Devansh, I and four of his friends left on a bus at 10:30pm to Udaipur, Rajasthan. It was nice to travel by bus as the driving on the highways here can be, how do you say… hectic. (More on that later). We each had our own respective sleeper bunks. I appreciated the access to windows and the curtain.
At some point in the middle of the night we made a pit stop. The Shrea Naruta Nandam Resort, Garden Restaurant & Guest House was full of charter busses. Village shops and pit stops like this look like a open front dessert cantina with a high-school snack shack on the front end. The bathrooms from the outside made me think of the line from The Goonies, “Mikey, Mikey, this ain’t the kind of place you want to go to the bathroom in.” Lets just say the inside was better than the bathroom I used at the elephant yard.
The most surreal part was stumbling back into the bus, and falling back to sleep listening to the bus driver blasting his multi-pitched horn and The Wall from a phone below me. That and an Advil PM, I was set. We arrived in Udaipur around 4:15 am.
Upon entering the hotel room that Devansh, Bhadresh and I would share I had to play the Bad Smell/Different Smell game in my head. Sometimes in a different country you smell something – odd. I wouldn’t want to ask what smells so wrong only to find out that what I was smelling was normal, maybe dinner. I keep my mouth shut around odd smells. When Bhadresh asked if he could burn some incense. I deduced it was a bad smell. Other than that the room was nice.
Udaipur is amazing. Lets just say I’m a sucker for topography. The city is situated within a medium sized plain between Coast Range size mountains. There are prominent hills with palaces on top, next to reservoirs that previous maharajas and moguls have made. The city also has many expansive parks and gardens. The gate to one very large garden greeted us near our hotel.
We toured the palace of the King of Udaipur. It’s a multi layered complex built over many generations. Between beautiful paintings, mirror work, armor, and gardens the architecture sets the stage for a lot of rich history. I would almost say, start your India trip in Udaipur. The king still lives there in a very large wing of the palace. We toured roughly 1/12 of the structure in about 6 hours.
There was a multi-cultural cafe with food from all over. As I was still getting my stomach back and couldn’t eat from many restaurants in the city I was happy to try a chicken hot-dog and minestrone soup. I felt like I was cheating eating meat in India but I felt plenty better afterwards.
You may notice in one picture below a beautiful blue dome with big wooden doors on either side. This is inside a gate to the palace. You may also notice the doors have some large spikes. Thesw large spikes (~8 in) start only halfway up the 25 ft door. They are thers to keep the elephants from ramming the doors down when an invading army is attacking. You know you’re in a cool place when you had to put up elephant deterrents on your palace doors.
Devanhs friends you may see in the Photos: Bhadresh – Devansh’s longtime friend, Depa – Bhadresh’swife. You may notice she has many bangles on her wrists. She gets to wear that in the first two months of marriage. This trip to Rajasthan is a pseudo-honeymoon for them. They are a fun couple.
We finished the day at a clothing store where salesmen unfurl meter after meter of beautiful cloth for saris and shirts. I just felt sorry for the young guy that was sitting there waiting to fold up all the beautiful clothes that were displayed for us.