Hustle and bustle vs peace and tranquility

I am currently sitting in my hotel room looking out a bay window to the serene Lake Pichola in Udaipur, it’s a lovely 28 degrees out and at times has even been a little cool. It’s such a beautiful, chilled town with plenty of rooftop cafes and restaurants. There are temptations around every corner, from leather bound notebooks to colourful shoes and scarves of course too. Before I start waxing lyrically about Udaipur I need to talk about our last stop, which was Jodhpur, aka the Blue City.

Jodhpur

We left Jaisalmer at the crack of dawn on the 25th and boarded our sleeper train where I chatted to Alan about different Indian foods and the love for the sweet and salty combination such as salty lemon juices. I tasted a particularly interesting sweet called Pulse which had a lovely mango taste but after a few minutes tasted very unusual, turns out it was filled with spices, it was the strangest combination as it’s not something we would have at home in Ireland. Good to try it though, don’t think I’ll be rushing out to try another. πŸ˜‚

We arrived in Jodhpur around 1 and grabbed a tuk-tuk to Jagat Villas which is a family run guesthouse, it was so lush and peaceful there, a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the main town. We had a lovely lunch of yellow dal, an egg curry, a potato curry and chapati. I also tasted the semolina pudding too, it was really tasty, quite sweet too. After lunch we went up to Mehrangarh Fort by tuk-tuk. We got to see the indigo blue buildings on the right side of the hill on the way up, such a pretty colour.

The fort was huge and stood on top of a large hill, it was very impressive. It cost INR700 with an audio guide and we spent two hours wandering around the fort, climbing up the steep hills and walking in and out of the most beautiful courtyards. I particularly loved all of the stained glass rooms, they were just so vibrant.

After the fort Alan brought us on a walking tour down the steep cobbled streets towards the Sardarmarket at the clock tower. It was so busy in the town centre, lots of tuk-tuks and motorbikes beeping to pass us out. The market itself was filled with saris, shoes and other little bits.

We went to a little cafe at the market for a traditional mango lassi and kachori. The lassi was delicious, much thicker than the one I had in Delhi, it was like a rich yoghurt dessert rather than a drink, so tasty. The kachori was like a squished samosa that had been deep-fried, nice and spicy and the pastry was so crunchy.

That evening we went for a lovely pizza in the pizzeria around the corner from the guesthouse, called Sparrow, I had a lovely frothy iced tea there too, so a very western meal for dinner for a change, give the bodies a little rest from all the spicy food for one night.

Day 2 in Jodhpur

The next day we had a free day to do whatever we wanted. I went along to the Umaid Bhawan Palace with a few from the group. It only took about 15 minutes to walk to from the guesthouse, we went via the staff entrance, however the guard only let us go through in two small groups, but we were delighted he let us go the shortcut anyways. The palace was very impressive and the small section we got to walk around had some lovely wine glasses and goblets and so many unusual clocks too. After I just relaxed for the afternoon back at the guesthouse.

A few of us got a tuk-tuk to the market and made our way up the busy streets to the rooftop restaurant, The Curry’s. We had a wonderful view of the Fort and it looked so majestic when lit from below. I had some lovely chickpea chana masala with rice and plain naan and more yummy gulab Jamon with ice-cream for dessert. The gulab Jamon was lovely and warm too, so light. The tuk-tuk back was such an adrenaline rush and it was lovely to zip through the town in the dark too. We were given the best news ever that evening before we went to sleep, the buses were still on strike so we were getting our own bus to Udaipur which meant we had an extra two hours in bed, woohooooo.

The journey to Udaipur

The bus picked us up around 7 and off we drove to Udaipur, we stopped a couple of times for some chai and toilet breaks.

We had a little traffic trouble along the way thanks to some cows. πŸ˜‚ When we were just about 20km from Udaipur the bus started to make some questionable sounds and the driver pulled over to the side of the road where we stayed until another bus came to pick us up.

