Published: January 10th 2009January 5th 2009
The Jodhpur pants dude, how stylish is he?!
We had a relatively early start and headed by 4WD to see some local villages before heading to Udaipur. We visited a Bisnoi tribe who are largely self sufficient and who care for all living things and try to help protect the environment and animals. They are also one of the only tribes who are legally allowed to consume Opium - apparently this helps when working out in the fields. One of the tribe leaders showed us how he makes it and then proceeded to taste a bit which he mixed with water - it was a tad funny as he shook it off when he took the hit - hmmm.
From there we checked out a some local pottery - the guy was from a long line of potters and gave us a demo. There was no electric wheel to doing the spinning, but a 100kg round stone which was on a pivot which he spun around and then wacked on the clay to make the pot. He made it look very simple and quick, but that happens when you've been doing it for 30 years.
Next were the Durry Weavers, otherwise known as reversible rugs. They were
The lake palace
The lake palace in the middle of the man-made lake and famous for the Octopussy movie. Its now a hotel and only guests can go there now, others could go for lunch but after the recent attacks its guests only.
quite impressive and can take weeks and sometimes months for one to be completed. While we were there a guy appeared in the famous Jodhpur pants and some spiffy leopard print shoes - he was very fashionable with his matching scarf too. I didn't realise that the game Polo originated in India, hence the Jodhpur pants came from this so it was comfy in the seat and yet narrow at the ankles so as to not get in the way. Functional, however not particularly fashionable.
After our visit, we were on the road to Udaipur. Well, road is being polite. A lot of it was not exactly smooth sailing, and they use their horns here almost every minute - it gets a tad tiresome especially when your car has a musical horn that blares all the time. Plus, you are also competing with tractors, cows, elephants, rickshaws and lots of dogs for your piece of the road - it made for an interesting (to say the least) and long trip.
We were very excited as we drove through Udaipur that evening and discovered a multitude of stores and pretty things - shopping was going to be fun! Also,
Udaipur is known for its lake palace which is now a spiffy hotel and is also known for the James Bond movie Octopussy from 1982, and geez the town has not forgotten it. Most hotels still play the movie everynight, and judging from the movie, it doesn't look like the place has changed much in the last 25 years!
We started off the next day with a wonder around the City Palace (there are at least 4 in Udaipur, only one is still in use which is the one we visited) and had a guide show us around. He explained the reason for the small doorways and twisting and turning hallways was so that if the palace was attacked, it would be defended more easily and you could lop off the head of somone ducking under the doorway - nice.
We also checked out a 400 year old Shiva temple which was very impressive (took about 35 years and ovre 1000 artisans to complete it) and then had lunch on a rooftop overlooking the lake - very pretty. From there we did the obligatory shopping and got some cheap silver jewellery. We also went to a demo of
Elephant at the palace
There are a heap of these paintings on walls and palaces around the city - I had to get a piccie with a 'Hati' - I'm a tad obsessed with them at the mo'.
miniature painting which Udaipur is famous for - they also did nail painting and painted these tiny pictures on your fingernails, I got a peacock whilst others got elephants and faces.
I decided to try my hand at painting, so along with 3 others from our group we did a painting class in the arvo. Its been quite a while since I've done something like that, and we basically had to copy freehand the picture that they drew for us which was an elephant in my case. After a few hours of cursing and swearing at my dodgy work, I finished my elephant and was more or less happy with it. I certainly had a new appreciated for the steady hands and incredibly intricate works for the artists.
There was also a street procession that afternoon to celebrate a specific saint. We were told to keep clear of the roads as they can get quite full and animated. We couldn't quite work out everything that was going on, but there were some guys from rooftops throwing out little packages of food I think, and the mostly teenage crowd were jumping over themselves to grab them. There was supposed
My dodgy elephant - you can be the judge.
to be some self fladulation going on as well, but we didn't see that part.
The next day Rach and I went for a walk around the other side of the lake. We found ourselves saying a lot - 'it would be so pretty if...' as the lake was quite pretty, but the surrounds were also quite smelly! The lake edges are also full of rubbish, so its kinda hard to overlook it. They seriously need a 'clean up India' weekend or something! heh heh
That night Sanjeev, our tutor from the previous day, then treated us to some Indian rum at dinner and took us back to his workshop where some 1970s disco music was played (he had the hair to match and the moves) and some of the girls got into the Bhangadha (don't think that's how you spell it, but oh well) which was very amusing. One of Sanjeev's young cousins strutted his stuff and boy he could move, he put the girls to shame! Indian guys are so into the dancing, its soo different from Oz. Somehow I can't see James breaking it down like these guys... heh heh heh
There are more photos below