AsiaIndiaBundi

The Maharana of Mewar is making money; Real rural Rajasthan

Bundi Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 23 › view all entries
From the Monsoon Palace - view of Udaipur

We greatly enjoyed our 6 days in Udaipur. It is a well kept city, beautifully situated and with an attractive old town. The traditional ruler of the area is the Maharana of Mewar. He claims his is the longest unbroken dynastic succession in the world. Although his grandfather had to give up real power to the new independent India, his family is still clearly a force in Udaipur. The Mewars own not only the Lake Palace Hotel, but a dozen others in the region, including the Fateh Palace which is in the Maharana's City Palace complex. There we saw the crystal furniture collection (seriously - crystal tables, chairs, beds, even punkah rails ordered by a 19th century maharana but never used as he died before it all arrived from England) and had English afternoon tea (scones, cream, jam, tea bread) to the accompaniment of sitar and tabla.

City Palace, Udaipur
At the Mewar's Garden Hotel we saw the Maharana's collection of vintage cars, among them 1920s Rollers, 1930's Chevvies and and a 1930s Rolls converted to an off-roader for tiger hunting. That's style. And the Maharana is a member of the MG club! We took a boatride around Lake Pichola from the City Palace Promenade, and out to Jagmandir Island. The Mewar is developing it as a wedding venue - a very beautiful one, too. The Maharana of Mewar Public (ie private) School is also housed in the City Palace. Prominently, near the ordinary ticket office, is the school's Fee Office. And while most of the City Palace complex is open to the public as museums or hotels, the Maharana does keep a pretty large section, patrolled by a security detail, for himself. But whether it's the influence of the Maharana or the demands of tourism, we have to say that Udaipur is the cleanest city we've been in in India.
Lake Palace, Udaipur
It's got gorgeous gardens and the sunset view from the hillside Monsoon Palace over the lake and town one side and the Aravalli Hills the other was magical.

Real Rural Rajasthan

We decided to spend a night in Chittorgarh to see its huge fort. It turned out to be another astonishing vast hilltop area, originally more a fortified town than what we'd call a fort. It has much Rajput history attached. It was a Mewar stronghold and variouus acts of johaur occurred there. That's when, knowing defeat awaits them, the fort's women and children burnt themselves rather than be taken, and then the men, having smeared themselves with the ash, rode out to death - but not dishonour.

Mansingh and dad

Our driver, Mansingh was the one who's taken us to Kumbalgarh earlier. We'd got on well then. About 10km outside Udaipur he asked if we'd like to stop at his sister's house. We said yes. It was a farm just off the main road. We were warmly welcomed and served bread, vegetables and sweet rice and coconut pudding. They had fields, fruit trees, water buffalo and cows. We were asked our opinion about the quality of their grain!

Mansingh then suggested that after the fort visit, we should go to meet his parents and other relatives, who lived near Chittorgarh, and have a meal at their house, his home before he moved to Udaipur. How could we refuse? We went back along the main road, then 10km or so down a country lane, to arrive at Badisara, a small town. We were greeted by mum (65), dad, a retired steamroller driver (70), sister in law, and what seemed like dozens of children.

Mansingh's mum and niece
Brother was away working, and it turned out that only 3 of the children were his. The rest were friends. Only our driver and the 15 year old daughter spoke English, but we communicated, smiled, looked round the house, saw photos old and new. Sister in law kept to the kitchen. After an hour or so, we were served a delicious vegetarian meal. The driver and us ate, while the children and grandparents watched. All came out, including sister in law, to bid us farewell, with many smiles and handshakes. Another day!.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
From the Monsoon Palace - view of …
From the Monsoon Palace - view of…
City Palace, Udaipur
City Palace, Udaipur
Lake Palace, Udaipur
Lake Palace, Udaipur
Mansingh and dad
Mansingh and dad
Mansinghs mum and niece
Mansingh's mum and niece
The converted Roller
The converted Roller
Maharana of Mewar Public School - …
Maharana of Mewar Public School -…
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort
Bundi
photo by: chrisrae