Today was a tour day. At 9am Bhagawat met us with our guide Umesh.
First stop was Jagdish Temple. A large Hindu temple with great marble carvings outside. Built in 1651 and dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe. Two huge stone elephants stand at the entrance – at the top of the 32 marble stairs there is a brass statue of Garuda, half man half eagle. Inside the main shrine is a four-armed statue of Vishnu carved out of a single piece of black stone.
Inside there was no photography but a prayer ceremony. The chanting was done by old ladies and old men. According to our guide Umesh attending temple is not mandatory but is a “good way to kill time for old people.”
One such lady outside.
We learned all about Hinduism. It is a very complicated religion and I only sort of followed who was what where and when. Umesh, who is Hindu, admitted even he couldn’t keep it straight.
Next up was the City Palace. A 1500 metre long palace complex built over 400 years (started in 1559). A mix of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. On the east bank of Lake Pichola.
Right out front was the “elephant parking.” You can see the raised areas for washing and the chains for tethering.
The Royal Family were worshippers of the sun god and is featured in their crest. The King is on the right and the archer warriors on the left showing that the warriors hold very high status in the Mewar territory. Udaipur is the capital of the Mewar territory. They still have a king. It is a ceremonial position. He owns hotels as his investments. I wonder if he cuts the ribbon at the opening ike the English Queen?
The palace is divided into a museum, hotel and royal residences.
Inside was a small display of historical weaponry. We had to take a few shots for Ryan.
Ganesh the god of luck and fortune is always at the front door.
The Amar Vilas, uppermost court and garden. It provides entry to the Badi Mahal. It is a pleasure pavilion built in Mughal style.
The marble carving is spectacular. This window mesh was a block of solid marble and carbed to look like mesh! These were all over the place.
After the Palace we took a “cruise” on the lake and vistied the Lake Palace. It’s on an island in the middle Lake Pichola. Built as a royal summer palace (Jag Niwas). Constructed facing east to allow inhabitants to pray to Surya, the Hindu sun god at dawn. Now a hotel.
The city from the boat.
Kids swimming in the lake from public access steps.
The actual Lake Palace.
Drinks at the Palace. It was 35C after all.
Kale anyone? Used as decoration.
Then it was time to shop. We never ask for this but it is mandatory. We didn’t buy anything but some of it is quite amazing and ornate.
After shopping we saw the Sahelion Ki Bari, the Courtyard of the Maidens, lovely garden with fountains and elephant sculptures. Built in the 18th century by Maharana Bhopal Singh for a group of 48 young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.
This is her pool.
We were done for the afternoon but not the day at this point. Back to the hotel for a quick dip in the pool.
5pm we were back in the car to head to the Monsoon Palace, formerly known as the Sajjan Garh Palace. It is a hilltop palatial residence overlooking lake Fateh Sagar. It is named after Maharana Sajjan Singh, who built it in 1884. It was built basically to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, it is known as Monsoon Palace. The palace was used in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy as the residence of Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince.
As we arrived, a band of monkeys showed up. Pretty cool to get up close to them.
Anyone want to go for a ride? I’m driving!
A baby and mom. Baby was chatty!
The actual palace.
Resident kitty. He was very friendly.
Finally some random city shots of driving through town. The cows and donkeys roam free and are fed by people to improve their Karma.
This is a main intersection in town! Cows, donkeys, pedestrians and cars all in one place at one time. It does seem to work out though.
Tomorrow is another travel day, 6 hours to Jaipur with a stop to see a fort.