MOTORBIKE TOURS RAJASTHAN DAY SEVEN
Day Seven and our day of rest, where we will be going into Udaipur “The Venice of the East” to discover & explore what this amazing city had to offer us, where getting lost in a palace wasn’t on the agenda!
So off we trolled, with me in my black jogging bottoms (jogging ha ha ha), polo shirt and my FORMA adventure boots with my bottoms tucked inside – let me tell you, the number of comments I had about “WOW” great looking boots. (it really is tough being famous ha ha ha)
Anyway we made our way into the city, deposited next to a museum of cars – if only we’d known that what they meant was a couple of garages housing a couple of cars then maybe we might not have gone inside, but we live and learn.
Then it was off to the palace, where, not for the first time, brown people get in cheaper than the white man, PLUS you also have to pay if you are taking a camera inside – talk about milking it !!!!!!
Once through the gate we walked up to the palace, and just before you get to the main entrance you are met with a view over a massive lake, where, in the far distance there is the Monsoon Palace, once used in the James Bond film Octopussy (always knew I was James Bond, cue music…..). The Monsoon Palace, also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, is a hilltop palatial residence in the city of Udaipur, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake.
Once inside this palace, we took to looking around quite fast really, coming across Gandhi’s glasses that Ben Kingsley wore in the film Gandhi, and copious amounts of Armour, firearms, swords, daggers, and everything to do with the battle in a time long gone It was a superb display, but maybe would have been a great idea to get the services of a guide as I found out very little, but then again the size of
A little bit of history about Udaipur City Palace;
The City Palace was built concurrently with the establishment of the Udaipur city by Maharana Udai Singh II and his successor Maharanas over a period of the next 400 years. The Maharanas lived and administered their kingdom from this palace, thereby making the palace complex an important historic landmark.
The Mewar kingdom had flourished initially in Nagda to the north of Udaipur, established in 568 AD by Guhil, the first Maharana of Mewar. In the 8th century, the capital was moved to Chittor, a hilltop fort from where the Sisodias ruled for 800 years. Maharana Uday Singh II inherited the Mewar kingdom at Chittor in 1537 but by that time there were signs of losing control of the fort in wars with the Mughals. Udai Singh II, therefore, chose the site near Lake Pichola for his new kingdom as the location was well protected on all sides by forests, lakes and the Aravalli hills. He had chosen this site for his new capital, much before the sacking of Chittor by Emperor Akbar, on the advice of a hermit he had met during one of his hunting expeditions.
The earliest royal structure he built here was the Royal courtyard or ‘Rai Angan’, which was the beginning of the building of the City Palace complex. The court was built at the location where the hermit had advised Maharana to build his new capital.
After Udai Singh’s death in 1572, his son Maharana Pratap took the reins of power at Udaipur. However, he was defeated by the Mughal emperor Akbar at the Battle of Haldighati in 1576 and Udaipur fell under the Mughal rule. After the death of Akbar, Mewar was given back to Maharana Pratap’s son and successor Amar Singh I by Jahangir.However, the Mughal army sent many expeditions against the Mewar empire, culminating in a peace treaty between both rulers.
But with the increasing Marathas attacks by 1761, Udaipur and the Mewar state were in dire straits and in ruins. By 1818, Maharana Bhim Singh signed a treaty with the British accepting their protection against the other empires.After the Indian independence in 1947, the Mewar Kingdom, along with other princely states of Rajasthan, merged with the democratic India, in 1949. The Mewar Kings subsequently also lost their special royal privileges and titles. The successive Maharanas, however, retained their ownership of the palaces in Udaipur and converted parts of the palace complex into heritage hotels
The palace would take a guide three weeks to get us around, so once we’d had our fill of the Palace, as grand as it was, we went into the scramble of Udaipur market streets, where, because of the Palace, the surrounding streets were filled with market stalls, eating places (yep, Santhosh had a snack), along with streets filled with TukTuks barging their way through everyone and everything plying their trade to make a living.
We stopped to allow Santhosh to fill up, in fact, every time we stopped he would get a snack, and yet he was 7 stone wet through – must have worms (I was still not allowed street food, by order of BB).
I spied a couple of things that would make great gifts located in the local shops and mentioned this. Digvijay pointed out that me being the white man I’m not to go inside to buy, but to show him what I fancied and he would go in and barter – let the fun begin HA!
I fancy those, I pointed out and off he went, with me observing from a distance to see him shaking his head, pointing out that he was, in fact, Indian from Jaipur and to stop trying to rip him off, enabling me to get the gifts I wanted for half the price they were asking white man 1, Indian shopkeeper 0 – winner!
After this fun and games we went off to walk down to the side of the lake to partake in some lunch, although one of us was saying he wasn’t hungry, I shall let you guess who!
The road down to the lake was just NUTS and I mean NUTS.
Walking over a bridge an elephant came into view with a chap sitting on top, poking a stick in the elephants head depending in which way he wanted the elephant to go – do you know something – the eyes of that poor elephant looked as if he had no reason to live, they just looked so sad……
Eventually finding a place to eat we sat down and rested for around about an hour, with me eating CURD and Rhotti, with soda water. I must confess I was happy to do so because I wasn’t risking ruining the remaining journey and besides I would be eating well again that very night at the hotel from the gods!
The day ended with more bartering from chief negotiator Digvijay and jumping into a TukTuk to be taken on a ride where I felt as though I was taking my life into someone else’s hands…………arriving back at the hotel I had just experienced another fabulous memory-making day. I was becoming sad as it would all be ending soon……….