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Published: October 7th 2013
With our next destination, Udaipur, we had one main thing in mind…..relaxing. Surrounding Lake Pichola, with its heritage hotels, Hindu temples and impressive Rajasthan City Palace with water lapping at its footings, this town promised to bring us what we were looking for. Booking into our preferred hotel, the Mewar Haveli, we were fortunate to snare what seemed to be their best room. Three floors up and with large windows dominating two of our four walls, we had stunning views of the lake. This included a great view of the Taj Lake Palace Hotel (from the Bond movie Octopussy), as well as the equally and dare I say even perhaps even more impressive (certainly in the dark), Jagmandir Island hosting another floating hotel on the lake. All this was very impressive, however it wasn’t until our first evenings Sunset, that we knew our choice was perfect, as the sky treated us to a light show of colours once the sun had disappeared behind the hilltops to the West.
Our friendly yet fairly eager host from the hotel tried his best to sell us everything under the sun including trips, tours, Yoga on the roof and even a cooking class, however
we were in no hurry to make any immediate plans and just decided to play our 4 nights here by ear.
After a wander around the town soaking up the atmosphere, we very quickly took to Udaipur. There is a great vibe to the place due to the superb location, interesting buildings and quaint narrow streets, but there is still plenty of ‘punch’ due to the traffic of tuk tuk’s, motorbikes, tourists and shopkeepers. The standard array of cows were also present here, along with the addition of mules carrying everything from bricks, to daily washing, up and down the winding streets whilst being carefully watched by their masters. With all that said, it was certainly a place that had the potential to frustrate us, however there is just something quite unique here and despite the hustle and bustle that is clearly present, it’s somewhere we could forget this and instead just enjoy it’s energy.
In our long and lazy days, we did manage to visit the fantastic city palace, which absolutely blew Jaipur’s equivalent away, take a walk around the local Jagdish temple and even caught some local entertainment that included an amusing puppet show as well
as some traditional dancing. This actually was much better than I had envisioned and is performed in a great venue, a stone’s throw away from our hotel by the Ghats leading to the lake. Despite there being a million other sights to go check out and see, we decided to keep it low key here, and do what we set out to do which was to chill out for a bit and enjoy some down time.
One of the things we did really want to try however was a cooking lesson. Having spent 2 months in India consuming at least one curry each day since our arrival, it seemed crazy not to try and learn how to make some of these wonderful dishes for when we returned to our home back in London. I know it’s something we would both like to be able to recreate for our dinner on occasions, and we hoped to be able to wow our friends and family with a little taste of India when we return. So, signing up to ‘Spicebox’ cooking lessons, we received a great, albeit slightly rushed rundown of how to make everything from Chai Tea to a Malai Kofta.
Our teacher apparently taught Jamie Oliver’s assistant the basics of curry making (he did have the guys old battered business card, however you hear so much bullshit out here it’s hard to know what is what!) We did have a good lesson though and therefore I am hoping we can impress our future guests with our new found skills when we return to Blighty!
Overall, we really did manage to do what we set out to do here in Udaipur which was relax, and that hasn’t always been an easy thing for us here in India, so we were elated! It was a real shame to actually have to move on to be honest, however North India still has many more things install for us. Getting the time to chill here is probably going to prove a wise move, as apparently still to come are some of the busiest, craziest places yet, including Agra and of course, Holy Varanasi.
Udaipur, you have been a breath of fresh air, with your rooftop restaurants overlooking the lake, your stunning views and of course your cafes that all show Octopussy on the big screen….It really has been quite Magical.
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