India
Udaipur

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  • Day44

    Udaipur

    January 17, 2019 in India ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    Udaipur is a sprawling city set in a beautiful landscape. A series of ridges surround lovely lakes. It is considered to be the most romantic city in all of India. It's the site of numerous films, one of which was the Roger Moore as James Bond film Octopussy. It is also notorious as one of the places on the planet that middle-aged women go to experience another culture and let their hair down. We enjoyed our time here. Lovely sunsets and good food.

    Here's a link to a panoramic photo of the city. https://photos.app.goo.gl/BmyYQNENM7K6shw57

    We were able to take care of some business while we were here. Laundry, ATM, and a haircut. Nancy chatted with the proprietor while his son gave me a post haircut head massage.

    Later, as we were on one of our walks, we were commenting on how Sri Lanka and India are so similar in that it is hard to strike up a natural conversation that doesn't end in a pitch to visit a shop, or go to a cousin's restaurant, or see an art gallery, or get one's photo taken with a camel, or pay to have a prayer said by a priest, or be asked if we need a ride by a Tuk Tuk driver. In many places we've been in Rajasthan the barrage is almost constant. It has become another one of the things that we gird up for when leaving our hotel room; like seeing a person with a crippling malady begging, or copious amounts of trash, or incessant honking, or being cut off by pretty much anyone and everyone. Just as we'd reached the conclusion of our discussion, we walked by an older woman drying pappadam in the walkway of her home. She smiled and called out to us. Next thing we knew it we were being asked in for tea and biscuits. Her whole family joined us and we spent the better part of an hour talking politics, recipes, California, and family connections. It was great. India, if nothing else is a place of contradictions which shakes my convictions each time I come close to any sort of understanding.

    Here's a video from a wedding procession in the street below our hotel room this evening. https://photos.app.goo.gl/zb1gp6ext89FBzQw7

    Tomorrow we fly to Varanasi and some other new way of almost understanding...
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  • Day10

    Lake City - Udaipur

    November 28, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    The pollution has finally caught on and I have fully swollen glands. But I'm not going to let that stop us enjoying. We got up first thing ready for our long journey to Udaipur which actually did take a very long time. I fell asleep for most of the journey and woke up about 3pm...wups!

    We tried to go to a famous temple along the way but unfortunately it was closed till the evening. Then we visited the Palace Gardens which was a very welcomed break from not stopping for 4 hours. Then we just went straight to our hostel in Udaipur. Wow wow wow! Two friends from Udaipur worked, lived and travelled to various countries around the world and during their travels they came up with the idea of creating a hostel. They have a hostel in Goa which is in its 2nd year and then due to its success they decided to have one in Udaipur. They decided as its their home town they would buy a castle. And that they did! The hostel is in the grounds of the old Fort and has possibly one of the best views of the city. It's really beautiful. The ground of the hostel is humongous and there are just 4 of them working on it so I think it will take years! It's truly a beautiful sight though it would be amazing to come back when it's done. For now we are honoured to see it from the beginning.

    We went for a late lunch at Millets Mewar and had Bhindi Masala and Sev chhana daal and chapattis, which was really different from other dishes we've been having. We then Skyped with Will's parents before heading out again for more food. Seriously we haven't eaten all day and even though we don't feel hungry we are definitely both loosing weight so it's not good! We found a man on the street selling Pani Puri and then found a masala chai stall. So we sat, people watched and chatted with the locals. They recommended a cheap but fantastic thali restaurant so we couldn't not go. We were definitely full now!!

    We walked around the town at night for a bit before heading back to the hostel as it was beginning to get quite cold.

    The night was really cold. It dropped down to 13 degrees Celsius from 28, so it was quite a difference. I think I might have to wear all my clothes tomorrow night including a coat!
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  • Day11

    Venice of the East

    November 29, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Up I got and Will wasn't in the dorm room... Uh oh I've lost him again. Luckily he messaged me this time. He'd moved to an empty dorm due to a snorer in ours! As I was awake I decided to get up and shower. It was absolutely freezing! I couldn't get warm (even in the 26 degree heat) for hours!

    Although I've had a few moments of worry I've overall been enjoying my life of luxury in Rajasthan, but Will has been worrying the whole time. Maybe we should have taken the cheaper options of trains but meh it's done and there's nothing we can do. It's time to enjoy!!

