Our bus rolls into Udaipur Bus Stand at twenty past one a.m. ! Yes, past midnight and we do not have a hotel reservation in Udaipur. At the moment we will not go into why and how of the episode. It is part of the challenge we had taken up for our journey and right now we have just arrived from Ajmer.
I fend off the few Auto fellows who are ready to ply me to wherever I want to go even at that ungodly hour. It is actually scary!
At times like this I loathe my way of travel wishing I had a planned trip to Udaipur. 50 meters out I am at a large junction of a wide road and notice that there are indeed several hotels. Gingerly I make my way towards the nearest one and I am lucky.
The hotel is fine; the sleepy guy at the reception is still courteous and shows me my room. After freshening up, while trying to sleep I make my plan for the next day.
The 3-arched entrance, Tripolia.
Udaipur Palace is not to be missed said a few sites and the lake palace is the place to go hollered a few. I make some notes about the places to see in Udaipur and decide to get up early in the morning.
First thing after breakfast is to find out about how my onward journey going to be. I visit the bus stand and a few travel agents. Apparently there are not many options… a bus at 5 in the evening to Ahmedabad, an overnight bus to Surat and a train directly to Mumbai for which I have a wait-listed ticket. Bravely I decide to give a chance to my wait-listed ticket which later turned out to be a failure. 🙂
So, now I only have time to visit the Udaipur Palace, aka City Palace.
Entrance ticket and camera ticket.
The City Palace is on top of a hill. Rs 50 for an auto ride upto the gate. I am early but I find there is a big build up already. I buy the tickets and am told to shell out another 200 bucks for using the camera. I don’t like it but pay up all the same.
As I walk into the majestic 3-arched entrance, called Tripolia, meaning 3 gates. I imagine myself to be Maharana Udai Singh and how he would have felt when he rode up these very ramps. The current generation of the royal family is still in one part of the huge palace. One part has been converted into a hotel and around 25% is the museum. This part takes around 3 hours to see!
Udaipur city from Udaipur palace.
From one side of the Palace you can have a panoramic view of Udaipur City. And on the other side you can have a bird’s eye view of the Pichola lake and the Lake Palace, also called Jag Niwas, now another Hotel.
The Lake Palace or Jag Niwas.
All hotels belong to HRH group. I think HRH may be for His Royal Highness! Correct me if I am wrong. 😛
The artifacts in the museum are very well maintained. Old dresses, arms, swords and so on. So are the sculptures and paintings. I like the ones of peacocks at mor-chowk, a lot. Of course there are so many small palaces, sheesh mahal (glass palace), Moti Mahal (pearl palace) and so on.
Peacocks at Mor-chowk.
The rear side is the Zanana Mahal or the “Royal Ladies Palace”. There is a very small narrow way that leads up from the main palace into this palace. This leads me to think of a lot naughty things that may have happened within its precincts. 😉
Intricate jali work in one of the walls.
The Palace complex was built in phases over the period of several centuries. A thought crosses my mind. The first ruler would have had a vision knowing fully well that he would never see it being fulfilled.
Would we ever do something like this?
P.S.- I will later write a photo essay on Udaipur Palace. Till then you can see some more photos on my Facebook Travel page.
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