The Majesty of Udaipur


Women washing clothing and bathing at Gangaur Ghat in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Tina and I have just concluded our week in Udaipur, the first city in our tour of India’s Rajasthan state. I certainly enjoyed our visit. Though, I’m not sure I can say the same for Tina, who has been caught nose deep in Harry Potter books six and seven. Luckily, I do get regular updates of which characters are killed in fictional magic battles, amidst the bright red sunsets over the fairy-tale lake.

Tina immersed in Harry Potter over lunch at Mewar Hevali. Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Udaipur is known as the city of maharajas, which is a great billeting. The main city contains 3 maharaja-built palaces which have been transformed into hotels, all priced at US$300 and up. The Fateh Prakash hotel is part of Rajasthan’s largest palace at the top of a hill overlooking Lake Pichola. At the center of the lake is the prize of Udaipur, the Taj Lake Palace hotel. The holy white brick floating for all to see, has only one entrance, and must be boarded only by a palace-owned charter from a private boat jetty. Once used by emperors as a summer home, the palace was fully booked this week at the end of February for wedding season. We would gaze over to the palace everyday, reminding us how exclusive it is.

The evening we arrived, we found ourselves in the middle of three different weddings. The first was a colorful parade for the bride and her maids, carrying a presentation to the grooms father. Later in the evening, we were caught by two bachelor parties. Pressed to join the festivities by a local family, we danced to the loud music while being nudged by the groom’s elegantly fashioned marwari horse.

Pre-wedding bride’s party. Udaipur, Rajasthan.

The groom and the marwari horse at the bachelor party. Udaipur, Rajasthan.

The James Bond movie Octopussy was filmed here, and seems to have brought quite a following of tourists. Most hotels show the movie nightly, and it can get tiring seeing the name on every other sign as you walk through town. One of my highlights was witnessing the 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III that Roger Moore drove in the movie at the Garden Hotel. However, I would guess that Tina would disagree as she was poorly treated at the hotel’s restaurant while waiting for me (reading Harry Potter).

Despite the hustle and bustle of the centralized tourist area, we never really felt badly harassed, and life was quiet and peaceful most of the time. We frequented a couple restaurants in town for good prices, quality and service. Our favorite was a french (style) bakery and rooftop restaurant, conveniently located just above our favorite person in town, the very warm Shreem palm reader.

Akhand is one of the most interesting people we have met in India so far. Our travel writer friend Beth had met him a year ago, and highly recommended that we meet him. He has a profound and mysterious manner, but is clearly very wise in discussion. Very adept at reading palms and personalities, Akhand analyzed both Tina and I with the perfect diagnosis of an experienced surgeon with a fine scalpel. We talked for several hours the first time we met him, and ended up in internet cafe to buy him a domain name ( Over the course of the next week, we went to his house for dinner twice and he helped us arrange a day trip to Ranakpur. I even got sick in his bathroom (Sorry Akhand and Anjuli!). He has a beautiful family and we were certainly blessed to meet them and be graced by their welcome arms. Akhand’s bubbly personality never seemed to burst, even when discussing some of the hardships in his life. We highly recommend seeing Akhand if you are visiting Udaipur. You’ll love the palm reading experience.

Akhand and his beautiful family.

Tina and Adam goofing off at Akhand’s home over delicious dinner. Udaipur, Rajasthan.

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  1. 1

    What a sweet family! Seems like you had a much better time in this city :)

  2. 2

    Where else can i find such an amazing good interesting blog! Beautiful it is!

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