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long before the other bus came, the driver took the battery out of the new bus, while it was still running and put it into the broken down bus, I didn’t even know you could do that!! πŸ™ˆ

We got a tuk-tuk to our hotel, Narayan Niwas, dumped our bags and practically ran across to the Rainbows restaurant across the street for a late lunch. We were absolutely ravenous and couldn’t wait to have a big meal. I shared some Chana masala, jalfrezi, garlic naan bread and rice with Claire. To say it was the best meal ever would be an understatement, hunger is a great sauce as my Mam would say and by god did we eat it all. For dessert I had this amazing ice-cream with pistachios, coconut, pomegranate seeds and rose syrup, amaaaaaazing.

After our late lunch Alan brought us for a short walk about town to get our bearings. There are a lot of little hills and narrow streets with a building surprising me every now and then with a pop of colour in the windows, just gorgeous, the lake views were so pretty too. We came across a very imposing and loud bull too, no messing with that dude.

That evening we chilled out on the rooftop terrace with the James Bond building and the city palace lights as our backdrop. It was pretty clear why it was called the Venice of the East.

Day 2 in the Udaipur

Today we went for breakfast in a cafe around the corner from the hotel, I had a banana pancake, like a crepe and a yummy americano to start my day. I went for a full body massage at midday, another coffee after that and a lunch at the Sunrise cafe. We had to wait an hour for our lunch, so I was beyond starving by the time it came out, I had Aloo Matar.

I did a little shopping and bought a lovely red and blue scarf that had caught my eye the previous evening. It cost INR500 and I was happy out with my purchase, I’m going to try and wait until Varanasi before I’m tempted by another scarf.

That evening we met for a little miniature paintings demonstration where we learned that they use chipmunk hairs for their fine paintbrushes and we were shown so beautiful paintings with the most intricate details. We went to Bagore Ki Haveli for the traditional dance show at 7. It was absolutely jammers but thankfully there was a lovely fan blowing on our faces for the whole show. The costumes were just stunning and the dances and music was so unique and wonderful to watch. There was also a puppet dance, it was all very interesting and just ridiculously cheap too at only INR150.

Day 3 in Udaipur

This morning we had breakfast at Jheels, which was another rooftop restaurant with a wonderful view of the lake. I had a banana pancake and an amaaaaazing frappe, yummy. After that we wandered up to the city palace, I also went to take money out of the atm. As per usual it took me 4 atms before my bank card eventually worked, my bank kept texting me to make sure I recognised the transactions. It’s great that their security is so good but not to the extent that it limits me from taking money out. Anyways, just one of the many joys of travelling.

It cost about INR300 for a ticket into the city palace, it was filled with lots of narrow passageways, peaceful courtyards and my favourite, stained glass windows, it was just gorgeous. I really enjoyed walking around the palace and taking it all in. After we went for a juice and relaxed for a bit.

Lunch was a lovely Greek salad in Rainbow cafe, where I plucked a really pretty flower to pop into my travel journal too.

A few of us had some henna done here too, which had all been arranged by Alan, it cost INR500 for just the hand and INR600 for what I got. The girl was so fast and she was just so creative too, I could not believe how fast she finished it.

The city palace
Monsoon palace

Footbridge
Washing time ☺️
Chill out area

Later that evening a few of us went on a boat trip around the lake for INR300. It was really peaceful and lovely to see the town from a different point of view. I participated enjoyed seeing the locals and how they beat their clothes when they were washing them in the lake, fascinating to watch. Earlier this morning I saw a man take the t-shirt he was currently wearing off and washing that, very efficient washing. We went for food in the Brew cafe afterwards where I had a very tasty burrito and an iced tea, yummy.

A beautiful silver ring I bought here

Jodhpur and Udaipur were so different, like polar opposites, although they both had plenty of drivers beeping away mind, haha. Jodhpur was quite overwhelming with its hustle and bustle and I felt like we really stuck out there, we were constantly asked for our photos or our photos were taken without our permission. At one point a woman just said hello to me and touched my skin, it was a strange feeling to be constantly stared at really. On the other hand Udaipur is full of tourists and it just feels a lot more chilled, definitely more my cup of tea and then with all the beautiful temptations around every corner it’s been hard not to buy every single thing I see. Tomorrow we head to Pushkar on a 6 o’clock train, it’ll only take 6 hours, hopefully.

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