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42 ~ Miniature painting : Udaipur

Day 11 : What was a true and fair price?


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Because I didn’t have to leave the hotel till noon to travel through to Deogarh which was only 2 hours away, I had the morning free. With check out at 10am / 10:00 it was breakfast, pack, bag into storage and I had more than 3 hours to see a bit more of Udaipur.

Back along the now familiar 8 minute walk to Ambapole (bridge) which crosses the Rang Sagar (lake), through one of the city gates, turned right this time and went into part of the city that I had not been into before.

Passing a group of ladies having their photo taken, I was called over to be part of it. Why me? It turned out that they were parents of a pre-school at an end of year event.

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Yesterday, while looking for Raas Leela restaurant, I saw with this miniature painting of the 3 key Rajasthan cities that I would see on this trip:
Jaisalmer - Golden City with the Camel being a Symbol of Love and Sonar Fort.
Jaipur - my next stop. Pink City with its Elephant and Symbol of Good Luck and Hawa Mahal.
Udaipur - White City with the Horse being Symbol of Power and Jag Mandir (Lake Palace).

The guy said it was 1,600 rupees / NZ$33.30 / US$22.50. Told him to put it aside as I will think about it overnight. I saw a similar one later that day in amongst the touristy shops for 700 rupees / NZ$14.60 / US$9.80 and again for 1,000 rupees NZ$20.80 / US$14, so what was a true and fair price?

Wandering one of the back streets well away from the busy tourist route, I saw it again and speaking with the artist who painted it, “bargained” it for 1,100 rupees / NZ$22.90 / US$15.40. Here I was saying that I wasn’t going to buy any souvenirs on this trip. Plus knowing if I got it framed back home it would cost me much more than the miniature painting itself.

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Crossing over the pedestrian Daiji Bridge back to the Gangaur Ghat and in the morning sun sat with some locals watching this couple getting their photo taken.

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Hari Ghat from Gangaur Ghat

Then using a different route back around the eastern side of Swaroop Sagar (lake) passing horses being shod, builders at work plus this guy having his morning workout or was it a wash in the lake?

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The lake was near flat with the reflections.

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Crossing a bridge and on the other side was Swaroop Sagar (lake) where the guy delivering milk was having a break. Don’t know why he stopped in the middle of the bridge.

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Further along the road it came out to Fateh Sagar (lake). In the middle was Nehru Island Park with boats circling the lake no doubt with more local Indian tourists on board.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:58 Archived in India Tagged udaipur Comments (0)

41 ~ Keep turning right - Self guided walkabout : Udaipur

Didn’t come to India to "relax" in a hotel


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Was told that was it for the organized part of seeing Udaipur so back to the hotel to relax. This got to me as I didn’t come to India to "relax" in a hotel. Despite telling Sunil my local guide at the outset that I had wanted to see the local veggie market. Told that I would have to take a tuk tuk myself and given very vague directions.

Plus, I asked him for a suggestion for a local restaurant and again his directions was non-existent.

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Sunil

It was 12.30pm / 12:30 when I was dropped only a block further from the hotel towards town being told that the car could not go any further. All I would say that this was incorrect …

So off I walked back towards the old town.

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By asking around, found Raas Leela. It was next to The Leela Palace. It was certainly nowhere near I had thought it was.

Armed with my map crossing the Daiji Bridge / Chand Pole Puliya Silawatwari Pedestrian Bridge, I went towards the Clock Tower. Got there at 2pm / 14:00.

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It was then a case of follow my nose and thoroughly enjoyed what I came across in the next couple of hours.

Down Hathipod Rd with shops on either side.

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The one in black is called "Kala (black) Jamun" and the bright orange one is "Gulab (Rose) Jamun".

It is like a doughnut dessert, but it’s made up of milk solids called Khova / Khoya which is kneaded into a soft but stiff dough, rolled into balls and then deep fried in ghee (clarified butter). As soon as they are fried, they are drowned into Sugar Syrup which is flavoured with Cardamom (elaichi) and Saffron (kesar).

