I wrote a lot before posting about Udaipur, my last in the series of Reminisces of Rajasthan. Udaipur was our last visit and we spent half a day thereafter boarded at Hotel Saheli Palace the night before. A very Royal city and I think I will visit again considering the fact that I did not spent much time there.
We hired a guide with us as we did with other places and we proved that the earth is round: he was an acquainted person. He treated us as his guest rather than as his customers. The visit began with we going to the beautiful Garden, Saheliyon ki Badi. This Garden was especially made for the queens to use. The garden is characterized by all sorts of fountains that are run without any pump and are controlled by a valve. Every fountain has different acoustic characteristics. They are about falling rain, some signifying the onset of festivals etc. We can adjust the height of the fountain using valves. The fountains are all decorative, have different styles, surrounded by various creative art work, statues etc. A very beautiful Garden where some of the famous Bollywood songs were shot.We move towards Maharana Pratap Smarak who died due to old age. Here I find the reason why there was a trunk like structure on Chetak. They were used by the soldiers of the Maharana Pratap’s army to decieve the armies of Akbar who used Elephants. The Smarak is a huge place, like a garden once again and we can see the Udaipur city from there. The story of the Dasi sacrificing her son and that of Chetak fighting unto death are carved there.
We carry on and enter the Rajasthan folk museum. The Rajasthani life-style is depicted here in form of puppets, various drapery, utensils, traditions, festivals etc. There are some beautiful sceneries depicted using statues made of thermocol, sand in a closed glass box ready for the tourists to have a glimpse of Rajasthan lifestype. The most exciting thing there was the puppet show we saw. It was a show on some Rajasthani folk dance. I don’t remember the last puppet show I saw but I think it was when I was just a kid and so this will be a life long memory.
The last was the City Palace, a huge palace and also the current residence of the king. The palace has 2 parts – the government and the private. Ofcourse, there is politics. The governement guides don’t enter private place and vice-versa. Why? Thats how it works. No explanation. The palaces are the grand heritage for Udaipur. As we saw the rooms of the palace and the accessories lying there, I wonder what lavish life the Queens and the Kings lived. So many servants at their disposal; they would not even move. Life is lavish but too sedentary perhaps…. The earlier generations lived with head held high and we could see that life reflected in the palace. There are old-fashioned sitting arrangements, bathing equipments were orthodox, the kitchen had the ‘chulha’ wherein two sand structures were erected and the fire place made to cook the food, locked places where elevators stood, rifles of different size and shapes, swords that had different gripping styles based on the post of the sword-holder. There are two parts of the palace; one part is completely for tourism purposes while the other is where the current King lives. The one donated for the tourism is completely commercialized and this part of the palace has more than 130 rooms. I wish….
We brought a blankets, bed-covers, a dress material and went to eat dum-aloo. I swear I will never eat it again.
As we start for Ahmedabad, I realise its time to go back to routine and live the life I left behind. The moments of joy and happiness are life long. Udaipur beckons again, so does Rajasthan. Rejuvenated!