Udaipur to Ranakpur

21st February 2014 (Day 13) Udaipur to Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India

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Flute music with breakfast at our hotel.

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Indian road construction is not as mechanised as in developed countries.

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Still in Udaipur.  They are making concrete.  Sand, gravel and water.

We immediately noticed a great difference in arriving in Rajasthan after travelling in Delhi and Agra and the surrounding countryside – effective rubbish collection and no piles of rubbish lying around.  There were fewer obviously poor people and hardly any beggars.    There were also more people on motor scooters and motor bikes and fewer people with hand carts.  As well as that, there were a significant number of women riding motor scooters or motor bikes and hardly any in Delhi or Agra.

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DSCF2650 Now leaving Udaipur and travelling north….

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The oxen are turning a water wheel for irrigation which is hidden behind them.  We stopped here for a while and I was given the honour of sitting in the chair and going round with the oxen.

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If you look at the signs you will see that this is a campus for the Pacific University.

Well, OK, another explanation is that this village is visible from the road and they have some advertising billboards on their walls.

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We are now in the hills of Kumbhalgarh National Park and these are Common Langurs.

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Lake Pichola

20th February 2014 (Day 12) Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

 

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We saw something of the interior of the City Palace, Udaipur two posts ago.  The City Palace adjoins Lake Pichola and this is a view as we were walking into the City Palace.  The structure seemingly floating on the water is the Lake Palace.  It was built from 1743 to 1768 by Maharana Jagat Singh II as a summer palace.  These days it is an ultra-luxury hotel.  Behind the Lake Palace atop the hill in the distance is the Monsoon Palace.  In the distance to the right is a modern hotel that mimics a traditional palace.

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Another view of the Lake Palace behind an outer wall of the City Palace, through a portal of the City Palace.

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From high in the City Palace, this is the Lake Palace again.

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There are not very many boats on the lake.  The one in front is similar to one we would board to go to Jag Mandir Island Palace, further off down the lake.

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And here is Jag Mandir from a distance, from the City Palace.

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We are now in one of those boats and first we cruise past the shoreline below the City Palace.

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These four elephants were guarding the island as we docked at Jag Mandir.

Construction of Jag Mandir was started by Maharana Karan Singh (1620-1628) and in 1623 Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shah Jahan) stayed here while in revolt against his father Jahangir.  The palace is named after Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628-1652) who completed construction.

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Looking down at the ceiling, on a table top mirror.

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A ceramic xylophone.  It worked well.

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Here is an overall view of the City Palace, as we returned from Jag Mandir.

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The light is fading.

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Boatmen in front of the Lake Palace.

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And the sun slowly sets ….

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Later that night three of us descended to the city for a meal at a local restaurant.

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The restaurant was beside a canal and this is a view across it.  I didn’t bring my tripod but made do with a fence post.

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City lights with movement.

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The three of us returned to the Hotel in a tuk-tuk.  It was probably a bit overloaded anyway with three  Westerners and it didn’t make it all the way up the hill.  We didn’t have far to walk at the end, though.

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Jagdish Temple

20th February 2014 (Day 12) Udaipur

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Not far from the City Palace, we dropped in at the Jagdish Temple, founded in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh and dedicated to Vishnu.

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The style of the architecture is apparently Indo-Aryan and the walls of the temple feature a variety of sculptures in fine condition.

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Outdoor shrine.

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On the road to our next destination….

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Our next stop was at this small fountain in an enclosed courtyard.  Unfortunately I don’t have any information to tell you what it is and where it is.

Behind the fountain was a sign over the doorways “Vigyan Kendra.  State Institute of Educational Research and Training”.  Vigyan Kendras provide practical instruction for farmers so I suspect this is an administrative office and not related to why we came here.

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Outside, there were further gardens and fountains.

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Later, we dropped in on a factory and shop where they painted traditional miniatures of great delicacy and refinement.  Here a Western woman is receiving instruction.

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Motor bike helmets.  He doesn’t seem too interested in customers, though.

