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Old 9th July 2014, 17:15   #1
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Default When the City of Lakes beckoned - Journey to Udaipur, Rajasthan

I have a strange connection with Rajasthan. Every year I find myself landing up in Rajasthan to explore some place or the other. Fortunately, the proximity from Delhi and decent highways also helps. I have always felt attracted to the Grand Castles/ Forts/ Palaces. I think its a great heritage and love to read the articles about the Royalty, the Rajputs etc.

Had been contemplating a visit to Udaipur for the past 2 years but we kept postponing it as the drive was long, and my baby was small. January 2013 - We bought a Renault Duster for my wife. Now that was a comfortable car. Thought of planning a trip to Udaipur but due to lack of time, we skipped it and went to Jaipur once more.

With the arrival of my Safari Storme in October 2013, my intention got stronger and I decided that once the first service is done, we have to visit Udaipur. This vehicle does imbibe some confidence in you, that you can take it any where.

January 2014 - It was really getting super cold in Delhi and temperature was at an all time low. We thought it was a good time to get away from the freezing cold and visit a relatively pleasant Udaipur - The City of Lakes.

We got the booking done in Hotel Jaisinghgarh located on the Trident road, very close to The Udai Villas (Oberois) and adjoining to Chunda Palace. Read about the resort that it was relatively new and an old haveli had been acquired and converted to a resort. The Resort is owned by a few partners one of them being a renowned chef. We were sure of getting a lot of good food inside the resort.

January 4th 2014 : The day to start the journey. Being a Saturday, my office works half day, I thought of saving one leave here. My family members (Mom, Dad, Wife and Daughter) came to the office and I took charge of the vehicle from there. Started around 1330 hours.

Took a break at a very nice stoppage - Haldirams around 1500 hours. This Haldiram is different from the Gurgaon Haldiram. Guess it is somewhere near Behror. It was a nice decision to stop there for lunch. Nice food, less crowd - it was nice. Second break was at about 1730 at the Highway kings, near jaipur. We had planned of taking a halt at jaipur as we did not want to take the whole journey in one go. Distance of Udaipur from Delhi about 670 kms. 250 kms were already done. 400 odd kms to be done the next morning.

We did the journey from Gurgaon to Jaipur in straight 5 hours (including two super luxurious breaks). But as destiny had it - it was not supposed to be so smooth after all. We already had a booking in Jaipur done by my friend who stays in Jaipur only. We had a hard time finding the place. GPS was not working due to poor signals, bumped into some local fellows for directions, but they either didn't know the place correctly or they mistook it for some other, we ended up moving round and round for about an hour and finally managed to reach...phew!

January 5th 2014 : Day began early for us. We planned to start at 0600 in the morning but it was still bit foggy. Thought of waiting some more time so that the visibility increases. Started at 0800. The journey was super smooth and supremely comfortable in the SUV. I realised the worth of this car on this journey itself. It was amazing , no words can explain my gratitude to the Tatas.

We stopped for breakfast at a Dhaba on the highway. The break was short and sweet. The food was good. The Dhaba had some ducks and some swings which my kiddo enjoyed to the halt.

Again stopped for Lunch at Chittorgarh at the Chitrakoot Resort. There weren't many places to stop by there and this one was looking pretty fine. The food was delicious and the resort had ample space. They had a big lawn and there were tables too. Sat outside enjoying the pleasant weather, the kid ran round and round, all in all a good space to stop by.

Reached the Hotel around 1630, and it was a delightful sight. The rooms were amazingly big. There were two parks in the premises, so I was sure my baby was gonna have some fun. Spoke to the receptionist and he was nice enough to allow us parking inside the premised. They usually dont allow vehicles inside but fortunately our rooms were at the backside. There was a separate entrance from the behind and they allowed us to bring the car from there. Imagine my car standing right in front of my ground floor room...for a Delhite living in flats for the past 22 years, it was a big deal for me.

Had some tea and snacks, took some rest and I was up again at 1900 hours to take the car for a spin around the city. Spent a superb evening with wife and daughter. Folks in the meanwhile were taking rest in the Hotel.

Spent the evening around the Chaupati style shops around Lake pichaula. It was a beautiful sight. Cool breeze and hot coffee, looking at a lake and having roadside snacks - ya it was good, too good!

January 06th 2014 : Checked out the Restaurant named - Kebab Mistry famous for (obviously) its Kebabs. Had a good breakfast and I started charting out the plan for the day.

Hired a guide who would take us around the city. Visited the below mentioned places :

1) Started with Lake Pichoula (yes again!) - This time took a camel ride around and a motor boat ride in the lake.
2) Maharana Pratap Samarak
3) Fateh Sagar
4) Jag Mandir
5) Lake Palace
6) King's Vintage car museum
7) Arts and Crafts Museum - Main attraction was the Puppet Show - My baby loved it!!

