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Published: June 16th 2017
Geo: 24.5823, 73.6882
Dec 22 – Jodhpur to Udaipur
Today we spent a leisurely day at the Devi Bhawan catching up on email and the blog. We leave for Udaipur by bus at 2pm. We are waiting for the electricity to come back on so I can get back online to add more to the blog.
Left Jodhpur on a tourist bus – not very 'touristy', but what can you expect for $4.00 for 2 people. The ride was about 7 hours. We got to our hotel Jagat Niwas Palace about 9:30p. I had booked a deluxe room with a view because we are here for my birthday and I wanted something a bit more special. While we did have a view, the room was not deluxe by our definition – it was very small, barely enough room to walk around the bed and it was on a sub-lower level with low ceilings. Felt a bit like we had been sent to the dungeon. We asked if we could change and they were fully booked so we decided we would try to find something else in the morning. We had a light dinner and hit the sack.
December 23 - Udaipur
Got up and headed
The Lake Palace
This used to be the summer home of the Maharani of Udaipur - it is now an upscale hotel.
out to see if we could find other accommodations. We found a lovely, huge room right around the corner. It has a large bed, a very nice sitting area, a big bathroom and we have our own private balcony with a 'big' view of the lake and lake palaces. THIS is deluxe. Oh, it is also spotless. The cleanliness of the interiors of hotels, shops, restaurants is in sharp contrast to the complete lack of cleanliness on the streets. It is an odd disparity. The streets of Udaipur are the cleanest so far. It is obvious that the city is making an effort to tidy up – streets are swept and there is much less litter and cow dung.
We wandered around today exploring. Found the spice market which is my favorite place to explore. Out time here is relaxed because we have a full extra day so it is nice to be able to amble about with no particular agenda. We did visit the City Palace, which is the second largest palace in all of India. The largest is somewhere in the south. We had a very well versed young guide.Construction of this palace was started by Maharana Udai
Our delightful new room!
Singh II, the cities founder and was started in around '1600. It has been added on to by various Maharajas' over the centuries but they have managed to maintain a uniformity of style and design so it doesn't look like a bunch of different residences attached to each other. The main entrance way is freshly repainted to its early glory because the current Maharana's daughter was married in the palace this past March. Throughout the palace there are intricate paintings and incredibly detailed mosaics with thousands of pieces of hand cut glass. The rooms on view are stunning in their colors and use of glass and gems (although these are replaced with glass now).
Color is incredibly important in Rajasthani life and often the use of color tells a lot about the person wearing it. From Lonely Planet Guide: Often color is tied up with the strictures of society. Turban color may signify caste, religion and occasion. Rajputs traditionally wear saffron, signifying chivalry. Brahmins, the highest caste, wear pink, Dalits brown and nomads black. Jubilantly multicolored turbans are for festivals, white, grey black or blue turbans are worn by Hindus to signify sadness, but these colors are also worn by Muslims.
The way a turban is tied also indicated the wearer's social class and origins.
As Hindus believe some shades of blue, green and white to be mournful colors, they tend to be worn by widows, while wives and single women wear more cherry pinks, reds and yellows. They embody more signs: one red and yellow combination may be worn by women who've borne a son. Hindu married women are carefully marked 'off limits' by chudas (arm bangles), bichyas (toe rings) and a dash of vermillion in the part of their hair.
Comment from Carole: I am ever watchful and concerned about the way women are held in societies around the world. It is interesting in India to see that, while women, do have ‘their place', they are treated kindly and lovingly by everyone. Very different from Ethiopia where women are less valuable than donkeys and treated much more poorly. Also, with the fast paced modernization of India and the higher education levels for girls, there is much more evidence of more independence and control over their own decisions about their lives. There is still a lot of tradition here that holds for both males and females but it is linked to
a sense of family bonding that is not entirely bad.
Ok, enough of that. We went out for dinner to one of the many roof top restaurants and then wandered around a bit more. We went into an art shop and there were Anthony and Caroline (met on camel safari in Jaisalmer)! They had just arrived in Udaipur a few hours earlier. We chatted for a bit and then they went on their way. We bought a small painting of Ganesh to place by our front door and the shop owner gave me a small painting as a gift for my birthday. These paintings are very intricate and done on silk – lovely. They use brushes made of squirrel tail hair, in some cases, just or 2 hairs. This is the same style of art that we saw in Jodhpur and throughout the palace today.
Dec 24 – 60 Years old!!!!
We spent a leisurely day wandering around Udaipur. We walked across one of the foot bridges to the ‘other side' of the lake. We looked at Ambrai for a possible dinner locale for my birthday dinner. They wanted 250 Rs per person cover charge because it was Christmas Eve. It's not
Main entry gate to the palace complete with spikes
The spikes were to deter elephant charges by attacking enemies
about the money – it's the principal of it – this is an unnecessary charge. Especially given the fact that there are many fewer tourists because of the European economy. Anyway, we looked at a couple other places and decided instead to have drinks on the rooftop of Jagat Niwas, which is lovely and then we ate dinner at the same roof top restaurant we ate at last night. The food is very good and it is lovely up there.
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