27th August, 2016.
The Old city of Udaipur has many positive attributes. It has breathtaking monuments, lakes, and great art. Parking space availability is clearly not on the list. Except for high end hotels, private parking is not available anywhere in the old city. This meant that we had to park our car on the road for two days and spent a good one hour driving around the city to find an empty spot on the road. This was one of the rare occasions where we had to stay at a hostel. While there are a good number of stay options, we chose the relatively new Moustache hostel. The staff are passionate and extremely helpful. The old haveli that was converted to a hostel is now complete with bunk beds, a beautiful common areas and a the terrace overlooking lake Pichola.
Given that we had just one day in Udaipur, we had to prioritise the things we wanted to explore. The city palace is a must see monuments and well worth the steep entrance fee of Rs. 250 per person. The details in carvings are amazing and the view of the city from the palace is breath taking.
The glass and stone inlay work is extremely intricate and a couple of hours can be spent exploring this palace.
Getting to Lake Palace is a bit of a hassle. As the building is now Taj Lake Palace hotel, the entrance fee per person is Rs. 750. Given that it was a Sunday, there was a huge crowd and the boats where tightly packed. So instead, we went to the less famous Fateh Sagar Lake. This peaceful lake was overflowing and the area surrounding looked beautiful.
This lake has three islands. The biggest of the three islands contains Nehru park, and the others contain Udaipur Solar Observatory and a public park. Nehru Park is accessible to the public. We took a boat to Nehru Park island. It was filled with birds, butterflies, and the most domesticated group of wild squirrels.
After Fateh Sagar, we entered back inside the old city of Udaipur after stopping for a few minutes at the Udaisagar lake. Exploring the old city on foot is a very interesting experience. At dusk we walked along the tiny art filled lanes to make some great discoveries.
One is a hanuman temple on the ghat. The jasmine flowers, the ghat steps and the calm water gives this place a different aura.
The second is a small jewellery shop named Dharamraj Ornaments and Paper Masks. Operated by a husband and wife, it is a great example of team work. He designs and makes jewellery and she sells it. They are both equally passionate about their work. We spent a good one hour with this couple learning more about black metal jewellery.
The third is a dish named Hello to the Queen (Shalom la Malkah). This blend of crushed biscuits, ice-cream, banana, and chocolate is a delectable dessert which is very popular with Israeli backpackers. It is said that it was invented by someone from Israel, though we have no way of verifying the claim. We tried this dish at Jasmine restaurant, right next to the Daiji foot bridge. It is a wonderful place to be, right next to the water. They also serve a great breakfast and I recommend the Apple banana pancake.
All too soon, we realised that our one day in Udaipur is done. We are happy we managed to cover so much in a day, and we hope to come back for a longer time soon.