India Memories, Part Four.

Southern Rajasthan – Udaipur and Mount Abu

8. Most Romantic City.

From Bundi we travelled south to Udaipur. The city sits beside the picturesque Lake Pichola with the wooded Arayalli Hills stretching away in every direction. The old town has countless narrow and crooked streets with beautiful old havelis or hotels, ancient bazaars and a grand City Palace which is the largest in Rajasthan.

While we loved wandering up and down the streets and exploring everything we came across from the palace to the spice market, our favourite spot was sitting in the restaurant of a grand old haveli, which is now an upmarket hotel, as the day drew to an end and the sun set behind the hills opposite. Our view included the shimmering lake, a grand palace on an island in front of us, the illuminated City Palace behind us and numerous other buildings displaying the Rajput architecture around us and on the opposite shore. A crisp beer with complimentary pappadums helped ease the heat out of the day.

Mornings were just as beautiful by the lake side.

The City Palace is a massive 244m long and is a conglomeration of structures including 11 smaller palaces all topped by balconies, towers and cupolas towering over the lake. The main part is open as the City Palace Museum, with rooms extravagantly decorated with mirrors, tiles and paintings, and housing a large and varied collection of artefacts. Liveried guards usher you through a defined route to ensure you visit all of the rooms and courtyards.  

As usual we thoroughly enjoyed just wandering through the streets past colourful shop displays and friendly people until we eventually made our way to the spice market.

And then of course it was back to our favourite hotel for sunset drinks and this time we stayed for dinner as well.

9. Colourful Rural Festival.

On the plane trip from Bengaluru to Goa the airline magazine listed the Mount Abu Summer Festival in the upcoming events. The dates were during our time in Rajasthan so we decided to include it in our itinerary. Mount Abu is Rajasthan’s only hill station and is not far from the border with Gujarat, the state just south of Rajasthan. As an added bonus for us the temperatures there are considerably cooler than the scorching temperatures in most of Rajasthan.

The festival is a celebration of tribal life and culture and is attended by many people from small communities dressed in traditional costumes as well as tourists from Indian cities and towns who come to enjoy the festival and the cooler weather.

Tribal costumes were mainly worn by the women and there were marked differences in garments between tribes. 

The guys scrubbed up well and were quite happy to be in our photos.

And some of the turbans were particularly impressive.

We took plenty of photos but there were probably just as many taken of us. So many people wanted to take selfies with us and it seemed unreasonable to say no but it sure became tiresome for people like us who normally try to avoid being in photos. When we wanted a break we found an upstairs bar where we could rest with a cool drink and avoid the selfies and photos taken of us, well most of them anyway.

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