A few pics before I talk a bit about all these places.

To be contd..
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Old 10th July 2014, 11:01   #2
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Default re: When the City of Lakes beckoned - Journey to Udaipur, Rajasthan

Sharing more pictures of the Vintage Car Museum. All these cars belong to the living king Arvind Singh and it is said that all these cars are in good running condition and the king often takes them out for a spin. Amazing collection I must say. Watching so many beauties at once was like Nirvana!
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Old 10th July 2014, 11:17   #3
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Default re: When the City of Lakes beckoned - Journey to Udaipur, Rajasthan

After being through all the places in the itenary for the day, it was now time to visit the City Palace. The Good thing about roaming around in the city was that all these places on the list were not too far away from each other.So the commutation time is really not a problem. However, driving in some stretches was difficult as few stretches were narrow, and traffic there also seems to be rising now.

Had heard a lot about the city palace and seen glimpses of it in a few movies as well. We were excited to enter the City palace. Amazing grandeur, awesome constuction and beautiful interiors, learnt a lot about the life of Udai Singh and Maharana Pratap as well. The Palace overlooks Fateh Sagar from one side and the city from the other. It looks beautiful. To sum up the experience of the palace in one word - Mesmerizing!
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Old 10th July 2014, 12:59   #4
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Default Re: When the City of Lakes beckoned - Journey to Udaipur, Rajasthan

Quote:
Originally Posted by JASMEET MATTOO View Post
Sharing more pictures of the Vintage Car Museum. All these cars belong to the living king Arvind Singh and it is said that all these cars are in good running condition and the king often takes them out for a spin. Amazing collection I must say. Watching so many beauties at once was like Nirvana!
I remember watching a show on TLC (quite some time ago) where they featured king Arvind Singh's collection. There is actually an entire team looking after the maintenance and restoration of all the classic cars there. All the cars are readily available for use and and when required. The interviewee was the manager (or something) who himself was very knowledgeable and a classic car enthusiast himself.
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Old 10th July 2014, 15:44   #5
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Default Re: When the City of Lakes beckoned - Journey to Udaipur, Rajasthan

The two hours spent in the Palace were really awesome. This being a private property, was maintained really well. The day was well spent and it was 1530 hours and we were yet to have our lunch. Grabbed a couple of pizzas from a joint on the way. Evening was spent in the hotel premises only on the terrace. It was a ghazal night and two singers had arrived.

The remaining time was spent at leisure listening to the lovely melodies being recited by these two talented fellows. And the best part was that this all was on the terrace in an amazingly pleasant, mildly cold weather.

January 7th 2014 : Next day was more relaxed as we had already visited the most popular places the day before. The family was tired due to the last three days. So we mutually decided to take it easy. We all decided that we will start our day with Shilpgram and then we will decide what next. If we like it we will spend some time and if we don't then we will find what place to visit next. I really wanted to visit Chittaurgarh fort and Haldi Ghati. But these places were not close by. It needed some amount of drive to get to these places. Surprisingly no one else was as excited as me. I had to give in to the family pressure.

Shilpgram is famous for showcasing the city's handicrafts/art and craft.I would have to say that this was the surpise package of this trip. Very close to our hotel. Asked an old chap on the way regarding the directions and his answer shocked all of us - " Wahan jaa ke kya karoge, sirf mitti milegi wahan, festival to khatam ho gaya" ( Its only dust there now, nothing to do, festival over now". I began to think as to what my question was?? Direction or suggestion

Well he was a funny old chap, cos we all had a blast there. We were greeted by a group dance by the local dance group and it was so full of energy that even we began to tap our feet.
We spent about 3 hours there exploring and shopping and photography. Amazing village style houses were there, the utensils used in the rural interiors, it was good fun. Felt like I should have caught that old chap on my way back and check with him on his definition of beauty....nah!!!

It was a wonderful time spent there, and we straight away headed our hotel room from there. Ordered food through room service and consumed it in the comfort of our rooms. Mom, Dad and daughter fell asleep. Me and wifey sneaked out to catch a heritage haveli which was close to our hotel. But destiny had other plans for us (read sleep!!) .This haveli was in the interiors of the city and the lanes were really narrow. Few people warned me when I asked the directions, that a big car like this will not reach there. Realised a few metres down that those fellows were right. It seemed almost impossible to reach, so decided to give it a miss and go back to the hotel and take some rest.

Got up in the evening and spent the rest of the time at Lake Pichaula. Did not realise that it was time to say goodbye to Udaipur as we were supposed to leave the next day. With a heavy heart came back and went off to sleep.

Few pics of Shilpgram and Lake Pichaula :
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