Today we toured the main sites of Udaipur, a beautiful city in South Rajasthan built around three large artificial lakes. It reminds me very much of the great lakes in Northern Italy in style, right down to the decorative islands in the centre of the lakes.
First of all, we visited the City Palace of the Maharaja of Udaipur.
The building is huge, construction starting in the mid 16th century, but added to by successive Maharajas. It is now divided into the royal residence, a museum and a hotel/wedding venue.
The interiors are highly decorated with numerous statues, squares and terraces within the building. There is even a rooftop garden.
Spot the selfie…
There are also many individual objects of interest, including a statue of Ganesh which welcomes you to the palace.
There is also the personal quarters of Col. James Tod, officer of the East India Company, and oriental scholar.
The spectacle worn by Ben Kingsley in the film Gandhi are also here, as they were gifted to the Maharaja after filming.
There were examples of Rajput weapons and armour.
There was a silver carriage, presented as part of a dowry from the Princess of Bikaner.
And there were fine views of the city.
Afer our visit to the Ciy Palace, we headed to Lake Pichola, where we went for a boat ride.
The highlights were the Lake Palace, where the James Bond film Octopussy was filmed. The palace is now a hotel, so you can only visit it if you are staying there!
We also saw the hotel where series 3 of the BBCs Real Exotic Marigold Hotel was filmed.
Whilst on the boat ride, we visited the Island of Jagmandir, essentially the “party” island for the Maharaja and his women, and also now a hotel…though there are also beautiful gardens and views, so it is worth the visit.
After the boat ride, we visited the gardens of Saheliyon-ki-Bari in the North of the City, a nice place to chill, and very popular with tourists and locals alike.
We were also lucky enough to see a mongoose, there are only two wild ones in the park.
We returned to our hotel to spend the late afternoon chilling, whilst I write this accompanied by my new favourite drink – freshly squeezed lime juice and soda water, served with salt, rather than sugar. We made the decision early on to go “dry” for the tour, and this is a refreshing substitute which I may have to introduce to England!
Tomorrow we head for Jodhpur.