Udaipur and Our Last Day in India

Oberoi Udaivilas, UdaipurEvery once in awhile you come across an image that is burned into your brain so deeply that closing your eyes for even a second brings back a vivid scene.

On this trip, for instance, the images I will always remember in great detail are tigers in the Bandhavgarh Forest, the Taj Mahal, the grand rotunda at Umaid Bhawan Palace, the birds running on water on Lake Pichola, and, well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Let’s back up to the beginning of our last stop.

We left Jodhpur for Udaipur by way of Delhi bright and early in the morning.  (Just a side note in case you were counting – this will be our 4th visit to Delhi.  I can say that we have definitely seen Delhi.  Or at least are very experienced with the Delhi airports.)

DSC_1552We stayed at the Oberoi Udaivilas which was built in 2006 but the hotel still manages to capture all the romance and splendor of a royal era.  It also had a fantastic view of the floating palace in the middle of Lake Pichola as well as the city palace on the opposite bank.  (See first picture)

I liked this hotel.  But I don’t remember a lot other than the bed was comfortable.  And the room opened up on to a private terrace that looked out over a pool.  Which we didn’t use.  You know, busy sightseeing and stuff.

That first afternoon we explored the pool and enjoyed a view of the sunset over the lake.  And then we were up bright and early for another day exploring the old city and a tour of the lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, at this point, we have seen a lot of palaces.  They are all impressive.  And all very, very similar.  We were to the point where one guide told us that when touring Europe you start to feel like it is ABC (another bloody cathedral) but in India it is ABF (another bloody fort).  Apparently we aren’t the only ones to feel underwhelmed by the palace forts by the end of the journey.

But the city palace was nice.

And we enjoyed the floating palace that is now a Taj Hotel.

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Then we went on a boat ride of Lake Pichola.  Now, the lake is about 3-4 feet deep.  But safety first.  And we all had to wear life jackets.

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We toured the wall of the city palace, the floating palace, a Venice looking canal, encountered a flock of birds that can run on water …

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… on our way to the Jagmandir Palace – another floating “palace” that is used as an outdoor wedding venue.

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But the one thing that I will always remember is the sight of people bathing on the banks of the lake. The bathing areas are broken in to separate sections for men and women and the fence is more of a metal banister than a privacy fence.  So it’s not really to keep men and women from seeing each other but more to just say, “Hey, this space is for women only.”

I applaud the locals devotion to cleanliness.  Most of the poor without access to water come to the lake every day to bathe.

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But I will never, ever, forget the site of the gentleman covering himself in soap and vigorously scrubbing below his undergarments.

Soon we have to leave for a flight back to Delhi in time to catch our 3 AM flight back to the states.  (The 5th visit to Delhi).

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