Friday, October 11, 2013

Udaipur to Delhi

We started early Thursday (10 October) completing check out from the Trident  Hotel by 9.30am and making a decision to do our old Udaipur city walk first thing in order to take advantage of the clear skies while we were lucky enough to have them.

The central market area was much more laid back and open (and cleaner) than any in the other cities we’ve visited and I just loved the splashes of colour, and the liveliness of it all. 

Everybody has to work hard in India - even these little donkeys (why do we feel so sad for them while tending to forget about the many people here who are overloaded with work too??).

As in other market areas, like shops (spices, sugar, snacks, ceremonial goods, laundries, bakeries etc) are clustered together. 

This stall selling blocks of palm sugar was buzzing with hundreds of wasps.

And this was the old Udaipur equivalent of my Ilve oven....... (baking cookies today)

The fresh food market was clean and fragrant (fresh herbal fragrant) and I really enjoyed seeing many more women around participating in the business side of things.

We finished up at the oldest Hindu temple of Udaipur – the fantastically carved Jagdish Temple dating from 1651. It enshrines a black stone image of Vishna as Jagannah, Lord of the Universe. The temple was very busy this morning with a devout crowd of local people chanting in front of Vishna.

We spent some time examining the intricate carvings on the exterior which our guide helped us to interpret - they were all about providing lessons on leading the good life according to the Hindu pantheon of gods and mythology (including lessons for “man and ladies” from the Kama Sutra).

It was a fairly brisk walk out of the narrow old Udaipur lanes to where the van picked us up – then a trip back to yesterday afternoon’s Handcrafts and Textiles place so Jennie and Wayne could pick up the gear they’d had made for them (overnight sewing – and they’re very happy with the fit and the quality!). 

On the way we witnessed the amazing sight of a pair of Jain priests walking briskly along the main street of Udaipur (alongside our bus as it turns out) with an entourage of followers. Devout Jain priests wear no clothes as a sign of their austerity. Yes these men were absolutely naked - Incredible India indeed!!!

Our guide suggested a quiet little restaurant (Aroma Restaurant) for a quick snack and a cool drink before we headed out to Udaipur’s new modern airport to catch our Jet Airways flight back to Delhi at 4.30pm.

At this point we said goodbye to Rinkhu - the best driver in all of India and one of the most serene and dignified - a true gentleman. He had an eleven hour drive back to Delhi from Udaipur ahead of him and we were all willing him a safe drive back. We were very grateful for the way he had ensured our safety and comfort at all times over the past 14 days under some very testing conditions!!

We were pleasantly surprised by our positive experience of internal flights in this part of India. The (small) plane was new and it arrived in Delhi about 15 minutes early. We were also pleased that they didn’t seem to be enforcing the new 15kg check in baggage limits (phew!).

Our early arrival in Delhi meant that our guide and driver weren’t there to meet us. After about 10-15 minutes we rang our tour operator who was quick to let us know they were only 2 minutes away. Apparently Delhi’s peak hour traffic and our early arrival had conspired to leave us to our own devices for a short time – the only glitch so far in what has been an impeccably planned holiday so far. Thank you Mr VP Singh of Legends andPalaces!

We went out to dinner to celebrate our last night together as a group of seven - to the gorgeous and impeccable Imperial Hotel, close to Connaught Place. The Imperial Hotel opened in 1931 as New Delhi's first luxury hotel - and it still retains its perfectly groomed air of colonial grandeur.  I have heard a rumour that this is the the hotel favoured by Ms Cath T (of Topshop fame) when she is on business in New Delhi. Apparently this was the hotel where Nehru, Gandhi, Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten met to discuss the Partition of India and the birth of Pakistan.

We dined in the more casual Daniell's Tavern but it was still starched white service and beautifully prepared food.


dimpy roy said...

Lovely pics. Udaipur is such a beautiful city where you can see the Real India. Check out direct Delhi to Udaipur flight also.

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