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New Year in Udaipur

Udaipur Travel Blog

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The gate of the City Palace

We spent a couple of days in Udaipur, and saw in the new year there.

We travelled on overnight bus from Jaisalmer. The bus was a revelation; we'd bought the tickets for the overnight bus thinking that it was going to be awful, but it turned out to be quite comfy. For some reason, however, it left in the mid afternoon and arrived in the early hours of the morning. This turned out to be the case with all of the overnight buses which we took in India. It would have made much more sense for them to leave at 9pm; we never found out why they didn't. The interior of the bus consisted of aeroplane style seats with beds above them: double beds down on side of the bus and singles down the other. Each bed was in its own compartment with sliding doors.

A courtyard in the City Palace
The beds were a couple of centimetres too short for me, but that's not too bad really.

I was so tired that I fell asleep within a couple of hours of getting on the bus (around 6pm). This wasn't helped by having taken a travel sickness tablet which made me really drowsy. Falling asleep early actually served me really well, since we were deposited in Udaipur just before 4am! We managed to negotiate a reasonable far with a couple of autorickshaw drivers to take us down to the centre of town, by the lakeside, where we were lucky to find a hotel which just about had rooms free:

The hotel only had one room free, but lots of people were going to be checking out in the morning, so the owner allowed us to stay in that room until later on when we could move to our right rooms. However, when an Israeli couple turned up later on they were told that the hotel was full.

Women washing by the lake
The owner clearly didn't want them staying there, just because they were Israeli.

The room which we were given had two single beds, one of which was softish, being made of webbing on a wooden frame, and the other of which was rock hard, being made of wood on a wooden frame. Luckily they were wide singles to we were able to share the soft one. The shared shower room at the hotel was just about adequate, although not very appealing (even less so on New Year's Eve when someone threw up in there). I can't really criticise the hotel too much because it was the cheapest one we stayed in all year: 100 rupees for the room, which equated to about US$2.50. It was no worse than some others we'd stayed in.

The sights of Udaipur were pretty interesting, although I think we were beginning to get a little worn down by palaces! It's known as the most romantic city in Rajasthan.

New Year fireworks over the lake
Perhaps that's true, but we both really liked Jaisalmer, and its setting in the desert.

The lake in Udaipur is very pretty, and there's a posh hotel on the lake (which we didn't visit), called the Lake Palace, which is in a great setting. There is a small palace/large house in the town, called Bagore Ki-Haveli, which you can visit. It has some frescoes and and elaborate peacock murals, as well as the world's largest turban! (Why?) The roof terrace looks out over the lake, and is a very pleasant spot.

The main attraction in town is the City Palace which is large and quite magnificent in places. It contains some very ornate rooms as well as collections of armaments and displays of art. It charges a small fortune to take your camera in.

You can do boat tours on the lake; we wanted to do one of these, but they were fully booked and we ran out of time.

Detail from the City Palace
That must be very pleasant to do; we were disappointed to miss out on it.

On New Year's Eve we'd booked ourselves (Anja, Sven, Zoe and me) into the restaurant of one of the more expensive hotels on the lakeside. We sat on the roofside terrace enjoying a range of delicious food, and they even managed to find a couple of bottles of red wine for us (I think that they had to run across town for those). We hadn't had wine in a while, so that we enjoyable. We cracked open a packet of balloons that I'd been carrying around since China.

After the meal we returned to our guesthouse where there was a rooftop party in full swing. There was music and dancing on the rooftop terrace, and an impromptu limbo competition. At midnight we watched the firework display from the Lake Palace, which looked beautiful reflected in the lake; we must have got a better view of it than the people staying at the hotel.

New Year party at our guesthouse
There was also a small firework display at our hotel, which consisted mostly of the owner holding fireworks in his hand and lighting them!

Udaipur is famous for being the setting for the James Bond film Octopussy, which can be seen every night of the year in any one of the restaurants in the town. It must have been someone's idea to do this first; I don't suppose there's any way of finding out who though. We watched the film over dinner with Anja and Sven before bidding goodbye to them. They headed off to Delhi, whereas we were heading to Pushkar and then on to Agra.

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The gate of the City Palace
The gate of the City Palace
A courtyard in the City Palace
A courtyard in the City Palace
Women washing by the lake
Women washing by the lake
New Year fireworks over the lake
New Year fireworks over the lake
Detail from the City Palace
Detail from the City Palace
New Year party at our guesthouse
New Year party at our guesthouse
The outside of the City Palace
The outside of the City Palace
The Lake Palace at night
The Lake Palace at night
New Year fireworks at our guesthou…
New Year fireworks at our guestho…
The Lake Palace
The Lake Palace
Inside the City Palace
Inside the City Palace
A window in Bagore Ki-Haveli
A window in Bagore Ki-Haveli
A fresco in Bagore Ki-Haveli
A fresco in Bagore Ki-Haveli
The worlds largest turban!
The world's largest turban!
The main temple in town
The main temple in town
Udaipur
photo by: s_vivek62