Thursday, 9 October 2014

Udaipur - City of Lakes: Part 1

The third stop on our roadtrip through Rajasthan was the beautiful, watery city of Udaipur, known for its shimmering lakes and pearlescent palaces. If Jaipur's principal colour was pink, and Jodhpur's blue, then Udaipur is drenched in shades of cream, ivory and taupe. Located among the green heights of the Aravalli mountains, its temperate, Venice-like cityscape felt very different to the desert settlements we visited elsewhere in Rajasthan. It was also much cleaner, so polished and Europe-esque for an Indian city that it almost felt like we were in a different country. The shore around Lake Pichola, decorated with fairytale palaces, onion-shaped mansions and nacreous crescents and cupolas, was easily one of the most romantic places we've seen on this trip.

Our driver, Bubloo, took us south away from the Thar Desert and across the Aravalli Mountains to Udaipur.
Leaving the desert.

On the way, we stopped at Ranakpur Jain Temple.
I don't think I ever mentioned it, but India has some of the biggest ants we've encountered on our trip. These things must have a nasty bite.
From the outside, the temple was an impressive but not especially breathtaking structure. From the inside, however, it looked incredible, filled with beautifully detailed, polished marble columns, engravings and motifs.

We got talking to these curious schoolgirls, who wanted to know what our names were, where we were from, how old we were, and a bunch of other questions.

A rather droid-like Buddha.

After leaving the temple we drove deep into the Aravallis, one of the world's oldest mountain ranges. Apparently, they were extremely high during ancient times, but millions of years of weathering has since worn them down.

In the late afternoon we arrived in Udaipur, driving past a few of its large lakes.

Admiring the view over the city from the top of our hotel.

The City Palace was nearby, though we'd wait until tomorrow before entering it.
Down in the streets, decorations were up in celebration of the nine-day festival, Navratri. We'd be seeing more of the festival later that evening.
Walking down the streets.
We went to a pretty dock overlooking Lake Pichola. In the background you can see Taj Lake Palace standing in the middle of the lake.

Some cool graffiti on the city streets.

For dinner, we ate Paneer Lababdar, a rich combination of red and white gravy with cottage cheese.
That evening, we watched some Navratri celebrations.

During Navratri, people perform the Dandiya Raas, a traditional stick-dance originating in Gujarat.

This guy feels the magic.
Back on our rooftop at night.
Watching the festivities from above.

Click here to continue the adventure in Part 2!

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