Udaipur was the most southerly city that we would be visiting in Rajasthan, and in fact in India all together on this trip. We had debated whether to go as it was a little out of the way, but the promise of a relaxing few days in a quiet city surrounded by lakes sounded too good to pass up and we'd hoped to be able to spend some time in a place without drama as everywhere we'd been so far had included a scam, some sort of altercation or hectic busyness. We arrived at the station and took a tuk tuk to an island on the lake. The island was built up and connected by foot and road bridges, we walked down a dead end street passing some absolutely stunning intricate paintings of elephants on the walls, embellished with shimmering gold paint. The guesthouse was friendly and though our room was small with only a window into a shared living room it was clean and cool. We settled in and then, after a bit of research found Yummy Yoga a short walk away which had great reviews. The owner was super friendly, as it was low season he was pretty happy to have our custom. We sat on a little platform on cushions and ordered our food, while we waited we drank fresh banana milkshakes and played board games. The food was lovely, we agreed we'd come again and then went on a walk to the lakeshore which is a popular spot to watch the sunset.
The following day we had breakfast on the roof which was included in the price of the room, with a choice of several items it worked out to be really good value and the huge fan pointed in our direction helped with the heat. We left the guesthouse and crossed the pretty lake by foot bridge, after climbing a steep hill we found a beautiful temple. We walked up the steps and removed our shoes, on the outside were intricate carvings, the sunlight shone on them highlighting a few of the decorations. Some locals were sat in the shade of the temple, we ventured inside and saw more carvings though this time they looked more like stone figurines and they were covered in colourful pink and orange pigment. A group of ladies wearing bright sari's were sat on a rug in the middle of the temple, playing instruments and singing. A small boy played a drum with his hands. We left the temple after giving a small donation to the man guarding our shoes and walked on past numerous art shops selling miniature paintings, an art form famous in the city.
The walked to The City Palace and bought our entry tickets for 300 rupees each. The slope we walked up to gain entry to the palace was original having been found under the modern surface, in times gone by elephants would have carried people up the slope. In the rectangular yard were water fountains, a line of boutique shops and a lush green strip of grass. We found a pretty viewpoint looking out over Udaipur in the shade before walking through the huge doors to the palace. Inside were wall hangings and murals, we were ushered one way round the palace visiting dozens of rooms and courtyards. Inside one room were press clippings for the Richard Attenborough film 'Ghandi' and the glasses that Ben Kingsley wore in the film. There were old weapons, paintings and perfectly preserved plaster decorated rooms. It was like being in a huge maze, each room led to a corridor which led in turn to a tight staircase and then to a courtyard. One of the courtyards I found to be particularly peaceful, I sat on a bench in the quiet amongst the flowers, little birds chirruped and the light shone through colourful stained glass creating beautiful rainbow patterns on the floor.
After exploring the palace we went to a café which had a roof terrace overlooking the lake. I could see monkeys playfully chasing each other around a monument and tree below, children splashing in the water and a woman washing clothes. It was very peaceful. Afterwards we took a walk to the sunset pier although the sky wasn't as colourful as we'd hoped and another tourist was flying his drone over the lake, footage from drones is always pretty impressive though when you're there it is extremely loud and annoying! We had dinner at Yummy Yoga as it had been so lovely the day before and the guy running it was so friendly.
Our second day in Udaipur was an extremely chilled out one. We went for a walk in the town, passing shops selling trinkets and the miniature paintings. Craig bought himself some loose and light trousers in bright shades of red and green to help keep cool, we were still finding the Indian heat hard to bear although our slow paced days and air conditioned rooms were helping. We went back to the rooftop café and sat for a couple of hours, the slight breeze, lake views and peacefulness made it feel like we were on a relaxing holiday rather than a backpacking trip. I sketched the view for a couple of hours before it was time to leave. We ate dinner at a different restaurant which had views of the twinkling lights on the lake. We stopped by Yummy Yoga on the way back to the guesthouse to see if they'd be open early for breakfast as we'd be leaving for a bus in the morning. The lovely owner said he'd open especially for us which was so kind. As we stood talking to him I felt a nudge from behind, it was cow which rubbed its head on me like a cat would. I thought how sweet and affectionate but actually it probably just had an itch it wanted to scratch.
At last we'd found a place with no drama, Udaipur had lived up to what we'd hoped it would be and we were so glad we decided to include it in our Indian adventure.
Onwards to Jodhpur!
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Have you been to Udaipur? If so, what did you think? Maybe you're planning a trip? I've got tonnes of advice and tips I can share. Let me know in the comments below.
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