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Udaipur's Shiny Face

sunny 28 °C

For much of our Indian sojourn the natural landscape has been marred by stark cellphone towers, belching smokestacks, refinery chimneys and crumbling concrete high-rises, and when we arrived in Udaipur it seemed that nothing had changed. The road from the smart new airport took us past massive zinc smelting plants and through squalid villages – complete with ubiquitous, and probably illegal, cellphone towers. But then, as we finally threaded our way into the centre of the old city, a magic wand was waved and we found ourselves transported to an enchanted land of palaces, castles and temples.This is the enormous City Palace which was started in the early 16th century by the first Maharana of Mewar…
City_Palace.jpg
And, on a hill overlooking the lake, is the Monsoon Palace where the Maharana and his retinue could safely ride out the summer storms…
Monsoon_Palace.jpg
Udaipur is a whimsical place, bursting with fairytale palaces and haveli, (great mansions), many of which have been transformed into stunningly beautiful hotels charging up to twenty-thousand dollars a night for a suite. Here’s our hotel: The Jagat Niwas Palace…
Jagat_Niwas_Hotel.jpg
And here’s our view across Lake Pichola to another great palace which has been turned into a hotel. This is the famous and incredibly expensive Lake Palace Hotel, which was the Maharana’s summer home and was featured in the1983 Bond movie, Octopussy…
Lake_Palace.jpg
A cat may look at a king, they say, but when it comes to this uppity joint that’s about all we can do. We wanted to go for lunch one day but were politely informed that they don’t cater to riff-raff. No matter, when it comes to eating in Udaipur, there’s no shortage of haute cuisine. In fact, most restaurants are on the rooftops so we can enjoy the stunning scenery as parrots, hawks and pigeons flock to roost in the crag-like towers of the palaces, and the waning sun drops behind the surrounding Rajasthani hills…
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Or, we can turn our backs on this incredibly beauteous sight and watch 007 ass-kicking his adversaries in any of the dozens of restaurants that show Octopussy every evening… Now what should we do?

Posted by Hawkson 01:44 Archived in India Tagged udaipur

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Comments

They show James Bond movies and turn away Inspector Bliss? Unfair. Perhaps if you'd worn your tuxedo. You packed one didn't you?

by R and B

I have lived here in a previous life - when I was a princess.

by Janet

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