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At the bottom Hathipole is a popular market for shopping of traditional handicraft items, traditional Rajasthani clothing and shoes, and antique articles.

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A local got talking with me and I brought a fresh juice.

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Seeing many Muslims walking out of a side road, decided to see where they were coming from. (Rasoolpura Masjid)

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“Gajar halwa" also known as Carrot Halwa made out of grated carrots which is sautéed and cooked in clarified butter with milk and then dried fruits such as roasted cashews, raisins, almonds and saffron is added onto it. Eaten specially in winters. I was to have some later in Jodhpur.

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Gajar halwa

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CHECK 25-3

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As long as I keep on turning right I can’t be wrong in finding my way out of this maze of narrow roads and alleyways. Sure enough, I came out directly opposite Jagdish Mandir (Shree Jagdish Temple). It was now 4.20pm / 16:20 so the last 2.5 hours was great with the diverse “street photography”.

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Gangaur Ghat

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Time to head down to Gangaur Ghat with the flying rats - pigeons.

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Along to cross back on Daiji Bridge to see Gangaur Ghat from Hari Ghat on the other side. This pedestrian only bridge while gives walkers respite from the crazy traffic in Udaipur, though not from the cows, dogs, beggars and busking musicians.

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Gangaur Ghat from Hari Ghat

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Back to the same point overlooking Lake Pichola as last night for sunset.

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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Met a couple of fellow photographers. Asked Kaushik to join me for dinner at Raas Leela right on the lake edge with Taj Lake Palace all lit up in the background.

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Dinner = Non-vegetarian platter - chef’s choice of four non-vegetable starters 450 rupees / NZ$9.10 / US$6.30.
Dal bati churma = traditional Rajasthani dish served with lentils 450 rupees / NZ$9.10 / US$6.30.
Maki ki roti = indian bread made with yellow corn flour cooked on a griddle 75 rupees / NZ$1.50 / US$1.
Plus GST and a tip came to 1,200 rupees / NZ$25 / US$16.90.

https://www.raasleela.in/

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Walking back to the hotel came across this rather noisy wedding procession.

The groom is on the horse with sehra - made out of flowers - white and red roses.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:34 Archived in India Tagged sunset udaipur lake_pichola Comments (0)

40 ~ Fountains galore - Sahelion ki Bari : Udaipur

Garden of maidens


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Off to Sahelion ki Bari reaching there at midday.

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Fountains galore.

The garden of maidens was built by Maharana Sangram Singh in the mid-18th century.

https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/sahelion-ki-bari

http://www.udaipur.org.uk/gardens/saheliyon-ki-bari.html

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Posted by bruceontour 00:54 Archived in India Tagged udaipur sahelion_ki_bari Comments (0)

39 ~ Cruise around Lake Pichola : Udaipur

No, it was “sit on the right-hand side”


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Down to the Promenade to board for the hour long cruise around Lake Pichola. Somehow, I had in my mind “sit on the left-hand side of the boat” ... No, it was “sit on the right-hand side” as it goes around the lake anti-clockwise. I should have realised this from watching the boats last night!

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Jag Mandir

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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Gangaur Ghat

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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A stop at Jag Mandir / Magar Ghat was included. Only needed 25 minutes here and that was enough to wander around.

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Back aboard, life jackets on for the short distance back to the pier.

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Jag Mandir

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City Palace

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Off to the next stop - Sahelion ki Bari

Posted by bruceontour 00:14 Archived in India Tagged udaipur lake_picola Comments (0)

38 ~ City Palace : Udaipur

Day 10 : Finding arches to frame the photos


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Then the short walk up to City Palace.

