Slightly bleary eyed after our interrupted sleep last night we caught our early morning bus to Udaipur. Upon arrival Tim had his usual fun with the rickshaw drivers which involves him asking how much, telling them they are kidding themselves, they come back with something like “but sir it is very far” or my favorite “the bridge is broken so have to detour”, he then shows them on his map that he knows it’s not very far, they say the map is incorrect, Tim then laughs at them and books an Uber.
On the drive to the guesthouse we were pleasantly surprised by Udaipur and a little happy that our failed attempt yesterday to bypass this place had gone badly. The old town was really pretty and that is not a word you usually use for India. Yes there are beautiful temples and mind blowing buildings but the buildings in-between usually aren’t very pretty. Where as Udaipur had beautiful old buildings everywhere with arched windows and balconies all overlooking a man made lake.
Our guest house was in one of these beautiful old buildings and our room had a view of the lake and the buildings on the other side. We headed out in search of some food and were surprised with the temperature. Still hot but under 40. We found a lovely restaurant right on the water with amazing views and a lovely cool breeze.
After lunch we went for a walk around the winding streets of Udaipur. It was definitely geared towards tourists with shops selling the usual trinkets, clothes and leather items. But the place had a very nice atmosphere and although the locals tried to get you in their shops it wasn’t pushy and with a no thank-you we were sent off on our way with a big Indian smile. Walking around we saw a handful of other westerners but again you could tell it was off season. The place almost felt deserted after Ahmenabad. It was a pleasure being able to walk around the streets not fearing you were going to get run over. The main reason for this was that the streets on our side of the river were tiny alleyways that could barely fit a car. On the other side of the river it was a little more hectic but still a lot quieter than what we have gotten used to.
We went and visited the temple situated in the middle of the old town. Not as impressive as others we have seen but still nice with beautifully carved stone. It’s getting a bit like it did with churches in South America. We have seen so many they need to be very impressive to get our praise. It was here where we ran into a local trying to sell miniature painted artwork which we politely declined but proceeded to get a wealth of information from. One of those titbits was that parts of the James Bond film Octopussy was filmed here. That answered why all the guesthouses were advertising nightly screenings of the movie. We just chalked it down to the fact that India loves James Bond. Every day when you turn on your tv there is a James Bond film on. Usually followed by a Jackie Chan film.
Further down the road we entered the City Palace which is situated on the river and is the focal point of the town. It was a beautiful sandstone colour and huge, apparently the biggest in Rajasthan. Unfortunately we couldn’t go into the museum as it was shutting for the day but took a pleasurable stroll around the grounds. In the background we had storm clouds rolling and thunder. We both looked at each other and decided that it was all just for show. The thunder and lighting were impressive and we got the occasional drop of rain.
Looking out onto the lake from the palace there are two islands in the middle, one with a hotel on it and the other looks like a palace but we couldn’t find out what it was. These were the shooting locations for Octopussy according to our man. There was a lovely spot to view both islands just south of the palace and also see the sunset. Unfortunately someone had decided it would also double as a rubbish tip and the stench was so bad we had to leave.
We then headed home and luckily we did because within 5 minutes the heavens opened and we looked out on rain for the first time in what felt like forever. Udaipur has been a wonderful start to Rajasthan even if it wasn’t originally on our list. S
Not too shabby a view from our lunch table.
View of the Palace from the footbridge.
I can’t resist a good sari photo. 3 lovely ladies crossing the footbridge.
Streets of Udaipor.
External Temple carvings.
Streets of Udaipor.
Guarding a no go zone. The Indians do uniforms so well.
The rooftops of Udaipor from the palace walls.
View from the Palace side to the side where we were staying. You can actually see our guesthouse which is the building with the red sign in the right hand top corner.
The hotel positioned in the middle of the lake.
More views of the lake.
The backstreets of Udaipor.
A gateway leading from the waters edge into town. Locals would sit along the steps enjoying the cool breeze, wash clothes or swim/bathe in the water. It was looking a little too green and murky for me.