Udaipur City Palace and Shopping!

Udaipur Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 17 › view all entries
The hotel is lovely, modern boutique place with just an okay breakfast buffet and terrible Wi-Fi. We went for a tour of Jagdish Temple, and then the Udaipur City Palace...which is immense and gorgeous. I particularly loved all the stained glass windows, the room with colored mirrors, and the royal living quarters. But as a guided goes on forever. Unbelievably ornate, but it should be broken up into 2 tours. It’s just too much. It felt like museum jail. I would have preferred to check it out on my own time and linger where I wanted, but there were several areas where they ushered you through at a pace, and others where the guide explained things at length. But it is really a spectacular place..

Afterwards, Morgan and I went off on our own to do some shopping. Right past the main square by the Jagdish Temple we ran into a small Indian instrument shop. We popped in and took a look at all the different sizes of sitars, harmoniums and that double reed instrument that’s like a small but piercing-sounding oboe. Being a pianist, I really wanted a harmonium, since it’s like a seated accordion, but they’re large, unwieldy and would definitely go over our airline’s weight limit. This shopkeeper didn’t seem to play any of the instruments, unfortunately, but he did show me a small harmonium without a keyboard - it just does the drone sounds underneath the trance-like Indian music. It’s pretty much a rectangular wooden box with a bellows thingie, and holes on the other side with little wooden pieces to swivel in front of the holes to choose the pitches...and not heavy at all!

I bargained the guy down to about a third of his original price, which he didn’t seem at all happy with. Most of the sellers play up the whole bargain game, but you can tell that you’re still being way overcharged even when you bargain it down to a fraction of the original price, and they take the sale at the way end. This guy was really debating if he should sell it to me. I told him he didn’t have to take my price! I didn’t have to have it. His issue was with the actual paper money I was offering. I didn’t have enough rupees so he suggested paying partly with American dollars, so I did...but some of them were small bills, and older, worn bills at that. I didn’t understand until later that Indian banks don’t accept money that is marked, stained, ripped, or worn.

In the end, he made the sale and Morgan and I continued walking across the bridge to a less touristed area of the city. I bought some anklets and a necklace at a jewelry store there, and then we walked out to the point where lots of young folks were hanging out lakeside by the Jain Temple, where the Jains were praying with the Taj Lake Palace Hotel behind them.

Morgan and I were trying to go to fancy restaurant by ourselves for a romantic dinner, and Pancham helped us make a few calls to 3 or 4 places, but all of them were booked up! So we just joined the group for dinner at the local Thali restaurant, which seemed hell-bent on serving everything as fast as possible...slopping the various curries on our plates and throwing down the chapattis. Afterwards, we grabbed drinks back at that hotel’s rooftop terrace with the gorgeous view, ‘cuz why not?!
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photo by: s_vivek62