With less two days left in touristy, yet beautiful and relaxing Udaipur, India, J. and I decided to have one day of adventure and one day of rest. While there are a variety of notable destination that make for good day trips outside of town, all involve cost and transit time. Since we were embarking on a 16 hour bus ride on Sunday, we decide to avoid any activity that required a bus.
The morning sky seen through our curtains.
Instead, we woke early and walked north across town to another large, man made lake called Fateh Sagar. It was only a kilometer or two away and free from tourists and tourists hassles. Well, the tourists were there, but they were all Indian. Lots seemed to lining up to take boats to the Nehru Park Island. Along the lakeside roadway, people were going on leisure drives and strolls. There were numerous food vendors selling samosas, drinks, and other snacks. At one bend in the road were a battery of small stalls that sold iced cream.
Lady loading bricks onto a donkey backpack.
Fateh Sagar’s water level was low, and there was a large perimeter of exposed grass along the edge of the lake. Amongst the grasses were water buffalo, herons, and other water fowl. We climbed down and wandered around the shore, avoiding cows, and staying in the shadows of stone walls. At one point, we had to do a series of pipe balancing to get across a stream and some muddy ground. It felt like a videogame. Between the paddle boats the day before and the pipe balancing, it felt like I’d teleported back to my childhood years. Unfortunately, my balls were still dropped and mood was more nostalgic than innocent.
Water buffalo in the water.
A cow that stopped and stared at J. because she was in its way. The cow, like us, was sticking to the shadows.
We climbed back up and walked along the road capped masonry dam in search of a large park. It ended up being a foreboding nature preserve, so we turned around and got some iced cream.
Neat building on a small island.
Ticket counter for boat rides.
One of many religious sculptures that had been dumped in the lake.
View of the lake from the dam.
Before heading home, we hailed an auto rickshaw and bargained a fare (200Rs) to drive us to Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace) atop a nearby mountain. It was a pricey, but worthwhile trip. Entrance fees were 80Rs a person, plus 20Rs for the vehicle. The 200Rs for the driver was round trip plus waiting time.
His Baja rickshaw was not meant for hills. The road leading to the palace was steep, and he had to gun the engine in low gear for us to ascend at all. A few times we pulled over to let the engine cool. The road led through a wildlife sanctuary. The scenery was natural and undisturbed, and the view got progressively more impressive as we climbed. Along the way, we saw the wreckage of an identical rickshaw. It had smashed into a stone rail. According to guest house gossip, three people had died the day before when the rickshaw’s brakes failed. This story remains unverified.
The Monsoon Palace itself was nothing special. Most of it was is disrepair. The highlight was definitely the view of surprisingly sprawling Udaipur. Additionally, we found a stairwell that led to what looked like an old bathroom. There was a chute from the squatter straight outside and over the hill. The view on that side must have been sh-tty. Hidden under the bottom rungs of the spiral stairs were a family of squeaking bats.
The Monsoon Palace.
The view of Udaipur from the palace.
Lake Pichola, Jagniwas, and City Palace.
Fateh Sagar Lake and Nehru Park Island.
J. in a balcony.
A bench with a view.
Lovers on the grass and man without lover.
The drive down was scary but controlled. We were pooped, so we went to the guest house to rest. It was a good thing, because late into the night was a combination of festivals, concerts, fireworks, and parties. It was a loud night.
Our bus to Mumbai left at 4:30 the next day, so we didn’t do much. We had to check out of the hotel at 10AM and head to the bus station by 3:30. In the meantime, we sat around and ate a slow breakfast and an even slower lunch, interrupted by card games and a walk.
Lunch: a delicious thali platter(60-70Rs/$1.50) from Dream Heaven Guest House.
When went back to pick up our bags, the fiery haired Muslim guest house manager got us with a practical joke. He said that the buses weren’t running that day because there had been an explosion. We were confused and worried about what to do. He said they might be leaving the next day and apologized that all the rooms had been booked. While J. went off to talk to the travel agent next store, he pulled me aside and let me in on the joke. His eyes were wild with delight. I laughed and called him quite the trickster.
We hailed another rickshaw and left for the station, chuckling in relief. At least the bus would be there. The ride, however, is something left for another post.