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Drop in a different background and he could almost be in the fourteenth century – apart from his shoes, probably.

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City Palace – Udaipur

20th February 2014 (Day 12) Udaipur

 

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Here we are on our way in to the City Palace in Udaipur.  Above us, a worker is dusting the outside of the building.

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A couple of guards riding past as we walked through the main gate.

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The images in this post are of views inside the palace.  In the post after next I will show you some views of the Palace from the Lake.

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That looks quite precarious up there and only one of the two is wearing a safety harness, though he may be about to put one on.

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Udaipur was founded by Udai Singh II, Maharana of Mewar.  He was born in the fortress city of Chitor, then the Capital of Mewar.  In 1567, Akhbar attacked Chitor.  This was because Udai Singh had given refuge to Baz Bahadur, Sultan of nearby Malwa until defeated by Akhbar.  Also Udai Singh’s son, a hostage at the Mogul court, escaped and fled to Chitor.

Akhbar’s siege lasted for around a year until all seemed lost.  So in the Rajput tradition of jauhar, the women of the court and their children threw themselves onto a huge bonfire and their menfolk issued from the gate to die in battle.  Akhbar had won but he still slaughtered 20,000 surviving civilians.  Chitor was never reoccupied.

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Udai Singh selected Udaipur (subsequently named after him) as the new Capital of Mewar because it was easy to defend and situated in hilly country that was not well suited to heavily armoured Mogul horsemen.

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Udaipur was founded in 1553 and the City Palace in 1559.  It is a very large complex, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, with many buildings from different periods and a profusion of wonderful artifacts.

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The rulers of Mewar are known as Maharanas rather than Maharajas, meaning Great Warriors rather than Great Kings.

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This is the Surya Dev, the Sun God from whom the Sesodia clan of the Maharanas of Mewar were supposed to be descended.  This item is quite recent, from the reign of Maharana Bhupal Singh (1930-1955) and probably prior to Indian independence in 1947.  It is presumably the Maharana’s face in the middle.

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This is the weighing scale used for Maharana Bhupal Singh.  It is said that his weight in gold was distributed to the poor every year.  Not so good for the poor if an infant succeeded to the throne.

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This and the succeeding five images are at Mor Chowk, the Peacock Courtyard.

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The delicacy of the mosaics is quite wonderful.

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A collection of Palace kitchen implements from a bygone era.

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In 1736, Udaipur was devastated by the Marathas from North Central India.  It was reconstituted with the aid of the British in the nineteenth century.  As with the other princely States,  the Maharanas lost their remaining power and position with Indian independence in 1947.

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This just requires an elephant and a Maharana for completeness.

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Arriving in Udaipur

19th February 2014 (Day 11) Delhi to Udaipur

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After staying overnight in a hotel in Delhi, we head off to the airport on a bus.   A young woman on a balcony contemplates the urban morning….

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Vignettes of life flash by as we proceed.

Next we board a plane from Delhi to Udaipur in Rajasthan (refer map in the Itinerary).

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Now in Udaipur, we are heading to our hotel.

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A family on a motorbike as we pass by.

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A view from our hotel room of the Monsoon Palace, on a nearby hill in the middle of Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary.  It was formerly a royal palace and has recently become open to the public.  The wildlife sanctuary “is a reserve for reptiles, tigers, nilgai, sambhar, wild boars, hyenas, panthers, and jackals, and is also popular for bird watching”.  We did not subsequently visit there.

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Another view from our hotel.  This is actually a duo-toned monochrome rather than a colour image.

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We were staying in Hotel Fatehgarh on top of a different hill.  A derelict palace had been transferred here stone by stone and recreated to a modern hotel.

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And we had a wonderful view of the spectacular city of Udaipur on an evening with perfect weather.

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The last of the sunset.

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Early next morning it was overcast and the light was subdued.

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We climbed into the bus again and headed off into the city….

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The morning magazine.

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Commuters.

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