I’ve been meaning to update my photos from India but for one reason or another, I never got round to doing so. And so finally, two years from the time we arrived in Delhi on the 20th of November 2008, I am putting them up. I’ve decided to go according to the dates on which we visited each place and so on the 3rd of December 2008, we were well into our 2nd day of sightseeing around Udaipur and what a fitting start since it was my favourite city during my visit there.
2 December 2008:
We arrived in Udaipur in the late afternoon of December 2nd after leaving Pushkar at 9 in the morning. Ramesh, our driver took us to our hotel Picholi Haveli overlooking Lake Picholi and we were pleasantly surprised upon entering the room. It was on the second floor and it was spacious and bright and the best part of it was that it had a bay window overlooking the lake with the view of the famous Lake Palace. Tired from our journey, we decided to take a nap before heading out and we drifted off to sleep feeling the cool breeze wafting in from across the lake and the faint sounds of the ever popular “Desi Girl” song being played by our rooftop neighbours.
Reading from our guidebooks, we found out that one of Udaipur’s many claims to fame was the fact that scenes from the Bond movie, Octopussy were shot here and ever since then, the city has been milking this well known piece of movie trivia. It was mentioned that establishments throughout the city have been playing reruns of the movie each night at 8pm without fail for the past 27 years, ever since the movie was made in 1983 (quite fittingly also the year that I was born in). So to test this out, we decided to take a walk and see this for ourselves. We walked down the narrow streets lined with shops and the usual throng of people and the few odd hippie tourists and entered a small and shabby restaurant and true to form, there it was – a crusty old TV at the back playing the rerun of Octopussy. Feeling the need to spoil ourselves a bit and not wanting to sit through 2 hours of a grainy rerun of an 80’s Bond movie with Roger Moore coupled with bad sound quality, we decided to head off to the highly acclaimed Hotel Jagat Niwas Palace for dinner instead. Just as the book mentioned, it was the place to go if you were looking for a good meal and a good view. It still had the old colonial look and feel to it but it was an experience not to be forgotten (I’m guessing it’s much the same when it comes to colonisation as well). And as we sat there on the rooftop, sipping on our sweet limes and looking out at the illuminated palace across the lake, I couldn’t help but feel pure contentment. It was right then that I was living in the moment and I was savouring every minute of it.
3 December 2008
The following day, it was time to do our usual sightseeing and a bit of admin. So after our breakfast on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, we tried to book our train tickets for our onward journey after Rajasthan and then we spent the day taking a walk to the City Palace, getting lost, going for a boat ride around Lake Picholi and then finally ending off the day with a visit to the Lake Palace itself. And as the sun went down over the surrounding hills, casting its warm golden glow on the palace and the lake, everything seemed to stop and quieten down for a moment and the city looked serene. It was then that I knew I wanted to come back to this city some day.