The palaces of the Maraharajas of Rajasthan

Trip Start Dec 29, 2010
Trip End Dec 05, 2011

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, September 30, 2011

Udaipur was a long journey from Bhainsrorgarh – about seven hours including a stop at Chittorogarh, an old hill stop settlement with a magnificent temple dating from the about 800 AD.  Another incredible fort, but despite the huge fortified walls and its position on a significant hill top, the settlement kept getting sacked by the Murgals, so it was abandoned in favour of a new city: Udaipur.

Udaipur is beautiful, built in the 1600's on a series of manmade lakes.  Its full of palaces: the City Palace, where the Mahahranah still lives; The Lake Palace, of which there are 2; and The Monsoon Palace.

We were staying at the Lake Palace of James Bond fame – its used extensively as one of the scenes in Octopussy and had oodles of old world charm and a rather small serene swimming pool (not when we were there!)

Nick Mathews of Lateral Life – the person and the company that has helped us plan, book and co-ordinate all the logistics for this complete trip from start to finish was in India visiting many of the places we would be going to and our paths crossed in Udaipur. Nick was checking out some of the uber flashy new hotels in town: the Oberoi Villas and the Leela but he came over to the Lake Palace to enjoy a roof top meal with wonderful views and some great wine.

 Our first full day and we promised the kids no sight seeing but shopping instead. We dived into colourful Udaipur and went hunting for traditional saris for Katherine and Georgie and all white trousers and jackets, the traditional male clothing, for me, Jamie, Zach and Ben. We had to sell it to Zach as a karate outfit which got him pretty interested. We are planning on having an authentic Indian night for Jamies birthday so needed the gear.

We all raced back to the pier of the hotel on auto rickshaws which was great fun and then left the kids in Georgie’s capable hands while Manjeet took Katherine and I around the magnificent 1.5km long City Palace which now houses a Museum, a hotel and is still the primary residence of the Maharana of Udaipur, plus his 2,000 staff. He is a Maharana – not a Maharaja, but it’s a long story.

We took everyone for dinner at the other palace (Jagmandir) on the lake to meet Nick where we enjoyed a strange concoction of mediocre western food and down right average Indian food all brought in a wonderfully confused order which included cookies with the pizza and chips, and pasta and pesto in between various Indian dishes.

Katherine and I had been looking forward to doing some real shopping in some of the famous bazaars so without the kids, we spent a good time checking out antique hand woven textiles, embroidered silks and pashmina’s direct from Kashmir that take up to 3 years to make. We then headed off for lunch with all the office and shop workers of Udaipur in a famous vegetarian restaurant for all-you-can-eat Indian at the huge cost of $2 per head. A quick swap with Georgie after lunch so she could also hit the shops with Manjeet, coming back delighted that he had bought her a traditional Rajasthani skirt.

With the kids in bed we headed off to meet Nick at the Leela for one last meal together. The hotel, at Nick's request, had gone over board with a private table over looking all the magnificent palaces and what with the boat journeys, good wine and a much need steak we had a great night. Off into rural Rajasthan tomorrow.
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nick_matthews on

Hiya Brad and Katherine - well i will certainly never forget that view over the lake from the Leela on your last night. Great to see all the team in action in India. Shows you we were not as mad as every one thought - sending you all to india for 8 weeks but thanks goodness you have your team supporting you!! Wish i was still in India!! Cheers Nick

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