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A fusion of Medieval European and Chinese architecture, “City Palace” which was built by Maharaja Udai Singh. This marble monument is situated on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola. Numerous balconies, towers and cupolas of the palace provide a marvelous view of the lake and the city below.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Romantic Udaipur is known as the city of palaces and lakes. It was founded in 1559 by Mewar ruler Maharana Udai Singh II, and the kingdom's capital was later relocated there from Chittorgarh after Mughal invasion. At the heart of it, bordering Lake Pichola, is the City Palace Complex. Notably, it's still partially occupied by the Mewar royal family today. They've done a commendable job of developing it into a tourist destination that intimately presents the history of the Maharanas of Mewar. The "jewel in the crown" (pardon the pun) is the City Palace Museum.

The museum comprises both the Mardana Mahal (King's Palace) and Zenana Mahal (Queen's Palace), which make up the City Palace. Constructed over four and a half centuries, it's the oldest and largest part of the City Palace Complex. The architecture is the main highlight, along with the priceless private royal galleries, artwork, and photographs.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-palaces-and-forts-in-india-1539345

The City Palace Museum is the jewel in the crown of the Udaipur City Palace Complex. It is here that you can immerse yourself in the history of the Maharanas of Mewar, and really get a feel for their culture and how royalty lived. The sprawling museum is actually a series of palaces, including the Mardana Mahal (palace for the royal men) and Zenana Mahal (palace for the royal women).

Construction on the City Palace started in 1559, making it the oldest part of the City Palace Complex. The various rulers continued the work over four and a half centuries, in a number of phases, giving rise to the Mughal and British influences in the palace architecture.

In 1969, the City Palace was opened to the public as the City Palace Museum. This was done out of necessity, in order to generate income and maintain the building after India became a democracy, and royal rulers had to give up their states and fend for themselves. The Museum is now overseen by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation. The annual World Living Heritage Festival, which takes place at the City Place, is also an initiative of this foundation to preserve Indian heritage and culture.

The current custodian of the House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, hasn't merely been content with restoring the City Palace to its former glory. Ongoing projects are underway to develop it into a world class museum.

Once such project is the exhibition of priceless royal family photographs. The interior of the Museum is also adorned with priceless artwork, which documents royal history before Udaipur got its first camera in 1857. A collection of personal portraits of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar is on display as well. Recently, the world's first silver museum and gallery of royal musical instruments were added.

Being the largest part of the Udaipur City Palace Complex, the City Palace Museum stretches 33 meters high, 333 meters long, and 90 meters wide. Exploring the museum is like negotiating your way through a maze. There's a good reason for this. It was designed to hinder enemy attack.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/udaipur-city-palace-museum-1539587

Again, it was the views from City Palace plus the patterns and colours through the widows that really interested me. Plus finding arches to frame the photos.

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Jag Mandir

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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It took a very quick hour to follow the stairs up and down the parts that were open to the public. Part are a couple of hotels and it is also still used as a residence.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:40 Archived in India Tagged udaipur city_palace Comments (0)

37 ~ Jagdish Mandir (Shree Jagdish Temple) : Udaipur

32 marble steps


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Left at 9am / 09:00 taking a tuk tuk with Sunil, my local guide, on the start of the city tour.

I only needed 10 minutes to see Jagdish Mandir (Shree Jagdish Temple). Don’t know why some people spend 30 minutes here.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

This imposing white Hindu temple, with intricate architecture and carvings, is an unmissable landmark in the Lal Ghat area near the entrance to the City Palace. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651 and houses a black stone idol of Lord Jagannath (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). The highlight here is the evocative aarti (worship ceremony) every sunrise and sunset.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/udaipur-attractions-and-tourist-sites-1539755

Covering the exterior and the plinth are base relief of alligators, elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians rising in rows. It is the largest temple in Udaipur.

Jagdish Temple raised on a tall terrace and was completed in 1651. It attaches a double-storey Mandapa (hall) to a double-storey saandhara (with a covered ambulatory) sanctum. The mandapa has another storey tucked within its pyramidal samavarna (bellroof) while the hollow clustered spire over the sanctum contains two more, nonfunctional stories. To reach the main shrine, one must climb 32 marble steps, intercepted by a Brass image of Garuda in the end, being the mount (vahana) of God Vishnu. Shri Jagdish Temple is the most beautiful example of Hindu Iconography, consisting of three stories of hand carved stone, with a steeple nearly 79 feet high.

