Travel Diary India – Part 15 – Udaipur

 

Lake Pichola Udaipur

The top of our guesthouse overlooking lake Pichola

Udaipur is one of the most enchanting places I have visited so far in India. Many guest houses and restaurants occupy the banks of lake Pichola and offer fantastic views and breath taking sunsets over the water. In reflection of its beauty and proximity to so much water, it has been referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, which is stupid really as it’s nothing like Venice, but nethertheless, it has a unique character of its own.

Boat tours are provided on the lake. Surprisingly this was one of the only times where safety was addressed. I went on one of these tours and everyone in the boat was required to wear a life jacket. This of course would be normal in most places but here in India I haven’t seen much regard for safety and have come to not expect it. The boat goes around the lake and up close to some of the structures in and around it. There is a lot of activity on the banks of the lake and taking one of these boat tours is a good way to see it.

It's not often that safety is a concern in India, however during the boat trip on lake Pichola everyone was given a life jacket to wear

It’s not often that safety is a concern in India, however during the boat trip on lake Pichola everyone was given a life jacket to wear

The Lake Palace

In the center of the lake lies an island that forms the foundation for the Lake Palace (Jag Niwas). A large 18th century structure built facing east so that its inhabitants could pray to the Hindu sun god Surya every day at sunrise. Today, the Lake Palace is an exclusive hotel and still only accessible by boat.

Lake Palace

Very flash hotel isolated on an island

Lake Pichola

Men riding stone elephants outside the Palace hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking the streets of Udaipur

elephant udaipur

An elephant blocking traffic

The streets are relatively clean and well maintained and the air is clear and crisp. I really enjoyed simply walking around and exploring the streets of Udaipur. It has so much character and charm. There are many shops and stalls within the maze of streets selling all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs. This made it a little bit touristy but it has an overwhelming aspect of authenticity that made it so enjoyable. Hidden within these streets I came across elephants and peacocks. A small café I found made one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. It was a slice of chocolate fudge cake with chocolate sauce and ice cream served on a sizzling iron skillet. Pretty strange I know but it was delicious.

 

 

Peacock udaipur

A peacock wandering around the town

Chocolate fudge cake

Chocolate fudge cake on a sizzling iron skillet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went on a half day horse riding trip in the surrounding countryside which is a great experience and a really good way to get out and see the surrounding area. The breed of horses was those with the curly ears, and I only nearly fell off once.

horse Udaipur

Look at my ears

A lot of places don’t have licenses to sell alcohol in Udaipur, but they do anyway in a secretive way. Anna and I sat down at a café by the lake who were playing reggae music so we suspected that we might be able to get a proper drink here. There wasn’t any beer listed on the menu so I asked if they sold it. He said he’d bring some over. He came to our table with a large bottle of Kingfisher and two coffee mugs and poured the beer into the mugs under the table. Some places do have alcohol on the menu but it is called something like “special tea”.

Udaipur has got a great vibe to it and I would definitely like to visit again sometime.
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