May 17th: Exploring the City of the Lakes
It was the first day of our 5-night long India tour and we were all really excited to visit the City of the Lakes, Udaipur, in the state of Rajasthan. From its magnificent palaces to its vibrant bazaars, from its palace converted hotels to its beautiful lakes, the city is the apogee of romantic and alluring Rajasthan. Udaipur, also referred to as the “Venice of the East” and the “Most Romantic City of the East”, is also home to various Hollywood, Bollywood, and other posh weddings. Having heard so much about the city, we were ready to explore and experience its history, culture, and beauty.
Breakfast: We had a lavish breakfast at hotel Trident and felt like princesses because of the royal hospitality that we received.
Udaipur City Palace:
After breakfast, we visited the Udaipur City Palace and saw the Palace museum, Durbar Hall, Crystal Gallery, and Jag Mandir. For me personally, it was the most exciting part as I was visiting the palace of my favorite king, Maharana Pratap. We saw his 72 kg armor and learnt about his brave horse, Chetak. We learnt about the role of the Rajputs, Mughals, and British in the history of India. We also saw the portraits of the current royal family and were mesmerized by the fact that we were right outside their residence, and as one of my friends was heard saying, “Let’s wait here until we see someone from the royal family come out of the palace. ”
For lunch, we decided to go for a thali so we could enjoy a variety of finger licking Rajasthani food. We enjoyed a selection of curries, pickles, special breads and desserts and, as usual, we all ate more than what we expected to.
Boat Ride on Lake Pichola:
After visiting the city palace, we took a boat in Lake Pichola to visit Jag Mandir and palace converted hotels. I am sure that some of us were already planning our weddings to be held in Udaipur, because after all what could be better than getting married at a palace?
Shopping and Ice Cream Time: After the boat ride, we went to a painting store and learnt about the Rajasthani miniature painting which is done with utmost care and in minute details. The miniature painting is done on paper, silk cloth, ivory panels and marble. We were fascinated to see that the colors used were made out of minerals and vegetables, precious stones, as well as pure silver and gold. We all bought some kind of painting for ourselves as well as for our friends and families. After shopping we enjoyed some Indian ice-cream- Indian pista kulfi and mango ice-cream.
In the evening, we went to see a cultural show in one of the palaces or “havelis”. The haveli lightens and stages enjoyable performance of traditional music and dance of Rajasthan, and it was a perfect place for us to explore the ancient architecture and life style of both the royal family and the common people.
Dinner: After a long day, we came back to the hotel and enjoyed a royal Rajasthani dinner.