Udaipur Diaries: What A Royal Holiday

Ever since I have gotten back from my dreamy trip to Udaipur I’ve been in some sort of funk. You know what I mean? Like; no-thanks-I-don’t-want-to-participate-in-real-life! But I guess great holidays do that to you, especially royal ones in Rajasthan. So for now, I’m (grudgingly) back with more photographs than my hard disk can handle, a few pretty souvenirs and a lifetime of memories. Enjoy Udaipur through my eyes:

The hubs and I stayed at the Club Mahindra property which was gorgeous but a little away from the city. It’s on the Ahmedabad highway and local cabs and tab cabs refuse to come there till you agree to pay them more and put up with their naatak. Needless to say, we did that. Because no matter how pretty your resort is, you will naturally want to explore the city.

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The Gorgeous Mahindra Property

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Pool view room

 

One of the first things we did (after soaking in the resort obviously), is the boat ride at Lake Pichola. I had heard it would be super romantic. Well – sorry to break it to ya’ll – it wasn’t. The presence of 15 other loud Indians wouldn’t allow it to be. It was however gorgeous. It was just before sunset and everything from Jag Mandir to City Palace to Taj Lake Palace glistened away to glory.

I wish we had a guide or something though because we were pretty clueless as to which some of the forts/structures/museums/hotels were.

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Taken from the boat

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One of my favourite pictures from the trip. Taken after the boat ride once the sun had set.

We watched the sunset and headed to Ginger Cafe at Jheel Guesthouse because I’d read about it online and was craving a hot cup of cappuccino. This cafe did not disappoint. We were sitting on these little stools right at the edge of Lake Pichola, taking in the view and feeling pretty darn mesmerized. Of course, along with the view also came some smells but we shall overlook that. You win some, you lose some! Oh and the coffee, hot crisp French fries, and chocolate walnut brownies were amazing. So much so, that I’m craving it all as I write this.

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Next morning we went to Fateh Sagar lake, because Udaipur is the city of Lakes and I given that we had 4 days there (whereas you can cover it in 2 if you like) I didn’t want to leave anything out. So this time, we took a motorboat; just the two of us and the guy driving it. I’ll be honest, it was really thrilling because this wasn’t some lazy ass turtle-like motorboat. It was going super fast and was definitely exciting. But we didn’t see anything historic nor did we learn anything. So do it for cheap thrills if you like or to enjoy the beauty of Udaipur (which you can’t miss even if you wanted) – but it need not be on your must-do list.

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Because I was feeling clueless about history up till now, when we went to Saheliyon Ki Bari (Courtyard Of The Maidens), I insisted we hire a guide. This was great because finally got some couple pictures (the guide was happy to click) and some insights into the place. Frankly the stories seemed rather dubious, but the gist is that it’s a beautiful garden with fountains where the king and his queen and his daughters and his multiple wives (I think) used to frolic around and enjoy. And so we did. 🙂

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We then went to The Vintage Car Museum which was honestly pretty darn exciting. The collection is enviable (though not very vast) and they even have some fun stories attached to them. For instance, the manager there showed us which car was used in the Bond movie Octopussy and which car the Queen used to like to drive. I left feeling pretty excited and I’m not even that into cars.  (By the way, all of these ‘touristy’ things have ticket costs, so keep that in mind).

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After this we had time to kill before we caught the Light and Sound Show At City Palace, so we went on this ropeway thing. We were kind of not excited about it, because there’s a Mandir on top and we weren’t too enthused to check it out. But the cable car ride was fun and it offered the most gorgeous view of the city. It also had a canteen and viewing deck on top so you can watch the sunset there and come back down. It was really breath taking.

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The Sound And Light Show At City Palace was truly one of the best things to do in Udaipur. You sit in the open in the lawns or terrace and watch the story of the Mewar Dynasty pan out through sound and light theatrics; definitely worth checking out. Did you even know the Mewar dynasty is the oldest surviving dynasty in the whole world? Live and learn, right?!

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Guarding the gates and protecting the Mewar dynasty. As one does.

We went back another day to catch the City Palace museum tour, but it wasn’t even half as awe-inspiring as the light and sound show. So if you have to pick between both, I’d go for the show. Also, after a few days in Udaipur you become a little de sensitized to seeing grand chandeliers and palatial rooms – that could be another reason I didn’t love the tour. But City Palace on the whole is beautiful with the most arresting views of Lake Pichola and the magnificent Aravali range in the distance.

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We also went to Bagore Ki Haveli Museum (not their light and sound show) but found it quite average. By that I mean we didn’t fall in love with it. Udaipur should really have its own scale where you can measure beauty.

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The whole room was filled with only puppets. And it kind of creeped me out 🙁

A restaurant you absolutely cannot miss when you are there is Upré by 1559 AD (Roof Top of Lake Pichola Hotel). We sat on the terrace of the Roof top restaurant where there are only three tables and had the most gorgeous view. Honestly, this was the most romantic thing we did in Udaipur. The views, the cool night air and the scrumptious food made it one of the most romantic meals I’ve ever had!

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And lastly, coming to Ambrai, the most famous restaurant in Udaipur. It’s at the lake side and is highly coveted. It’s recommended that you book this place in advance. Even though we went on a Monday and we called in the morning, we still didn’t get a table right at the Lakeside. We had heard a lot about the laal maas here; the husband had it and highly recommends it to anyone with a mouth that can handle fire. 🙂

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Oh, I almost forgot Sajjangarh Fort -The Monsoon Palace, which is the hilltop palatial residence overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake. It’s slightly outside the city so keeping one separate evening to check out Sajjangarh is highly recommended. It’s not much in terms of a fort or palace but it has a viewing gallery and yes, watching the sun setting from there was truly something else. I’ve tried to capture the orange hue it cast, but I don’t think the pictures do it justice.

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Fun Story: There was a couple there getting their pre wedding shoot done and people were just watching them continuously. The firangs were excited to see some ‘part of Indian culture’ and the Indians were just being shameless and staring. Of course, the boy looks at me and says “you know naa I’d never be okay with such a shoot.” I smile back knowingly.

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Thus ends my Udaipur sojourn. Hopefully, I haven’t left out anything. It was a beautiful albeit slightly expensive holiday. It’s a clean, historical and romantic city and I’d totally recommend it to all of you. In any case, I’m a little extra enthralled with Rajasthan. Perhaps, I was royal in another life. Can’t say. This life though, I’m keeping it real. 🙂

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