image City of Lakes, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Helloooooo to everyone that follows my Blog. Apologies for being MIA the past few weeks. I was in India you see and I did not have access to the internet, not that India does not have internet, its just I did not have access to it on my laptop.

So enough jibber jabber and lets get down to business. So today is 20 Dec and from now until 25 Dec I shall have a blog post everyday for two reasons, 1. Consider it as my way for apologising and 2. It’s almost Christmas and I have some really great posts lined up! Now, since I had such a great time in Udaipur, Rajasthan I really want to share this experience with you so I’m going to start my blogpost with that.

Udaipur is also called the City of Lakes and the City of Lakes it is! The city is sort of divided into two parts, the old city and the new city. The old city is where the goodness lies, so if you do decide to take a trip to Udaipur make sure you live in the Old City. I must warn you though, the road are really narrow and almost impossible for a big car to drive. My mum and I landed in Udaipur on the night of 28th Nov and we had a flight back to Mumbai on 1st Dec, so essentially 2 days of travelling in the city. If you have not been to Udaipur you may this 2 days! that’s nothing, but it kind of is. Obviously, if you want to roam at your own pace and roam the markets and tiny tiny shops you may need a day or two extra. My intention for this trip was only exploring the heritage and learning about the city and if in this I do get a chance to shop, well then that’s pure luck!

Below is a list of places you just NEED to visit in Udaipur, like I mean just drop everything and MAKE SURE you do visit these places.

  • Udaipur City Palace – This palace is actually still used by the descendant of Maharana (King) Udai Singh II. Oh and what a palace complex it is! The history, the architecture, the paintings, what a beautiful story. I do have a recommendation if you really want to know about the palace hire a tour guide. There are plenty of guys standing at the entrance of the palace willing to embark their knowledge to you at a cost of course. Throughout my journey of the palace I had this constant thought of what it would be like to live in that era, to be a part of Indian history in such a way and that itself till date gives me goosebumps. You would need a good 2 and half hours at minimum to roam the entire palace and take photos etc. One of the most interesting things about the Palace is that it requires very little restoration because a Maharana Udai Singh II used a combination of egg shells, water, gypsum and some other items to coat the walls due to which the walls you see today inside City Palace have not particularly been restored and have remained the same since then. I do regret not paying additional for taking photos, but here are some photos of the palace that I have selected from google (credits to original photographer are given).
  • Bagore Ki Haveli – Haveli translates to traditional townhouse or mansion and was built was Amar Chand Badwa, the Chief  minister of Mewar Royal Court in earlier times. When Amar Badwa died, the building came under the possession of Mewar State and in 1878 abode to Maharana (King) Shakti Singh of Bagore who incorporated three stories to the main structure. Since then the haveli is called Bagore ki Haveli (Mansion of Bagore). The haveli is now a museum, however I did not visit the museum as I had seen The City Palace and the museum housed similar items. However, every evening at 7:00 there is a cultural dance show which is  MUST WATCH! Women is beautiful dresses perform traditional Rajasthani folk dance called Dharohar dance and of these dances the Bhavai dance is the best. This specific dance was the most interesting an challenging dance. It is a story of how women back in the years would walk miles and miles to fetch water and to pass their time and entertain themselves they would dance. The dancer balanced 13 earthen pots on her head, danced and did tricks such as lifting a piece of cloth from an object on the floor, and performed on a bed of broken glass. There are 5 performances that take place in a span of 60 minutes and everything performance is worth it.
Dharohar Dance
Bhavai Dance

 

  • Kumbhalgarh Fort – So if you know a little about Indian history you may have heard of Mewar’s great warrior Maharana (King) Pratap. Kumbhalgarh is the birth place of this great warrior and founder of Udaipur. The fort was built many many years ago but became known and further developed in 15th Century under the guidance of Rana Kumbha. It is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has such an interesting history about this construction. According to legend in 1443 CE, Rana Kumbha was repeatedly unsuccessful in building the fort wall and a spiritual preceptor was consulted about the the construction problem and the spiritual preceptor advised that a voluntary human sacrifice will solve this issue. Later, the spiritual preceptor himself volunteered and stated where my head lands build the fort wall there and where the rest of my body lands built the fort there. There are a number of entrances into the fort and amongst them is Hanuman Pol where a shrine is built in memory of the spiritual preceptor.
    The shrine of the spiritual preceptor where he was beheaded
    The shrine of the spiritual preceptor where he was beheaded
    The shrine inside the Fort.
    The shrine inside the Fort.

    The main gate is from where visitors can enter is call Hala Pol and is called so because back in the days when the guards standing at the gate saw enemies come they scream and inform the rest of the soldiers that an attack will happen, therefore translating Hala as Scream. Kumbhalgarh’s wall is the second largest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China and is known as the Great Wall of India. When you enter into the fort from the Queen’s side of the entrance (King’s side of the entrance is closed) you will see a huge circular hole where some plants are growing there Rana Kumbha would use about 50kgs of ghee (clarified butter) and 100kgs of cotton to provide light. Another interesting section of the fort is the Echo Room and it is exactly what the name suggests. This room was used solely for entertainment, imagine it as an olden days mic. I could honestly go on and on about the fort but then this post would also be very long. So I’ll leave it on this final note, today the king of the jungle is a Lion, but in the olden times in India the strongest animal was considered to be the king and hence in many portions of the fort you will see paintings of Elephants.

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Oil lamp
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Kumbhalgarh in nightlight
  • Haldighati Museum – As per history a war was fought between Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar at Haldighati. Due to the amount of bloodshed where the 12 hour long war took place that specific area came to be known as Rakht (Blood) and Talai (River). Maharana Pratap’s loyal horse Chetak was also injured during this war and Maharana Pratap in order to protect them from the war rode Chetak for 5 kms and build a Shrine for his beloved horse Chetak called Chetak Samadhi (Shrine of Chetak). Presenting this story and many more facts about Maharana Pratap’s life a museum is build in Haldighati.
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Chetak’s Shrine
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Maharana Pratap on his beloved horse Chetak when Chetak was attacked.
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The Haldighati War. Maharana Pratap attacking Mughal Emperor Akbar.

So there you go, those are my top 4 places that you must visit if you are a history lover. Udaipur is known for its miniature paintings and believe me it is known for a very good reason. The amount of detailing that goes to take place in one piece of work is just magnificent. However, if you are not an artist or do not know about miniature painting, dishonest shopkeepers can very easily fool tourist. I would recommend buying a miniature painting from an Arts School like the one I’ve mentioned below.

  • Sajjan Arts School – As beautiful as the art is, miniature painting is a dying skill and to retain that Sajjan Arts school provides a 3 month free workshop to share this skill. The school also has a store where one can find many paintings to suit his/her price range. The cost of the painting is not in the size of the painting but in the workmanship and detail that’s added to the painting. Miniature painting is done with natural colours such as turmeric, gold foil, silver foil, beetroot etc to develop as natural colours as possible. To really be able to see the detail you will most surely need a magnifying glass and single light display. So do go and checkout the place. The people at the store were very kind and helped me pick a very beautiful painting that fit my budget.

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Hope you’ll enjoyed this post.

Until next time, thank you for stopping by and sharing some love.

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