Udaipur Shiva FestivalFebruary 21, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C
We were both awake by 8am and made our way up to the roof terrace to wait for our free breakfast. We were a little early but didn’t mind as we both really liked the view from the terrace. When breakfast came we kept eating more and more, the poor guy who worked at the hostel had to keep bringing more...we had 2 boiled eggs, 4 curry toasties and about half a loaf of bread worth of jam on toast (Jammie dodger jam). Very satisfied and now fuelled for the day we left our hostel and made our way across the bridge, it was a gorgeous day, clear blue skies and a nice warm temperature.
Today was the Hindu festival of Shivaratri, a festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. We walked through the colourful streets and our first stop of the day was Jagdish temple, a large Hindu temple raised on a tall terrace that you had to climb up to via very steep stairs, plastered with beggars and people trying to sell us tat. Upon entering the temple there was a nice atmosphere, obviously fuelled by today’s festivities. There were people sat around a shrine in the centre of the temple singing and playing instruments, which we watched for a little while before walking round the rest of the old temple. Back onto the streets we then made our way over to the City Palace, however before we got there we were blocked by a large group of Hindu people dancing and singing in the street to incredibly loud music. We watched as they had their party and then went to look at getting tickets for the city palace. It was 300 rupees which we thought was quite a lot, but it was one of the main things to do here so we went for it. Inside the palace was quite busy, with it being the festival today. There were loads of Indians, so we sat and let the majority of them feed through before we started our walk round. The palace was really well kept, and pretty interesting as each reigning Maharaja had added bits onto it over a period of 400 years so each bit was different. We were enjoying it as the palace was nice and cool with amazing views out over Pichola Lake and the rest of Udaipur. However, we quickly became annoyed at pretty much everyone else in the palace as all they seemed to want was a picture of themselves in front of some artefact, without even looking at it or taking it in. We were ushered out the way numerous times for one of these photo shoots which we felt was a bit silly...but Indians love a picture of themselves.
We spend a good three or four hours at the palace before we left to check out a viewpoint we’d seen on maps.me. It was a pretty easy walk to the bottom of it and not too hot, so we started to climb. There was a cable car you could take up, but you couldn’t get to this viewpoint. On the way up we saw a. Abandoned pink tower which had a little rooftop, so we went off the path and clambered up the hillside to get to it. Up three flights of stairs and to the roof and we were treated to an amazing view of the lakes, palace, and temples of Udaipur. After a bit, we climbed even higher up try hill to get the sunset view.m and found these two pagoda things which seemed to have the best view of the city. We were up here quite early for the sunset, but we got some really nice pictures and just watched the scenery change as the sun went down. It was absolutely gorgeous, and as it got darker the city palace and other buildings started to get lit up.
After soaking it all up, we made our way down (via the top of the pink tower again) and then began the walk back to the hostel. On the way back, this man on a bike pulled up and showed us a WhatsApp text, it had words like ‘bull’ and ‘guys’ and ‘massage’ in it at a quick glance. We walked on, but I turned to Tom and insisted that was some sort of sexual offering. He wasn’t so sure, but I was certain. Out of curiosity, we slowed down a bit and sure enough the man stopped next to us again. We asked him what he wanted and he plainly responded saying “I want sex, you have sex with my wife”. We were speechless and couldn’t actually believe what he said. He then clarified and said that he and his wife were swingers...we had to politely decline his offer but wished him luck. After this, we were really keen for food, so stopped at a place which looked busy, always a good sign, and we decided we’d get a mixture of dishes after we’d had thali for what felt like weeks. We got vegetable pakora, this guys own veg biriyani and a peanut masala, the latter of which arrived with a flame coming out of it! All the food was amazing and safe to say we gobbled it all up.
As it was the Shiva Festival today in Udaipur there was a load of people now out on the streets and we got offered this creamy/green drink. This western guy said to me that it wasn’t strong, so we both took a cup. When we drank it we couldn’t even taste any alcohol, so it must have been really weak. It wasn’t the nicest of drinks, so Tom only had a little bit, whilst I had the whole thing as we were in front of the guys who gave it to us and I didn’t want to seem rude. We walked up the street so Tom could dump his in the bin, as two kids followed us desperate for the drink but Tom refused to give it to them. We made it back to the hostel finally and went to the rooftop to chill out for a bit. Up there we met an English girl and a Finnish guy and we were all just chatting about generic travel stuff. It was at this point I started to feel a bit weird in my stomach and I immediately thought the drink had poisoned me. However, I then overheard the Finnish guy say that the drink the locals give out on the street is a ‘special lassi’. In other words it’s a drink laced with marijuana. I hadn’t been poisoned, I’d got accidentally high. Tom has looked over to me and I was in fits of giggles at absolutely nothing at all...at least I was happy high and not depressed. Everything made me laugh, even the name of the state we were in ‘Rajasthan’ and even more so the people called ‘Rajasthani’s’ nearly had me on the floor. This went on for a while, and even Tom started to just laugh, more so at the state I was in. We went downstairs as I had some chocolate biscuits, so we demolished them and then decided we’d go on a midnight hunt for Oreos. We went down to the main door, and it was shut, but couldn’t be locked as you can’t lock people in or out of a hostel. We spent about 5 minutes pushing and pulling, looking for a lever, trying to twist bolts and pulling chains that were on this door but for the life of us we couldn’t figure it out! We had to find and ask the hostel manager how you open the door and he just said ‘slide them’...actually so simple. We got our Oreos smashed them and then duly went to bed. It had been a long and eventful day, but a fun evening.Read more