Romantic Udaipur

Romantic Udaipur

Udaipur was another favorite for all of us. It’s best known for its Lake Palace, a stunning palace that rises out of the center of a man-made lake in the center of thie city, which is now a (very expensive) hotel. The hotel was the site of the James Bond film “Octopussy”, which all the local guesthouses showed nightly. Our hotel was located right on the lake opposite the hotel (the picture above shows the view from our hotel.) The highlight of the visit to Udaipur for Kathy was getting luxuriant henna tattoos on both her hands and feet. These are a traditional ornament for women, and are made by free-hand painting of henna, which is allowed to dry, then re-wetted with a mixture of lemon sugar water and allowed to dry again. The result is a dye that lasts for many days – basically, until the skin wears off.

The city palace in Udaipur was one of the most stunning palaces we had visited to date – and that’s saying something! Every surface is intricately covered in artwork. The rooms were a combination of (rather garish) mirrored tiling and detailed paintings. (The mirrors helped reflect the lamp light in the evenings). Fabulously intricate murals
highlighted the most important function rooms. Most of the palaces were built over a period of several hundred years, with each new descendant trying to outdo his predecessors in grandeur. It is unimaginable how much these must have cost.

Kathy, along with several other trip members, took a couple of yoga classes in Udaipur. The classes were fun – and the instructor amazinging limber – they really can do all those unbelievable poses. But, the highlight turned out to be something that happened while walking the short distance to the class. On a sidestreet, out of nowhere, came a a procession of brightly-dressed women, each carrying a coconut in a pot on her head, led by drummers. The women were chanting and rolling their heads — it was some type of puja (religious ceremony). One of the wonderful things about India is that you never know what you’ll find when you turn the corner. It turns out that there were three weddings being held that evening. Since three is an inauspicious number of religious events to hold in one day, the women performed with additional ceremony, making the total four, which is auspicious.

Meanwhile, Scott headed off for a cooking class, where he learned the techniques for making all the tasty dishes we’d been sampling along the way. Mmmmm. Kathy headed off to get a henna tatoo on her hands and feet – elaborate designs that are painted on by hand with a thick henna paste and left to dry. When the dried paste falls off, the pattern remains on the skin, lasting for up to a couple of weeks.

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