Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh

Trip Start Dec 27, 2016
1
9
17
Trip End Jan 18, 2017


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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, January 6, 2017

Yesterday we visited the City Palace in Udaipur, built mainly in the seventeenth century after the Mughuls took control. It is the largest Palace complex in Rajasthan, a blend of Rajput military architecture and Mughal decorative art. The Marharana still lives there. He has no political power now but plenty of influence still, and is independently wealthy through shrewdly turning parts of his palaces, hunting lodges etc. into hotels. He donates generously to Mewar province, and we were told it is largely his doing that Udaipur is relatively clean, with sacred cows allowed only in the outskirts. The Palace itself has some lovely miniature paintings - not so much small as painted with extraordinary detail. It also had a good bookshop where my purchase was "Birds of India". The bird life here is unexpectedly rich and varied and I regret not bringing binoculars.

We walked down the street to the Jagdish Hindu temple built in 1651 and dedicated to Vishnu. Sadhus were sitting around, and, once we climbed the steep stairs to enter, there were many worshippers sitting on the floor inside, chanting and swaying to music, but we weren't allowed to take photos inside.

In the afternoon we saw some artists creating miniature paintings and shopped at the Bara Bazaar and the Bapu Bazaar, but both were really like large shops and not like the street bazaars we've seen. I found earrings and a necklace that I liked.

It was Bernard's birthday so at dinner we had birthday cake which Baskar had organised during the day, and my table drank his health in Indian champagne which wasn't too bad at all. The night's entertainment was regional music and dancing, including a girl dancing with seven pots balanced on her head.

This morning we left Udaipur and drove to Kumbhalgarh via the Ranakpur Temple, one of the five most important pilgrimage sites of Jainism. In order to enter we had to remove all leather items including watch straps and belts as well as our shoes. As often, we could take in cameras at a cost which is paid by ASA, but this temple charged extra for tablets for some unexplained reason. In the temple one of the monks did a special chant for us. The place was thick with intricately carved columns. We were told there were 1444 of them! In the middle were two very large (and very loud) bells.

Lunch was another outdoor buffet at the Maharani Baghdad Orchard Retreat.

For the rest of the afternoon we continued along narrow country roads through rugged mountains. Passing other traffic on the precipitous sections was a bit hair-raising, and there were many near misses with wandering cows, pedestrians carrying huge loads on their heads, motor-bikes determined to overtake at any cost, and much slowing down to navigate huge potholes. The countryside, and the passing glimpses of village life were very interesting. I prefer it to the smoother ride on the motorways.

About 5pm we arrived at another unique hotel - apparently it was originally one of the Maharanas hunting lodges! Anyway, it is a complex of small thatched stone buildings and pavilions with a central restaurant. Before dinner some of us went for a walk up the narrow road through the hills to a lookout where we got a good view of the Mehrangarh Fort spreading across a hilltop which we'll visit tomorrow.

Dinner was - wait for it - a buffet of curries with Gulab Jamon for dessert! What a surprise! Everyone is going down with my cold now, so we thought tonight we'd see if we could kill the germs with Gin and Tonic. Good excuse eh? The after dinner entertainment was a local band and another dancer with seven pots on her head doing the same tricks as the dancers in Udaipur last night!
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Comments

swoald on

What no kulfi with rose syrup. Surely you asked.

swoald on

What no kulfi & rose syrup. Surely you asked.

travellingsue
travellingsue on

No Kulfi is a definite disappointment. Maybe we're in the wrong region for it☹️

Genevieve on

Just read the entire blog. The photos are wonderful and as I know nothing about India and her history your blog is really interesting. The heat's not affecting you too much? It was ghastly here today - 35 degrees and the same tomorrow.

travellingsue
travellingsue on

Thanks Gen. Historically and artistically it's a really interesting part of the World. The present life here is extremely colourful but rather confronting - eg you really need to watch out for sacred cows--it! No it's not that hot at the moment. It's winter here, no more than 27 degrees during the day. I didn't pack warm enough gear. Might have to purchase another gorgeous pashmina!

travellingsue
travellingsue on

Thanks Gen. Historically and artistically it's a really interesting part of the World. The present life here is extremely colourful but rather confronting - eg you really need to watch out for sacred cows--it! No it's not that hot at the moment. It's winter here, no more than 27 degrees during the day. I didn't pack warm enough gear. Might have to purchase another gorgeous pashmina!

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