The last city that we visited on this trip was Udaipur, or the lake city. The best part of this leg of the trip was the scenic drive from Jodhpur to Udaipur, through forested areas. We stopped at a durry weaver’s cottage to observe the weaving and decided to buy a small hand-woven carpet, though we had not planned to buy one or even heard of durry weaving before visiting that cottage.
We then stopped at a small restaurant for a light lunch of chappathis and Marwari vadi. We drove past breathtaking hills, past natural reserves, at one time the adivasi (indigenous people) settlement area. Our driver recommended us visiting a 15th century Jain temple in Ranakpur, even though it was not part of our itinerary. We agreed and found our first visit to a Jain temple fascinating. The religion is based on the three principles of non-violence, non-absolutism and non-possessiveness and has an emphasis on vegetarianism. There were some people walking about the temple, with pieces of white cloth tied over their mouth. I thought it was to maintain silence but I read that it was to prevent the killing of insects or other micro organisms unknowingly, while breathing. Yes, this religion is a tough one to practice because one needs to even watch carefully where they walk so they don’t harm an ant.
There were numerous picturesque villages along the way, which fired one’s imagination and I wish we had spent more time in some of those villages. At one point, our driver stopped the car and said, ‘old way of irrigation. you take picture’. I observed a bullock team walking around in circles, turning a wheel which in turn drew water out of a well.
By the time we reached Hotel Rajdharshan in Udaipur, it was evening and we decided that we would prefer to go on a boat ride on Lake Pichola that evening and go on the guided tour the next day. The boat bookings was however full that evening so we ended up exploring the bazaar area around our hotel.
The next morning, we drove to the City Palace. We entered through the Sun door and came across a board hung at the entrance with the names of the different rulers of Udaipur and their reigning period. A line had been drawn under the name of the Maharana who had been responsible for building the palace. Maharana Udai Singh II is credited with beginning the construction of the palace in the 16th century and the expansion was continued over the centuries, through his successors.
The city palace is considered the second biggest palace in India, after Mysore Palace.
The Maharana of Udaipur, Maharana Bhupal Singh, was the first ruler to have handed over his property to the Indian Government at the time of Independence. He was actively involved in the politics of the time and one can visit the room where Nehru and others gathered at Udaipur palace to discuss political issues. Maharana Bhupal Singh became the first Chief of State of Rajasthan. Due to a spinal disorder, the Maharana was disabled from a young age and therefore had an elevator installed to enable him to move from his chambers to the public area. As the Mewars liked symmetry, another door was built alongside the elevator door, but which was a dummy.
After the city palace tour, we visited Sahelion Ki Bari, an early 18th century summer garden for the royal women and had been built so that they would have a relaxing place away from the court.
It was soon time to check out of our hotel and take the flight to Delhi, for a final evening in the city at our own leisure.
[Linking this post to Weekend Travel Inspiration]