. Vikalp had to stop and nod a quick prayer at most every one.
The City Palace
We also visited the City Palace Museum which was built around 600 AD along with the Mansoon Palace which sits high on top of a hill and is best known for being in the James Bond film Octapussy. The view from the top was incredible, although the layer of smog between the ground and blue sky was still notable. In the parking lot their was a commotion as a group of aggressive monkies tried to take a backpack from a scared Indian woman that panicked and screamed, only to encourage their arrack. Vikalp told me to run because I had food in my backpack but I just stood their ready to take them on. Needless to say they chose other targets!
The city is full of foreigners from all walks of life. I met hippies from Australia, an affluent Spanish couple, a group from the Big Apple and we met a young woman from Italy just trekking across India all on her own. It’s a beautiful city full of romance, quality goods, vivid colors and tasty food. I could see myself living there someday and fulfilling my dream of being a writer. The people are friendly and I can’t wait to go back!!