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Chapter five - Udaipur

sunny 30 °C

Day 21: Udaipur, Rajasthan 20/10/11

Up early to be dropped off at the coach stop by Sanjay. The bus, surprisingly, is almost on time. The six hs us stop at the land of Nod and also a town where the streets are overrun with wild pigs. We book coach tickets to Mumbai on arrival.

We arrive in the stunning city of Udaipur and are greeted at our hotel, the grandly named Lake Corner Soni Paying Guest House, by Mr and Mrs Soni, a very nice, very old couple. Gemma feels obliged to drink the tea, her arch nemesis of the drink world. Her face is a picture.

Have a mooch about – as with any other Indian city, there is lots of hustle and lots of people, as well as loads to see and smell and touch. Of course there are hundreds of cows on the streets. There are also lots of French and hippy types in this city, hence the art and painting lessons on offer everywhere.

We go back to the hotel and meet the neighbours as well as the resident wee furry animals. Some beers on the rooftop overlooking the Lake Palace which is built in the centre of the lake make for a nice evening.

Day 22: Udaipur, Rajasthan 21/10/11

On the advice of Mr Soni, we visit Lake Fateh Sagar and climb the mountain, which is home to the statue of some legendary soldier called Pratap and are mobbed in the aptly named Hall of Heroes by a group of schoolchildren. Again, photos aplenty.

Unbelievable views from the mountain over the lake and surrounding mountains and the city from a place that oddly, is not even mentioned in the Rough Guide to India. Not many western tourists here either, which is always a good sign.

We take a boat across the lake to a scenic island park, where we are befriended by a group of four 14 year old boys and confronted by probably the funniest moment of the trip so far. It emerges that the smallest, chunkiest and cockiest of the four boys thinks he can dance and after he moonwalks the length of the pier that runs into the lake, he choreographs a hip-hop dance routine for us. As would be expected the results are hilarious.

We return to the one wine shop in Udaipur for some more Kingfisher and a bottle of Indian whisky (why not) and am greeted in the small, dark, seedy shop as a returning old friend as I am privileged enough to be ushered through the steel bars keeping the riff-raff out to have my bag packed for me. We get lost on the way back but visit the Tibetan Market, which is full of tat.

A delightful evening of Indian beer, ‘Officer’s choice’ finest Rajasthani blended whisky and some candles on the rooftop.

Day 23: Somewhere between Udaipur and Mumbai 22/10/11

A bit of a lie in, a cold shower and a bag packing session for check out and we couple another great rooftop view with a questionable breakfast.

We visit Vinod (Mr Soni’s son-in-law who we met yesterday) at his shop. This place is a must see in Udaipur, an absolute Aladdin’s cave full of the most bizarre, ornate, absurd and rare objects with every use imaginable. We have chai in there and see everything and buy a quirky, ancient bottle opener, which results in some reverse haggling as Vinod tries to give it for free and when we insist he names a price then immediately lowers it considerably.

Have an early dinner (a bit of pasta for some girth ahead of the coach trip) and we run by Vinod again on the way back to the hotel. He gives me his address – pen friend. Gemma gets her nose pierced on the way back to the hotel.

Aboard the bus about half five and with a double berth bed, quadruple count of beer and a single Bollywood we are away.

Posted by tevs 07:05 Archived in India Tagged udaipur rajasthan lake_palace Comments (0)

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