Palatial palaces and plenty of poo

Trip Start Jul 12, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, January 6, 2004

We've had 3 great days in Udaipur, exploring the narrow winding streets, eating on rooftop restaurants with amazing views of the lake and palace, and doing lots of sightseeing!

Udaipur is known as Rajasthan's most romantic city - not, I'm sure, due to the open sewers, mangy roaming cows, abundance of poo everywhere you try to walk and the odd incessant beggar - but because of the beautiful, palatial architecture and setting on Lake Pichola with the 'floating' Lake Palace Hotel in it's centre.

On our first morning, we visited the City Palace, which is the largest palace in the state of Rajasthan. It was so amazing - there were museum displays of old weapons and paintings depicting the history of the maharanas, beautiful courtyards, balconies and elaborate rooms of every description. There were some covered in mirrors from floor to ceiling, others with intricate paintings or mosaic work, and some rooms were furnished to look as they did when inhabited. Afterwards we went to a haveli (old house) with 138 restored rooms - these people had rooms for everything! Dressing rooms, a games room, a musical instrument room and the list goes on.

The James Bond film 'Octopussy' was largely filmed in Udaipur, and many of the restaurants here screen it nightly. We watched it one night and saw how they'd filmed scenes at the Lake Palace Hotel and other locales around town, right where we'd been! We took a boat ride around the lake past the posh hotel in the middle (it only costs around $300 US a night or more, bargain) and we stopped in Jagmandir Island behind it, home to yet another amazing old palace now turned into a hotel and restaurant. It really was another world after walking around the chaotic streets in town.

On yet another little excursion we caught an auto-rickshaw up a huge hill through a wildlife park to the abandoned Monsoon Palace. It's now owned by the government but they haven't really done much in the way of restoration or development. It was still quite beautiful though, and the view of the town, lakes and countryside below were great. We visited the Jagdish Temple (Hindu) in town, which has an Indo-Aryan style with carvings depicting all sorts of scenes from everyday life.

Once again it's time to move on..and once again mum will cry because she doesn't want to leave!!! Luckily she's still enjoying India and is very glad she came all this way for a few weeks holiday with us!
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