Four smaller shrines, dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Surya, Goddess Shaktiand, Lord Shiva form a circle around the main shrine, housing the idol of Lord Vishnu. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagdish_Temple,_Udaipur

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Posted by bruceontour 00:36 Archived in India Tagged udaipur jagdish_temple jagdish_mandir shree_jagdish_temple Comments (0)

36 ~ Udaipur means just 1 thing! James Bond & Octopussy

Find a place for dinner with customers


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What does Udaipur mean to me? One thing! James Bond and Octopussy, the 1983 film with Roger Moore as Bond. My memory is especially of Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island) with the scene when disguised as a crocodile, Bond swims up to the 'floating palace', populated only by attractive women, and the lair of Octopussy, whom he suspects to be involved with the smuggling of a Fabergé egg.

After eventually finding the 3 star The Lavitra hotel and check in, it was already 4.30pm / 16:30.

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The Lavitra

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I had wanted to see sunset and having just general directions managed to find my way down the narrow alleyways by the lake down to Ambrai Ghat overlooking Lake Picola. No time to pull out my notes and map and research where to eat tonight. All I know is to find a roof top restaurant.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Udaipur has many vantage points for photography but arguably the best one is Ambrai Ghat, especially at sunset. It's located directly opposite the City Palace and also fronts the Lake Palace hotel, so you have an unsurpassed view of both as their lights are turned on. To get to there, head to the Hanuman Ghat area and keep walking along the road that runs parallel to Lake Pichola as far as you can, past the Amet Haveli hotel and Ambrai restaurant. Do be aware that Ambrai Ghat is a popular local hangout for couples. (Of course, locals know the most romantic spot with the best views in the city!)

https://www.tripsavvy.com/udaipur-attractions-and-tourist-sites-1539755

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Rang Sagar (lake)

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He is selling chana jor garam, which is made of flattened chick peas which is smashed into a disc when wet, sundried or roasted (ideally) and spiced with masalas, sold as a very popular street food. Every child from India would have this as their go to snack if they love spicy food.

Chana jor garam is normally roasted with charcoal pot which just sits on the pile of chanas. As per your order, he will mix and toss it in a paper for you with onion, green chillies, lemon juice, chat masala, black salt and coriander leaves.

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace ~ also known as Jag Niwas island

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Come 5.30pm / 17:30 the sun was about to drop below the distant horizon … By 5.45pm / 15:45 it had all but disappeared.

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Then in the fading light a wander around orientating myself.

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My gut feeling was to say find a place for dinner with customers but in this case I didn’t. Saw Bridge Corner Restaurant and I climbed the stairs, saw nobody and said to myself, well the food would come quickly …. was tired, ordered and waited and waited … told 5 more minutes … but after another 15 minutes left having said a few choice words to the staff who some certainly did understand English. Lesson ... “Follow one’s gut feeling and eat at places with customers!”

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Around the corner at the edge of Rang Sagar (lake) was another restaurant Aapno Darbar with groups of young customers there so ordered my dinner = Amritsari Fish 240 rupees / NZ$4.90 / US$3.40.
Kingfisher lager 220 rupees / NZ$4.50 / US$3.10.

https://www.facebook.com/aapnodarbar/

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By the time I got back to The Lavitra, I was still hungry so enjoyed Gatte Ka Saag - garm flour dumplings cooked in traditional yoghurt based gravy 300 rupees / NZ$6.10 / US$4.20.
Jeera Rice 300 rupees / NZ$6.10 / US$4.20.
Garlic naan 80 rupees / NZ$1.60 / US$1.10.
Plus GST came to 714 rupees / NZ$14.90 / US$10.

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Perhaps I should have gone straight back to the hotel first for dinner? No! It had no atmosphere.

A long and at times frustrating day had finally come to an end.

Posted by bruceontour 02:33 Archived in India Tagged sunset udaipur lake_picola ambrai_ghat Comments (0)

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