Arrived in Udaipur and settled in to a fantastic guest house right on the lake overlooking people washing themselves and their clothes in the lake. We could see the palace, the temples, the water, the gates all from our balcony.
The coffee is great and we got into a chat with the manager who was trying to upsell us to another room or another hotel (that he happens to also own). We hit our first lost in translation…the man was telling us his other hotel has cows and mangoes. Now Jill loves a mango daiquiri so we showed interest and described how her Christmas tradition was to drink mango daiquiris. He gave us a very strange look…we talked in opposite directions for a few minutes before he showed me a photo of a mongoose. We quickly clarified that Jill does not in fact drink mongoose. The man was full of character and asked if we knew what India stood for. Which we did not. The answer was…
From this time on…all was good…the other gem he pulled out was that “in India everything is possible…but nothing is available”. We did the Christmas run around to find a suitable venue and after that did the tourist thing hitting the main sights. The palace and museum were great but were massively overcrowded (it is peak season) which detracted from the overall experience. The lake palace is now a 5 star hotel that you cannot go to unless you pay the $1000 per night…given that we can see it from our rooftop and we are paying under $10 per night…we are fine not going in…we saw the insides the night we watched Octopussy anyway.
We watched the movie (Octopussy) and apart from some general filth and dodgy wiring the rest of the town looks pretty much as it did in the movie…ignore the fact that the movie showed the Taj Mahal which is so far away it is not funny (650+ Kms). We wandered up to sunset point near the cable car and the boat cruise set off point. When we worked out that the boat cruise was at a 1000% markup for tourists for the 20 minute ride that goes around the lake palace and past our joint we decided not to bother.
We did the 90 km each way day trip out from Udaipur to see the Kumbhalgarh Fort and then across to the Ranakpur Jain temple. It was a full day but a great one. The fort (as they tend to be) was pretty amazing with many a happy snap taken and the Jain temple was incredible with over 1400 marble columns all individually carved. The one at Ranakpur is (arguably) the best of them all but either way it was pretty darn good.
We jumped in and split the costs with a Dutch lady and her French husband. He was a mad keen photographer who was hellbent to get photos of the oxen drawn water wheels. For those of us who grew up in the either the 20th century or civilisation it is a bunch of paint tins on a chain dipping into a well and emptying into a trough all being powered by a couple of oxen getting dizzy. We found a few of these and he got his photos. For a small fee I managed to get Jill driving the oxen around in circles.