    Today was a day of no travelling, to just enjoy the beautiful city of Udaipur. In the morning we sat on the rooftop for a while to enjoy the beautiful views from the hostel Fort. We then took our trousers and my backpack to a lovely old man for repair. He didn't care how much we gave him which was really sweet and then we had our morning Chai. Then it was time to sight see. We wandered around the town visiting various temples including the Jagdish temple which had prayers happening and we even bumped into some people we met in Pushkar which was nice. For lunch we had Kachori which is spinach and peas encased in a samosa like round casing. Yum. Will is doing amazingly well with the spicy food, I'm actually super impressed. Even if it might take him a while yo eat it he finishes every dish! I must admit I'm absolutely loving the food, I'm in heaven!

    In the afternoon we visited the City Palace which was beautiful and then a tibetan market where we had some shakes.

    Now the thing we've been waiting for the boat ride along Lake Pichola. A tip for anyone who comes here, go to the port near Natural View Restaurant. Here is the government run boat and for a sunset tour it is only Rs300 instead of Rs 600 which other companies charge. As we were a bit early we went to a cafe to get a cake as a trear and spoke to Simran the owner of the cafe who gave us some amazing tips for the rest of our travels in India. Finally it was time for the boat ride and finally we got to see the sunset in all its glory. It was so relaxing and really romantic. We were both finally fully relaxed and able to enjoy the luxury of the car. In the words of Will's mum "Just enjoy the luxury and it is the duty of the rich man to".

    After the boat ride we went to Natural View Restaurant which had an amazing view of the lake and sunset. We sat and drank mint tea and it couldn't have been more perfect. I'm so glad to see Will finally relaxed.

    We then rushed back to to the tailor to pick up our trousers and my backpack which needed fixing and the lovely old man did a fantastic job too!

    For dinner we went back for Thali (for those that don't know Thali is one of my fave things to have. It's a metal tray full of small dishes of Dhal, Aloo Gobi, Raita, Rice, Chapattis and Papad). Its delicious! My funniest moment of the day happened over dinner. I forgot to ask for Will's Thali to be a bit less spicy as he wasn't feeling well. Half way through the dinner Will said jeeze I just can't cope with the spiciness of this Papad. Papad is a papaddom!! It's possibly the plainest thing on the Thali 😂

    After dinner wandered to HatiPole Market which is clearly where all the locals really dine! What a shame we had already eaten! They had some amazing looking street food and although full I could not resist a Gulab Jamun. According to Will it is the Indian version of Treacle Tart without the tart and for me and in fact most Indians its a memory of childhood.

    A perfect day of finally eating 3 meals in a day and seeing the beautiful sights and views of Udaipur.
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  • Day46

    Lake city

    December 28, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Definitely our favourite place!

    We had such a good time here, its such a beautiful place with really nice people. We made friends with the local cafe owner, Viki and went there at least once a day for some amazing chai or pineaple coffee (this last concept is hard to believe but it is literally the best thing ever). There were some British people that came there everyday too, Micheal and Lucy, we got super friendly with them too. They were in Udaipur for 3 months and a good laugh. Going there really felt like a club house or something familiar. There was also a huge art scene (not to be compared with any art scene at home) in Udaipur so we were constantly wandering into art shops and galleries. By the end of our trip when we'd be walking down the main street we were waving left and right because we actually started to get to know the people. Such nice vibes.

    We also followed an art class which was super good and Udaipur has amazing food too! Really cool to see a traditional Rajasthan dance performance too with beautiful ladies and one who balanced like 20 pots on her head. Such a cool place!!
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  • Day45

    Udaipur tour

    December 27, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    So we really like Udaipur and wanted to do a tour. We walked all around the old part of town and learnt all about the different neighbourhoods. So "back in the day" but also to this day you used to have all the different proffesions in one neighbourhood. So proffesions were passed on through the generations and you would have all the basket weavers in one area, the potters in another, shoe makers, fruit retailers, they all had their own part. Now it's not super strict but you will still predominantly find the same shops in the same areas of the old town.

    We also learnt about local temples and got some more information about Hindu temples. The best part was trying all the local sweet delicacies, jallebis, yum!
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  • Day43

    Helping at an animal shelter

    December 25, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Christmas and boxing day could not have been better spent than this.
    While there was no real sign of the Christmas spirit Kaya and I spent a day here at the animal shelter in Udaipur. Much more rewarding than the forts..

