With our organised tour of India complete, we’ve now got some down time to do our own thing.
We’ve decided to finish off our trip with a visit to Udaipur (followed by Mumbai).
Love is a wonderful thing. It makes us do things we wouldn’t normaly do in a sensible world.
Like getting on a train at 5am and spending 7 hours on it in baking heat, when we could have got a flight that would have lasted 45 minutes !.
Enough about that.
My 2nd time on an Indian train (the first was New Delhi to Agra). It’s a hive of activity, people are organising bags and finding their seats.
But it’s early in the morning and a seven hour journey to Udaipur so minutes after the train leaves, most people are asleep.
We arrive at Udaipur station and get a taxi to our accommodation.
The place is lovely and the staff and owner are friendly. The only thing…
Why does it seem that when you arrive at some hotels people want to sit you down, give you some tea and tell you about their hotel.
I didn’t want to be impolite but I was tired, just wanted to be on my own and have a lie down. But I didn’t, I sat through half an hour of how he had done all the building work, decorating and carpets himself.
Then we had to do various forms and paperwork (a throwback to the days when Britain “ran” India and “propper” records and admin were the norm.
Shown to our room, it was very comfortable.
After a short nap, we head out to explore Udaipur. The first place to go is lake Pichola, which I was suprised to find, is man made.
We pass under these arches and sit by the water.
And what a beautiful lake it is.
We look out to the Islands, which were intending to visit the following day.
It’s getting towards the evening so we decide to have a drink and something to eat.
When I said I was going to Udaipur, everyone mentioned the “hotel from Best exotic marigold hotel”.
The hotel in question is the Jagat Niwas pallace. But I’ve seen the film and it doesn’t look familiar ?
Turns out (if you’ve seen the film) that they travel away from the hotel to attend a funeral and have a conversation in a rooftop bar overlooking a lake. Thats where I am.
We chat to some other travellers. I realise that for the price of our accommodation, we could have got a room here (but that would have involved arriving with no booked accomodation, wandering around and haggling. We’ve done the right thing.
After an evening of fun, we settle on our hotel rooftop, and watch the world go by.
Up early the next day and breakfast (and tea).
Were expecting queue’s at the City Palace so we get there early.
Standing outside the palace on the land side.
Started in 1553, it took nearly 400 years to construct and is considered the grandest in Rajasthan.
There were lots of ornate rooms and stuff like that.
From one of the balcony’s we could see into the courtyard. Although still early, it was really busy.
One interesting exhibit (which seems a bit out of place) are the original spectacles that Ben Kingsley wore in Ghandi.
Another view from on-high.
There was quite a queue, as it was a weekend and lots of the locals had the same idea as us. We board our boat, and put on our boyancy aids.
The first place we see is the Monsoon Palace, up high on the hill.
Ok, at this point, it’s important to mention that Udaipur is quite famous among James Bond fans.
It’s where the 13th James Bond film, Octopussy was filmed (the opening scenes of the film show the Taj Mahal, and imply their right next to each other, but theyre actualy 700k appart).
The villain of the film, is Kamal Khan, and his residence in the film is the Monsoon Palace.
The very exclusive Lake Palace hotel.
It literaly occupies its own Island and only residents are allowed there.
An island you can visit, is Jag Mandir (both this and the Lake palace hotel were used as Octopussy home in the film).
We arrive at Jag Mandir and disermbark.
There are some specacular gardens and we wander around.
The view back to the Palace from Jag Mandir.
They have an exclusive restaurant and bar (by exclusive I presume they mean expensive).
No matter, it’s a hot day and I’m on holiday so time for a drink.
Starting to get dark now, so we board our boat and head for land.
Once again, dinner by the lake, and this view of the Palace hotel lit up in the evening.
Our last day in Udaipur. Were due to fly later, so we spend some time wandering around the town.
According to my guidebook, the Jagdish Temple is a must see site.
Seen up close, lots of carved images, which reminded me of a previous trip to India, and Khajuraho.
The local clock tower. Brought to Udaipur from London in 1887.
The Daiji footbridge offers spectacular views of the lake (and quite a peacefull place to got for a walk in what otherwise is quite a busy city).
There are lots of small cafe’s in the town, catering for backpackers.
Many of them have daytime and evening screenings of the James Bond films.
I hadn’t had any hot chocolate in ages, so we popped into one. I was delighted to find they also did Garlic bread with cheese (well, I was delighted until it was put on my plate !).
Leaving town and exploring in the oposite direction.
Manik Lal Verma Park. Empty and seemingly disused overlooking Dudh Talai lake.
A really beautiful spot.
There are 125 million English speakers in India.
What a shame that none of them were available when the sign on this bus was being written.
Just for fun, we decide to get the Udaipur ropeway, to a hill overlooking the area.
An enormous queue. Interestinly, a group of 3 young, pretty girls, seemed to keep moving forward, pushing in and overtaking poeple.
Nobody seemed to mind. However, I’m from Great Britain, and that doesn’t work with me. When they tried to overtake me, I politely told them that wasn’t on.
I was worried that there might be a scene, but they politely appologised and stayed where they were in the queue. I tried to imagine how that would have played out in Blackpool in the UK !.
But finaly were on the cable car (with our new female friends as guests, and the mood is light).
The view spectacular, I usualy try to capture each place I visit in 1 picture in my mind.
This is it.
We finish with a visit to the Karni Mata temple, and then follow a zig zag path down the hill.
Back to our hotel, pick up our bags, taxi to the airport and then flight to Mumbai.