Udaipur: Palaces by the Lake
…Udaipur, among those familiar with Indian history, is probably best known as the last holdout of the Rajputs against both the Mughals and the British. After losing their original home fort at Chittor a few too many times to invading Mughals, Udai heard a voice in the desert – well, some sort of prophetic voice – that told him he and his people would be safe if he built them a fort and a palace here. So he did, and as best I can read the history, this holdout of Rajput strength never fell to the Mughals. (Surprisingly difficult to track one’s way through the various historical summaries in different travel guides, and I admit I’ve not gone back and read an Indian history book since, well, since Reagan was president.
…what DID we do for dinner plans before they littered the landscape with mobile phone towers?
…two MSFers talking about generator schedules, even on their vacation. Sad but true.
They call Udaipur the most romantic city in India, I think; I can’t comment on that, but it’s certainly got interesting twisty streets and lovely buildings aplenty, wound around the lakes and hills. The alleyway and house-painting below were jokingly referred to by Howard as the most-photographed alley in Udaipur, since I was far from the only tourist taking a photo.
We stayed in the ‘Royal Retreat’ at Shikarbadi (one of the few dozen above-mentioned former palaces plus a hunting lodge, aka Shikarbadi Hotel, or two) for the glorious four days in Udaipur. H&G took great pleasure in getting out and about for more temples and sites; I took great pleasure in the hills, wetlands, deer and birds while being a vegetable in the hotel room and grounds. Having been influenced by a Frank Zappa fan in my youth (that’s you, Jens), I couldn’t help thinking of it as the Sheikh Yerbouti hotel. Hehe.
…since Shikarbadi is well south of the city, tucked into the hills below the lake, they seem to do special breakfasts for tour groups to give tourists an idea of the royal lifestyle with hunting lodges in the hills, and…well, literally, the red-carpet treatment. The low-slung building by the slough, above, contained our room and had a deer park on the other side from the slough.