Art, Culture, and Palaces | Udaipur
Let me preface this post by saying a massive thank you to Luke for providing the majority of photos for this blog post!! Some idiot left my camera on overnight so by the time I came to use it in the morning it'd died. That idiot was me.
Perhaps it was the break in the weather that made me enjoy Udaipur so much. For the first time since we arrived the temperature dropped below 30° and I could be outside for more than 5 minutes before my skin became covered in a thin veil of sweat. But enough of my GCSE English prose.
Udaipur has been, by far, my favourite city to date. Despite the fact that it was a lot more touristy, it was still a lot calmer and less dusty than our other stops. Udaipur is a major city in Rajasthan and was the former capital of the historic kingdom of Mewar. The city was founded in 1553 and now boasts a population of around 500,000 - practically a village by Indian standards.
Udaipur has a rich cultural heritage and is particularly famous for its miniature paintings (of which I might have fallen in love with a 150 year old drawing but couldn't justify buying). The city is also famous for its lake, Pichola, over which our hotel looked.
Anyway, our first stop in my beloved Udaipur was the Jagdish temple - a Hindu temple right in the centre of the city with incredible carved decorations. From there we headed to the City Palace which was so nice inside I think I might just move in.
The palace was built in 1559 and was still used by the King until India became a democracy. After this point he turned it into a museum and a hotel. The museum is split into two parts - the King's palace and the Queen's palace - and costs about 250 Rupees to enter. instead of boring you with everything our guide told us, I'll just share my three favourite facts:
- In battle, horses used to wear fake elephant trunks to trick the elephants. Elephants were trained to fight using their trunks to hold swords, however, they wouldn't attack other elephants. So by pretending to be baby elephants, the horses avoided attack.
- Inside the palace there is, what looks to be, a big marble bathtub. After a King's coronation the tub would be filled with silver coins to indicate his wealth. Another display of wealth would be the wild animals held in the courtyard. Even today there are cages of tigers and panthers and places for the elephants to be tied up.
- Finally, during the coronation the women were not allowed to watch proceedings from the courtyard. Instead they had to watch from behind screens upstairs - an example of which can be seen below - and let me assure you: the view is terrible.
We finished our stay with a little visit to a cultural dance show. I was entirely sure what to expect and sadly didn't manage to get any photos, but think girls twirling with fire on their heads, a lady with about ten pots on her head walking in glass, and a reinactment of a battle between gods. Only in India.