Fluffy palaces and dry lakes....

Trip Start Sep 25, 2003
Trip End Apr 23, 2005

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Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Abstract:Udaipur- despite the lake being half dried up was beautiful, we visited the city palace, havelis, temples and ate fabulous food!

Nitty Gritty: Arriving in Udaipur well rested on New Years day was such a contrast to our arrival in Jaipur - very little hassle from the rickshaw drivers. Even so, after leaving our packs at left luggage we headed for the old town and the Jagdish Temple, a Jain temple with lovely sculptures, some amazingly cool ones of women playing sitars. Having had an alcohol free Christmas and New Year and a good sleep, we were wide awake and
the glorious blue sky encouraged us to have breakfast on a roof top terrace where we could take in the views. The place we chose was recovering from the night before and the waiters were all bleary eyed and it took ages for us to get our food and for them to get our order right.

We were delighted to find a fabulous little guest house (in fact the one our rickshaw driver had tried to get us to check in to earlier). The owner was really friendly and the rooms were basic but really good value and the hot water scalding - bliss.

We fell in love with Udaipur, it's that kind of place - it has a huge City Palace complex and a white marble lake palace, sitting in the middle of a huge lake, now a 5 star hotel. Sadly due to poor monsoons over the last 3 years, the lake had all but dried up, but this
had it's advantages - the locals can use the lake bed to graze their cattle and us mere mortals can walk to the lake palace to get a wonderful view of the city palace - when the lake is full, the lake palace hotel is only accessible by boat. For those James Bond fans,
Occtopussy was filmed in Udaipur. Sunset from the mud surrounding the hotel, watching the city palace turn gold was magic - our muddy sandals and feet were not.....

After a fabulous night's sleep, we visited the city palace museum and treated ourselves to a fresh lime soda and plate of chips on the sunset terrace at one of the posh hotels in the city palace complex. The sunset to the musical accompaniment of a sitar player
made the whole experience very atmospheric.

Drinks were followed by the best meal we have had in a long time at a hotel restaurant overlooking the illuminated lake palace hotel. The restaurant has alcoves where you can sit on floor cushions admiring the view - we hadn't managed to reserve an alcove, but
when we arrived our table had been given to someone else, so they sat us in the biggest of the alcoves to have a pre dinner drink, then the manages decided we could stay there all night. It was perfect, and so were the mutton and fish curries, all washed down with
a bottle of Kingfisher - a backpackers treat. The whole evening (another sitar accompaniment) was wonderful and the large group of Italians close by didn't eat all their food, so the waiters gave us some of theirs too - very generous.

After another rejuvenating nights sleep, we read books for most of the day and had another lovely dinner at a restaurant overlooking the illuminated city palace -
wonderful, and a perfect end to our travels through Rajasthan.
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