Udaipur

Udaipur is described as the most romantic city in India. We’re not so sure about this. There is a certain Venice-ness to it, with old havelis (mansions) right up against the large lake, but as Lonely Planet so euphemistically puts it, “the romanticism is wearing ever so slightly thin.”

 

Photos by Ben Journee

A group of men playing cards by the lake, and the Rialto-like bridge in the background

A group of men playing cards by the lake, and the Rialto-like bridge in the background

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Lake Pichola at dusk

Lake Pichola at dusk

The large city palace was a pretty large disappointment, despite being impressive from the outside. Room after room of amateur paintings, dodgy dioramas and cardboard cutouts of old rulers were far from impressive. We could also tell that our comparably hefty ticket fare was not going far in to maintaining the complex. A view from one of the palace courtyards gives you an unimpressive and unpleasant view of a large rubbish pile in the middle of a lower courtyard. We were able to get some pretty shots though.

City Palace (which is really a few palaces in one) from the entrance

City Palace (which is really a few palaces in one) from the entrance

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Cardboard cutout (left) to complete the furnishings 

Cardboard cutout (left) to complete the furnishings 

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Anglo-Indian decor

Anglo-Indian decor

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Saheliyon-ki-Bari Gardens (Garden of Maids)

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 Fortunately our disappointments were eased when we visited Bagore ki Haveli, which was a beautifully salvaged and restored mansion on the waters edge, and was once occupied by the royal family. The spaces were presented with some impressive historical treasures and each room told a real story with the dressings and the descriptions.

Bagore ki Haveli courtyard

Bagore ki Haveli courtyard

Royal dressing room

Royal dressing room

Games room 

Games room 

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Royal cenotaphs - impressive, but in a sad state of negligence (the bribe asking guard didn't help the atmosphere either)

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After running out of things to do, and having a day up our sleeve while we waited for our late night train to Agra, we decided to catch a rickshaw to a nearby mall and catch a Bolliwood flick (in Hindi!) It was everything you could imagine it would be. A muddle of genres spread over 3 hours, interspersed with seemingly irrelevant music videos starring the main characters and a suitably dramatic plot diversion in the last 20 minutes. We were really glad we managed to fit this in before we left India.