Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Udaipur - the city of lakes

The romance and grandeur of Rajasthan has loomed large in my imagination, thanks to the many books by Indian writers I've read over the years.  I've always wanted to visit and couldn't ask for a better gateway to Rajasthan than Udaipur - the City of Lakes.
A series of man-made lakes in the middle of the desert is a beautiful setting for the historic seat of the Mewar kingdom, which is proud of its Hindu heritage and title of "Venice of the East".
Enjoying views of Udaipur from Lake Pichola

View of Lake Pichola from the City Palace

Lake Palace - which is a luxury hotel today

City Palace - Udaipur
The City Palace in Udaipur was built by 22 kings over a period of 350 years.  Most of the architecture is not only stunning, but its displays provide interesting vignettes into the lives of the kings and the their harems.  For example, the last king of Mewar was thrown off his horse as a child and his living quarters contain modern conveniences such as an elevator, private toilet and a wheelchair.  Even the queens' quarters are fully decked with swings, beds, textiles, mirrors and fabrics. To my great delight, I realized that all the mirrors in the maharani's quarters are perfectly aligned to my height!  How does that saying go again?  "Some are born great..." Ahem...

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