    So there are many many street animals in India but not many shelters. While Kaya and I both believe the human needs crisis needs to be solved more urgently it doesn't take away from the great initiative. They take wounded street animals in and cure them, then they release them back into the wild. In some cases (blindness or loss of backlegs) they do adopt them and keep them there as they wouldn't survive back in the wild.

    They also adopt donkeys that have been used cruelly for labour, so we saw many ghastly sights of twisted legs and horrible wounds which is really sad. Donkeys are used here to carry big bags of rocks, way heavier than they are able of coping with and they will tie their front leg to their back leg to decrease speed, with grim results. Luckily they got to stay in this nice enclosure with the cows.

    The cows usually come from the milk industry as when they no longer can produce milk the industry tosses them onto the street, the cows are often too weak to survive on their own after this. The shelter also has many male baby cows that either get killed or tossed for the reason that they can't produce milk. Again, quite sad and this is one we can't even deny happens in the west! Also their are a lot of "wild" cows in India that live on the street. With all the pollution and littering here the poor things end up consuming so much plastic and as a result of this their stomach fills with it, creating a barrier that won't let any actual food and nutrients pass through. They got weirdly bloated and will die soon if nothing is done, again the shelter will try to perform a surgery but to be fair they will just go back on the street again and the same will happen.

    All in all another eye opening experience that was very rewarding. We spent two days there helping out and gave some donations.
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  • Day39

    The final palace

    December 21, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    OK so now we are actually done with the forts and palaces hahaha. We by chance strolled into this one and thought why not. But we are not as excited any more about these buildings. They are magnificent but we have become desensitised to the true beauty! So we will choose more nature orientated trips and hang outs from now.

    We have made friends with a local cafe owner who made us extremely spicy, but according to him not at all spicy chow mein noodles. Had a good laugh with him. The guest house we are at is very nice, we are exhausted from traveling so taking it easy and decided to spend Christmas here and stay longer until getting a super long train journey back.
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  • Day198

    Udaipur, Rajasthan

    March 14, 2019 in India

    Unfortunately, Udaipur won’t likely rest in our memories for its ornate palaces, scenic lake vistas or even as the shooting location for 007’s Octopussy....India finally caught up with us and delivered our first team gastro-bug. It wiped out the family for a couple of days and all I can say is that it was a good thing that our washroom’s sink was close to the toilet.

    Burrowing out from a pile of laundry and electrolyte-replacing Gatorade bottles, Dale and I managed to visit a couple of places today. AnimalAid is a rescue centre for local animals that are sick or injured. In the last 6 years over 100,000 animals have received medicine, therapy and love from 90 staff and countless volunteers at the centre. Rehabilitated animals are released back to where they were found, or, if unfit to survive alone, they are allowed to convalesce at the centre for the rest of their days. Visitors can take a tour of the facility or arrange volunteer hours where they can learn to take care of the patients.

    On our way home our tuk-tuk driver brought us to the foot of a large hill. Still too weak to climb, we took a government jeep to the top where sits the once grand Sajjan Garh Palace overlooking the peaceful lakes and busy city of Udaipur. The structure is affectionately known as the Monsoon Palace as its location was supposedly chosen as an ideal point to watch the monsoon clouds rolling in.
    - Geoff
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  • Day19

    Udaipur

    January 11, 2017 in India ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Coming to Udaipur was a sight we won't forget. With all the natural beauty that surrounds this city it was a nice break from all the noise and crowds of a typical Indian city.

    The highlight of our visit to Udaipur was our stay at Fatheghar, a hotel situated up in the hills overlooking Lake Pichola. The sunrise we saw from on top the hills was also worth the early wake up call and the sunset was pretty too!

    Aside from the beauty, Udaipur is known for the lavish City Palace of King Udai Singh built in 1559 which was nice to see especially the peacock mosaics that surrounded the courtyard!

    Udaipur was our last stop on this side trip around Rajasthan. It was nice to see another State aside from Gujarat where we'll be spending a week with family as all States in India have their own history and culture!

    And as a side note, we couldn't help but resist to stop on the side of the highway to pick up fresh vegetables as we drove back to Ahmedabad.
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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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