After the eventful 7 1/2 hour bus journey with the 2 flat tyres we made it safely to our guest house in Udaipur, a beautiful small city in southern Rajasthan. These few days were a bit of a holiday from the holiday as the fast pace we’d been setting around Rajasthan so far meant that we just felt like not doing much for a while, and this seemed like the perfect place to not do much at all! We had a room on the quiet side of town, with windows along 2 of the walls (joy!) overlooking Lake Pichola and the City Palace, which looked beautiful at sunset.
Udaipur is very proud of two things. Firstly, that it has some huge palaces set against the lovely Lake Pichola with a fine backdrop of the Aravilli Hills. And secondly, that its palaces were used as locations for the James Bond film Octopussy. The most amusing thing about these two things was that, despite the 450 year history of the city, Octopussy is the thing that the residents are most proud of (on the surface at least). Guest houses all over the city show the film every night in their rooftop restaurants, and at about 8pm you don’t have to walk far before you hear Monty Norman’s theme punctuated by the sound of gunshots twanging around Bond, eminating from an old TV somewhere nearby. We bought some nice things from a Rajastani textile shop on one of our days there and as we were paying for our well-haggled-for purchases, I spotted a black and white photo on the wall. In the middle of the shot was a handsome-looking Roger Moore standing in the perfect pose, side on to the camera, head turned towards it, eyebrow raised, in full tuxedo attire but with his jacket off. At that very moment in time, he was Bond. It could have been a well set up studio photograph, except, all around him were the grinning faces of about 15 Indian men, all with big 80s hair and moustaches. As I laughed the shop owner pointed out his brother next to Roger and told us that it was taken in the very shop we were in. I do hope Roger got a good deal on bed covers too.
We only did a little sightseeing, covering the things we could get to on foot, as a few of the hilltop palaces are 8-10km away. But the old city of Udaipur is small, and it’s possible to get a good feel for most of the place with an afternoon of walking. We did manage to visit the City Palace and its museum, Bangore-ki-Haveli and the Jagdish Temple, and as it’s an easy place to shop with relatively little hassle from shopkeepers we did a fair amount of that too!
We’re now on the train, the sun has just started to rise and we’re already 45 minutes into our 5 1/2 hour journey north to Ajmer where we’ll catch a bus for the short ride to Pushkar, where hopefully it’ll be even more relaxing than it was in Udaipur.
Here are a few photos from Udaipur.