A whirlwind two week tour sounds like a great idea when you plan it. Heck, it is a great idea. You’ve got to factor a few easy days into the planning, though. One needs a little rest and recuperation on one’s holiday. And that especially applies to the final stretch. By the time we got to Udaipur, we were beginning to flag. Frankly, the same applies to writing about our holiday. My typing fingers, both of them, are beginning to flag too…
Fortunately, we had quite the deluxe hotel booked. The Chunda Palace, with the most excessive, vibrant decor I have ever come across. I liked it. Click here to check it out. I liked even more that we were upgraded to a suite with more floor space than our flat at home. We did seem to be the only people staying in the hotel, so why not? The views of the surrounding lakes and hills were perfect. Just what we needed.
As nice as the hotel was, we had to leave it from time to time. Udaipur must be explored, and was just a ten minute tuk tuk trip away. Excluding Sawai Madhopur (the nearest town to Ranthambore National Park) this was the smallest city we visited during our trip. The total roll call of its inhabitants measures in the low hundreds of thousands. As opposed to Jaipur and Agra, which measured in the low millions. Or Delhi, measuring in untold tens of millions.
Udaipur was, as a result, an easier and slightly more relaxed place to be. You might, if you were a true movie buff, recognise some of the sights. A chunk of Octopussy was filmed here. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel featured a scene from Udaipur too. Indeed, we went into a fabric shop which proudly displayed photos of Dame Judi Dench and co during a visit to their most esteemed establishment.
One of our tuk tuk drivers also claimed to have carried Dame Judi on one of her excursions. True or not, I cannot say. I have a sneaky feeling that there may be more tuk tuk owners making this claim than tuk tuk rides taken by Judi Dench.
Udaipur was fun. There’s decent shopping to be had for the tourists. Mrs P also had a nice haircut in a trendy parlour. They didn’t have electricity or any form of lighting, but they did have a nice balcony, a pair of scissors and two assistants to hold things. Mrs P was pleased with her cut. The City Palace is truly a grand place to wander around.You could spend an entire day there. And, of course, there are more temples than you could shake a stick at.
We returned to the palace for the nightly Sound and Light show. The best I can say about it is that there were lights and also some sound. The gist of the story was that many invaders have tried to conquer Udaipur, and some of them succeeded. But the ruling dynasty always survived and remained in place, and still does so to this very day. I was also slightly intrigued that the stories involving jauhar were recounted in a rather glorified manner.
Our last night in Udaipur soon arrived. We went to see some traditional dancers in a beautiful little haveli near the lake. What better way to finish than watching a band of dishy young ladies dance the night away in brightly coloured dresses? I’ll tell you what better way there is. Watching a 70 year old lady dance with eleven pots balanced on her head, that’s what. She was the star of the show.
And so our trip to Udaipur was over. And thus, bar the shouting, was our Indian adventure. We flew back to Delhi and spent one last night in an airport hotel, before returning to the UK. All things must come to an end. Whether they are good things, bad things or a mix of the two. Until next time, India, farewell….