Exploring Udaipur, celebrating the Mewar Festival and visiting Ranakpur

Letter 160

Our third and last full day in The White City was full of endless wandering around the busy streets, taking in the striking city from the middle of the lake, enjoying an incredible meal from a rooftop at sunset and immersing ourselves in the loud, colourful festival. Udaipur just kept on giving.

 

Our endless search…

…for an ATM. We spent the majority of the morning walking for miles, just to find an ATM. It seems finding one isn’t enough as after (finally) coming across a few, none of them worked. Eventually we actually found one about 5 minutes from our hotel, and it took our cards as a bonus, but be warned, there are not many ATMs in Udaipur. (Luckily we’ve found them easily ever since.)

What all this searching meant was that we spent a long time wandering around the streets of Udaipur seeing everything from markets to temples and mopeds to cows. It’s bustling and a hive of activity which I kind of loved.

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A beautiful (if slightly overpriced) boat trip

We decided to treat ourselves, after our game of hide and seek with the ATMs of the city, with a boat trip on Lake Pichola. When in Udaipur it feels wrong not to spend some time on the lake. We took a boat trip from the City Palace, and it took us for a 20 minute ride around the lake, before dropping us off on Jagmandir Island for about an hour (feels like eternity), and then taking us the 10 minutes back. Like with most things here, we were confused, but went with it. The views from the lake were wonderful, and the island was a peaceful oasis, a far cry from the horns, cows and tuk tuks of the streets a mere 15 minutes away.

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One of my favourite things about India is the windows. They are always beautifully decorated and carve specific views from each one. The same style is echoed in archways, entrances and wall paintings. Everything seems to have had so much time and care spent over it and it is so beautiful.

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Dinner with a view

Rooftops have to also be on my list of favourite things in India. Not only are they a fabulous location for a dinner in the breeze whilst staring out over the lake and the city, they are also great for observing activity. You can often see people on the rooftops of their homes, hanging out washing, or children playing. It’s like a high up, quiet version of the streets below.

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Celebrating the Mewar Festival

The Mewar Festival in India marks the start of spring. (How they can call it spring, I’m not sure, as it’s 40 degrees every day, but whatever.) It’s a time where everyone comes out in their best dress, parades meander through the city and music fills the air. Watching the city come to life was great and we felt lucky to have timed our visit to coincide with it.

We watched the dancing, chatted to locals and enjoyed the parades of masked people and fancy dress. We also eagerly awaited the fireworks, which were supposed to be at 7pm, but come 8 they still hadn’t made an appearance. We eventually gave up and headed back for a drink on our hotel rooftop. It was only at about 9:15pm, back in our room, that we heard the fireworks. We managed to get out and see them and the display was lovely. I’m sure those down at the lakeside enjoyed it very much.

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Beautiful birthday breakfast

The next morning we woke up, on my birthday, to a lovely spread laid out for us by the kind people at our hotel. It was the perfect way to finish our time in Udaipur, on our rooftop, overlooking the city, surrounded by pink flowers and delicious food.

udaipur birthday breakfastudaipur lake 1

 

Taxi to Jodhpur

We settled on a taxi from Udaipur to Jodhpur, as there is no train and the buses were either very early, or late in the afternoon. We didn’t want to arrive at a stupid time and we were also keen to see Ranakpur Temple on the way, so the taxi seemed like the best option. Whilst it is the most expensive, it still was good value by our standards.

The taxi stopped at various points on the way, which was nice, but you also know that he only does this in the hope we will spend money – and he probably gets commission. Some of the stop offs were great and very interesting. Others, like lunch, were not good and overpriced.

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Ranakpur Temple

The main stop off was the temple. This was unbelievably stunning and well worth it. The architecture was wonderful, the views around the area were spectacular, and the audio guide was interesting and informative. Couldn’t fault it and I highly recommend going.

ranakpur flowersranakpur temple interior 1ranakpur temple interior 3ranakpur temple interior 4ranakpur temple interior 5ranakpur temple outside

 

Arrival to The Blue City

We finally arrived in Jodhpur and jumped in a tuk tuk to the hotel as the streets are too narrow for the taxi. Our evening was spent eating a delicious curry on the rooftop of our wonderful hotel, overlooking the amazing Blue City. What a day.

jodhpur sunset blue city

 

That brings me to the end of our jam-packed stay in Udaipur; The White City. It’s such an elegant place bursting with stunning, ornate architecture, which contrasts spectacularly with the busy streets full of colour, noise and gorgeous aromas. It was a great place to begin our trip in India with and somewhere I would love to return to.

On to Jodhpur next…

From Lou

About Me

 

Costs for everything mentioned

  • Boat tour 450 ₹ pp
    • Plus anything you want to buy on the island (150 ₹ for a can of coke – rip off!)
  • Dinner around 700 ₹ for 2 people
  • Taxi to Ranakpur 4000 ₹
    • Lunch was about 900 ₹ for some fries, samosas, nan bread and cokes. So not worth it.
  • Ranakpur temple 200 ₹ pp (inc. audio tour)
    • Plus camera pass 100 ₹

 

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3 thoughts on “Exploring Udaipur, celebrating the Mewar Festival and visiting Ranakpur

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