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Published: January 4th 2012
December ’11 Camp Bijaipur to Udaipur
After a good night’s sleep in our tent, made cosy with extra blankets, we got up, looked at the magnificent view, had breakfast and hit the road again in 4 WDs. We went back through the little villages until we turned off and following a lane suddenly came out and what must be the Indian equivalent of the M1! – a big dual carriageway with 2 lanes either side of a central reservation. There was hardly any traffic on it, which was just as well as in addition to the odd motorbike or car going the wrong way down lanes there were herds of cows making their way across the road! The odd bit of washing out to dry and people squatting on the central reservation – only in India!!
After a quick break next to a huge tub with men getting washed in it we arrived in Udaipur. Another city which we wound our way through until we reached our hotel Pratap Bhawan which was in an excellent location only 2 minutes from the Palace and the lake and right in the middle of the shopping area – perfect! The hotel
Entrance to the ghats
was smallish and on about 6 floors with a rooftop food and lounging area with great views and the occasional monkey invasion! We discovered the power went off for 2 hours a day – shades of Jodhpur and there was no water as apparently the tank was empty also the wifi wasn’t working but it was time to explore!
We went on an orientation walk, visited the ghats, visited the artist/palm reading shop where although there was no one able to do readings I did get a sweet little elephant painted on one fingernail in about 5 seconds. Howard meanwhile was outside playing ball with the local children and we kept hearing loads of laughing and shouting going on!
Later we went on a sunset boat ride on the lake which was nice with great views of the palace – you could see just how huge it was from the water, it stretched along for about ¼ of a mile along the lakeside. The older part is now a museum and is open to the public.
After the boat ride we left the group who were going to a cultural show and dinner (Howard’s idea of hell) and
went to skype the kids, Gary and Mum and John. Of course the wifi wasn’t available in our hotel but the bookshops’ over the road was working and it was so good to see and speak to them all.
We then had dinner at a nearby rooftop restaurant, watched the fireworks going off over the lake and then had a look in a shop near our hotel where I was nearly persuaded to buy a painting but was so tired I decided to sleep on it first. Back at the hotel thankfully the water was back on so the toilet finally got flushed and I managed a hot shower for a couple of minutes.
December ’11 Udaipur
Morning breakfast on the rooftop and then it was off to see the Palace. Again our group had a guide assigned to us so Howard soon sloped off. He spoke really good English and was very informative but the place was packed with tourists both Indian and Western. One interesting story was about the only woman commemorated on the special mentions for non royalty wall. She was the nurse maid to one of the young Maharajahs who upon learning
of the plot to kill him in his bed put her own son in his place and thus saved the Maharajah’s life!!!
The museum section of the palace was laid out in such a way that it was a one way system which led you through very narrow connecting corridors (designed to stop enemies from charging about) out into the courtyards and various rooms of the palace. The palace was full of original items, which was interesting – even the queen’s bedroom still had the original furniture and pictures in it. The bit I particularly liked was the life size cardboard cut-out of the Maharajah which was strategically placed in certain locations! However the sheer numbers of people meant you had to shuffle along being jostled about and after 2 hours of this I was so glad to get out!
Later I managed to get hold of Dad, Sarah and co. on skype hooray for the bookshop! Howard and I wandered about the shops, stalls and streets and in a tiny shop in an alley near our hotel I found 2 lovely miniature paintings which I had framed for about the same price as the one I had
nearly bought the night before. Sarah had kindly offered to take them back to the UK and post them to Mum for me, what a star and Howard’s back was doubly grateful! Meanwhile Evelyn had purchased 170 door knobs!! (they are lovely and I wish I had too), which she is posting back to Switzerland.
That night we were due for our hyped up ‘Romantic Dinner’ which Akki would have been most offended if we hadn’t attended. We walked down through the town to the bridge, crossed the river and then wound through more streets of shops until we arrived at a very posh, very lovely hotel restaurant by the lake side. Apparently it is one of the top 5 places to eat in the world no less! It was beautiful, real linens, soft music and candlelight but I guess 16 of us on a long table kind of spoilt the romantic part of it slightly! Still its popularity was evident as the all tables were full with a lot of people waiting to get one.
The food was nice but took forever to arrive but as Howard said, the meal we had the other night at ½
Down the town
the price was much nicer!! So we made our way back and got accosted by the original painting shop lad whose prices had suddenly dropped and went back to bed.
Next stop Pushkar
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