Finally, at the Lake Palace!!!

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
Trip End Jun 28, 2009

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Saturday, November 15, 2008

This morning we woke up very, very early and drove to Udaipur. On the way, we saw some cool things:

* An amazing carved Jain temple, with lots of green parakeets flying everywhere and black-faced monkeys. Lu and I had races with Indrajit while Mom and Dad checked out the temple. We could not go in because it does not open until noon because the gods are sleeping.

* Flying foxes, which are actually giant bats, hanging from trees in a village. They were amazing and kind of scary to my Mom!

* A water wheel pulled by two oxen that a man was using to irrigate (water) his fields. It went round and round and he let Lu and me drive it. The oxen pumped water out of an underground well and down a stream to the fields.

* Some roads that were very bumpy and full of holes. They are working on a new road, so the old road is quite messy.

* Lots of kids going to school, even though it is Saturday!

Indrajit also told us a lot about his work with tigers. I can't wait to visit the tiger reserve with him - he knows everything about tigers.

When we got to Udaipur, we went to a dock and saw the Lake Palace. It was the summer palace of the Mewar family of maharanas, which are the longest serving dynasty (they have never been conquered since the 6th century AD!). Indrajit actually knows the princess now, but she is in London so we did not get to meet her. We took a small boat to the Lake Palace, which is in the middle of lake surrounded by mountains, and the City Palace. It is an amazing place to stay - and we got to have pizza and fries for lunch!

After lunch, we went to the City Palace, which was the main home of the maharnas. It is huge and has lots of cool things in it. We saw a photo of the elephant tug-of-war that the king used to hold every year, where the elephants joined trunks and then pulled each other toward a wall. We also saw a huge stone pit where he used to keep 100,000 silver coins. He would sit on a chair high above the regular people and throw coins down to them. The maharna and his family (including the princess) still live in part of the City Palace, but we could not visit that side. The Mewar dynasty worships the sun, so there were suns everywhere, including a big one made of gold inside that they could worship when it was cloudy or rainy. In drawings of the mahrana, he always had a ring around his head, like a sun. They had some cool paintings of the king hunting different things, like sloth bears and tigers. In one, it showed how the king had his soldiers beat drums to drive the tiger closer to him so he could shoot it. He sat up high on a tall thing so he would not get killed. Only the king could kill the tiger. In another painting, it was like a a video game - it had five different bears, but they were all the same bear, but it showed him coming out of his cave, running, then getting shot and dying.

Mr. Vikram, our local guide, also told us about johur, which is not like sati (when a wife throws herself on her husband's funeral fire - this used to happen but does not happen anymore much, but we did see the handprints of women who had committed sati a long time ago on the sides of some temples and forts. They do not bury people in the Hindu religion, they burn them. In johur, in one battle with the Muslims in the 1500s or so, the Maharna's family lost, so 13,000 women and children burned themselves to death so they would not be captured. It happened a few other times, too, but not anymore.

Tonight we went for a swim and jacuzzi in the pool, which looks out over the City Palace. We are going to have a babysitter tonight and watch a movie while Mom and Dad have dinner alone. I really like the Lake Palace and wish we did not have to leave tomorrow!
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