Udaipur is known as the city of lakes: it has seven lakes which are all connected by canals. The city is also is surrounded by the Aravalli Mountain Range.
Our first site was the impressive City Palace of Udaipur. This palace was built over 400 years by 4 Maharajas starting in 1553. The first Maharaja decided to move his capital to Udaipur due to the safety of the surrounding mountains and water supply. The palace sites next to the Pichola Lake, which is the biggest lake in Udaipur.
The palace has beautiful rooms and decorations.
Megan’s favorite was the famous peacock mosaic. It uses the tiny pieces of glass and is breathtakingly detailed.
Inside of the palace is also a museum. It holds traditional musical instruments, fabrics and silver items. One item was an elephant disguise for horses. It was used by the army when facing war elephants (who held swords in their trunks); the horses would look like baby elephants, which prevented the real elephants attacking unless they got close enough to the disguised horses to smell them.
We took a boat ride around Pichola lake, which took about an hour. The lake is an artificial lake created in 1362. In the center of the lake is the Lake Palace which was built as the royal family’s summer palace in the 18th century. It is now owned by the Taj Hotel chain and is a five star hotel.
Our boat tour did stop at Jagmandir, Lake Garden Palace. This palace was used as a summer resort and for parties of the royal family. They started construction in 1551. It currently is a stop on the boat tour with a bar, restaurant and spa. It does have beautiful marble elephant carvings around its entrance.
With the abundance of water, came multiple lush gardens. These gardens are still green in the hot/dry season which is impressive. It was the most greenery we have seen since Kochi.
We spent some time in Sahelion-ki-bar, the courtyard of the maidens. This garden was built for the queen and her 48 maidens. There are multiple parts, with fountains, marble elephants, and a lotus pond. The only man allowed in this garden was the king. This way, the women did not have to wear veils, and could relax in the pools and greenery. The guards were eunuchs in order to guard the queen and her maids.
After an afternoon rest to avoid the hottest part of the day we went to see a famous statue of King Maharana Pratep (the golden sun was the sigil of this dynasty) and his beloved horse, Chetak. Chetak was credited with saving the king’s life in battle in 1576. The horse was gravely injured, and lost one of his legs in battle. But Chetak did not give up, he ran on three legs out of the battle and jumped across a large river. Only once the king was far away from battle and safe did the horse lay down and died.
We saw a beautiful sunset over Pichola lake. Our guide treated us to a local favorite called cold coffee. This is ice coffee with a scoop of chocolate ice cream in it. Chris loved the treat. Megan doesn’t like coffee but thought it was decent, as far as coffee goes.