Katie's Live and Unleashed 05/06 Worldwide Tour travel blog


Dinner at Ahmedebad

My food!

Double-decker public bus

In Udaipur on banks of lake

Romantic setting!

Roof-top bar

The City Palace

Spire with monkeys climbing over it

Easier to see monkeys now...

The City Palace at night-fall

Beautiful carvings

Washing with elephant behind

Swimming too

The City Palace from the lake

With Bex my room-mate

Tea being served the traditional way!

At night

Back steet of Udaipur

Jagmandir Island

An early start to catch the 0615 train to Ahmedabad, and it was a surprisingly good service! We had reserved seats with loads of leg-room for the 7 hour ride to drier places and were provided with breakfast, snacks and lunch! Ahmedabad is Gujarat's major city and you either love it or hate it - unfortunately I was the latter....It probably wasn't helped by the fact that all 13 of us decided to walk for a couple of miles to Sabarmati Ashram (formally Gandhi's headquarters) and despite covering up well for this very Muslim, non-drinking or meat eating town, we were stared at and followed until we ended up taking a tuk-tuk. The city was extremely noisy, busy and dirty and used to be one of the finest cities in India in the 17th century, becoming a huge textile centre which suffered huge economic hardship when the last mills closed in 1970. But we found a lovely place for dinner before the heavens opened again!

A public-bus ride later (with a sleeping area on the second tier) and everything changed - we entered Rajasthan and Udaipur is fantastic! Renowned for being romantic Udaipur, founded in 1559 by Maharaja Udai Singh II, is built on the edge of Lake Pichola, one of 3 man-made lakes in the area. Luckily (!!) we are in the monsoon, but in dry periods this lake can empty out, leaving the Lake Palace Island (Jagniwas) and Jagmandir Island sticking out the mud!

Dominating the view from the lake is the City Palace, some of which has been transformed into a museum which we were guided around, another section still the royal residence (although this is title only as powers have been lost), and is one of Rajasthan's largest palaces with a fa├žade 244m long and 30.4m high. Entering through the triple-arched Tripola Gate it is beautiful!

We went on a boat ride in the lake to visit Jagmandir Island for a quick drink. The palace on Jagmandir Island was built in 1620 and it is said that the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan derived some of his inspiration here for the Taj Mahal.

2 nights and 1 day was all we had here - could have stayed much longer....although being geared towards tourists, it was lovely and clean and although there was traffic whipping around the narrow street there was a friendly and relaxed feel to it. I got caught in a book shop when the skies opened, and the owner was more than happy chatting away to me with our chai telling me all his ideas about all you take away after life is karma, laughter and memories. He even gave me a book to help his karma!! I also learnt that horses represent power, elephants luck and camels love....

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