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  • Day15

    Udaipur on the Lake

    March 1, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    We got off the beaten track a bit on the way here, driving from Jodhpur via the small town of Ranakpur and the incredible Rana Khumba Jain Temple.

    A symmetrical structure 60 by 62 metres, it contains 1,444 exquisitely carved marble pillars, no two of which are identical. It was well worth an hour’s bumping and jolting on narrow roads to reach it.

    We continued a steep, winding climb over the Aravalli range and on to Udaipur, but not before that darned Indian reality intruded into our world again.

    A crowd of onlookers, a wrecked motor cycle strewn across the road and the rider face down and unmoving in the middle of it. 137,000 people die here each year in road accidents, 25% of them motor cyclists. There were no jokes about the traffic or the drivers for the rest of the day after that most sobering of events.

    Famous for its lakes, Udaipur is an attractive city by Rajasthan standards. The lakes are low on water at present, and the rubbish-strewn shorelines not overly attractive, but overall we thought it excellent.

    We visited the Maharana’s Palace, large enough to contain two hotels plus his residence plus a museum and still have room left over to rent out for weddings and functions.

    It was very photogenic, perched on a cliff above Lake Pichola. The various preserved rooms were interesting and there seemed to be cool, green, peaceful courtyards everywhere. Then of course, from almost every window was an expansive view over the lake.

    We took a boat ride on the lake, cruising out to the Maharana’s “Fun” island. Exactly what kind of fun he used to take himself and his entourage off for wasn’t specified, but it was quite a small island.

    We visited the Garden of the Maidens, built by Maharana Sangram Singh in 1734 for his wife and entourage to relax. With fountains everywhere, manicured paths and gardens and bougainvillea running amok it was absolutely brilliant.

    For dinner one night our capable and friendly driver, Anand, took us to a restaurant on the lake. There’s not much view in the dark, mind you, and a cold wind came up that blew straight through us in our semi-outdoor location. These were minor considerations, though. Cold beer and wine, great food and an endless supply of inane conversation kept us well entertained.

    We also relaxed for a day here, sitting by the pool and wandering down for a look at our sister hotel - the uber-luxurious Oberoi. So pleased were the staff to see four Australians in thongs walking into their hotel that they gave us a ten minute tour then promptly called for a golf cart to take us back to where we had come from.
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