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Udaipur--the Venice of India: Photos

Udaipur from Lake Pichola
December 28th--31:

Udaipur is just beautiful. The lakes are brimming with water for the first time in years and the weather is perfect. Udaipur has both mountains and many man-made lakes built hundreds of years ago. We are brought to the Oberoi Udaivilas which is gorgeous and has a wonderful Banyon Spa. We are here for four days and plan on spending a couple day just for manicures, pedicures, facials, massage and yoga. All the treatments and the yoga is fantastic. Yogo classes are given on the roof of an ancient palace on the Udaivilas grounds that overlooks Lake Pichola. Exquisite.

We have been traveling so much that we decide not to do the five hour round trip to Ranakpur to see the famous Jain Temples. I know many people will say we missed a great site, but frankly, five hours on dusty, bumpy, exhausting roads was just over the top for us at that point. Besides, by this point in the trip we had seen so many temples that we were a bit "templed-out." However, I hear that the Jain Temples at Ranakpur are spectacular. Next time.....

Rather than the trip to Ranakpur, we drove a shorter distance to the Devi Garh Hotel and had lunch. We wanted to see the Devi Garh. It is about to get more famous as the British model/actress Elizabeth Hurley is about to take over the entire hotel this spring as the venue to marry her Indian fiancÚ. The Devi Garh is gorgeous and it was a toss up to us whether we would rather be at the Oberoi or the Devi Garh. The Oberoi setting on the lake is spectacular, but the Devi Garh had hiking in the nearby mountains, camel safaris etc, so it might be a better choice for the very active looking for unique activities. The Devi Garh has a phenomenal pool with lots of beautiful people and a marvelous restaurant. Very modern design, but much less severe looking than in the brochure. The staff is a bit less solicitous than at the Oberoi--I prefer the less solicitous approach.

Speaking of Temples. Seriously, after the first five cities we put a hard-stop on Temples. After the first ten temples, all the Shiva Lingums (Linga?) begin to look the same. (The Shiva Lingum is the phallic representation of the God Shiva and the only representation allowed in the Shiva temples). To temple purists, please forgive me. Yes, I enjoyed seeing the temples and mosques, but it is no different than the being dragged to the 15th cathedral in Europe. I preferred walking the lanes and vegetable markets and seeing children's faces rather than seeing another temple.

We are at Oberoi Udaivilis for New Years Eve and the celebration is great. Wonderful food outside on the patio at the Udaivilas with dancers and musician and great fireworks over Lake Pichola.. Off to bed as we have an early flight to Mumbai (Bombay).

There is not a great deal to see in Udaipur. It is really just a very pretty place with a wonderful vegetable market and a massive, inpressive palace. You can see everything in a day. (The old James Bond movie "Octopussy" was filmed on location here and was great fun to watch one evening while we were in Udaipur.) It is a great place to take a rest, but if you are limited in time, I would probably skip Udaipur. I'm sorry that we didn't get to see Jasilmer as it sounds fabulous. I think I would have preferred it, but then the R&R was really nice at this juncture in the trip--tough call.

Off to Bombay--sorry to say goodbye to our driver. He's been great. Sent a lot of stuff in the car with him to take back to Delhi where we will catch our flight in a few days back to the US. A really nice benefit of having the same driver :-)


Permalink | Posted by Patricia Pomerleau on Sunday, January 22, 2006