Hills and haircuts; festivities and festivals.
Udaipur Travel Blog› entry 12 of 23 › view all entries
We left hot dusty Jodhpur at 9.00 am on Sunday by air con car, heading for Udaipur. Our journey took us along our first Indian toll road, the Pali by-pass. The driver paid 15rps (18p) and took a ticket from a man who'd got it from another man in the single booth. At the exit gate, he handed back the ticket, and had to wait while details were entered into a large ledger. We stopped at the Ranakpur Jain temples - exquisitely carved in milky marble, apparently held up by 1444 pillars, no two alike.
The road then wound through the beautiful Aravalli Hills. So much greenery after Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
About 3.00pm we arrived in Udaipur - the city with the famous lake palace. It's very attractive in the old town, by Lake Pichola, and from the roof top bedroom we have in our hotel, we have fine views out over the lake, the hills and the town. We set out later to get dinner. The streets were full of people in procession, taking temple statues and offerings down to one of the lake ghats. Some statues were on silver palanquins, some shaded by umbrellas, some accompanied by horses, and some by sabre and stick wielding young men. At the ghat, there was a short ceremony, and the statue was walked back again. There was a group of girls all dressed up and with whitened faces in a camel cart. One statue was accompanied by women holding bright candelabra, the electricity provided through a tangle of wires from a very noisy mobile generator.
Then on our way back from dinner, at a large statue of Ganesh, a crowd had gathered. The women were seated on mats by a stage, the men marshalled across the narrow road. There was a talent competition which consisted of boys making funny noises into a microphone. We slept well.
We have been away for over 6 weeks - time for some hair attention! Off next day to the beauty parlour at the very upmarket Shiv Nivas Palace Hotel, part of the Maharana's old palace complex. The young Indian hairdressser did a very good job, but he spent more time on Mike's than on Hil's. We had to recover with a VERY expensive lemon soda on the hotel terrace overlooking the very white Lake Palace.
Festivities and Festivals
We were glued to the 20/20 cricket final - it was really exciting, and when India won nailbitingly in the last over, the firecrackers went off all over town.
Tuesday, we set off for Kumbalgarh Fort, 80km away. A funeral procession emerged from a sidestreet. An old woman in a red sari, on a bier, face visible, followed by dozens of men, headed for the burning ghat.
The road, more a country lane, took us through the Aravalli Hills again. There were beautiful vistas, and women tending water buffalo and cows, and carrying fodder and brushwood on their heads, and men sitting in cafes. Often the women have large bejewelled noserings and bangles up their arms. Some, not all, cover faces. As we got more into the country, we saw more men in dhotis and turbans, and fewer in western clothes.
Kumbalgarh was magnificent - a high huge fort and palace, well restored with Jain and Hindu Temples nearby.
On the way back, we came across a local festival, apparently to celebrate a succesful harvets. Bejewelled and coloufully costumed men, some dressed as women, danced traditional dances in and out of a circle of men with their arms raised, to insistent drumming. We were told it went on all day.
Then we passed a less traditional mela, with a funfair, and dozens of motorbikes parked outside. Hundreds walked alomg the road toward it.
Finally we got back to Udaipur. Ganesh's birthday festival had been postponed a day because of the cricket, so it happened Tuesday instead. Large and smaller statues of Ganesh on carts and small lorries were paraded through the old town. Many were accompanied by loud drummers, and quite wild dancing - men and women separately. Firecrackers were let off, and vermillion powder thrown over the crowd.
Just another day in India...and then as we came to type this there was another procession outside the hotel. Jains on their way to the ghats. They were led by three stark naked elderly men.....