On our second day in Udaipur, we ran up to the rooftop to take pictures as soon as the sun came up.
The electricity was off in the city for an hour or two (this happens every morning, and turned out to be the case in all the cities we visited) so we wandered around the deserted streets a little before going to eat breakfast at Cafe Namaste, a rooftop restaurant on a nearby street. We climbed four flights or so of narrow stone steps in an old haveli to get to the restaurant, but it was worth it to enjoy the excellent coffee and European-style pastries (especially the cinnamon bun, which was a nice contrast to all the Indian food we’d had). It was deserted when we walked in, but a few other western tourists showed up while we were dining.
We spent the morning at the City Palace with a guide. The palace was built by the maharaja in 1559 and it’s the largest of it’s type in the state of Rajasthan. It’s very beautiful and large, and it’s built on a hilltop with a view of the city. We hired an official guide at the city gate, and he turned out to be very good – we definitely recommend using a guide because the palace is so big.
When we finished at the City Palace, we wandered around the streets of the Old City for a little while.
Then we stopped for lunch at a small, inexpensive (but pretty good) vegetarian restaurant that had a great view of the nearby Jagdish Temple.
After lunch we walked around Jagdish Temple. There were not many other people around because it wasn’t one of the main prayer times. We were required to take our shoes off, but the stone was quite hot so we made a quick loop around the temple, taking pictures from all sides.
After the temple we walked down the street to the edge of the lake so we could get a boat tour around Lake Pichola. We ended up in a small crowded boat with group of Asian tourists, all of us jockeying for the best position to take pictures of the sights as they passed by.
When we finished the boat tour we walked a block back to our hotel, and arranged for our driver to take us to Monsoon Palace to see the sunset. Monsoon Palace is an abandoned palace on a hillside high above the city, and it has magnificent views. The sunset wasn’t as spectacular as we had hoped but the view was definitely worth it.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the nearby Fateh Sagar Lake to take more pictures. It was nearly dark, and several other people, cows and street vendors were on the side of the busy road where we stopped, just hanging out.
When we got back, we went to Jagat Niwas Haveli again for a nice dinner. Afterwards we stopped into the haveli/store that was right next door to ours to admire some miniature paintings. We talked for a while with the owner, who was also the artist. There are dozens of stores that sell miniature paintings in Udaipur. However, he told us that his work is hanging in the City Palace (and showed us the news article to prove it). We liked his work, so we decided to buy a few pieces, which he insisted on signing. It took a while to negotiate the prices, which is typical in India – everything is negotiable (including hotels, as we found out after the fact!). We’re not sure we got a great deal but it was an interesting experience.
While Rob was settling up with the owner, Shana chatted with his wife Sushma, who holds weekly cooking classes. She gave a quick tour of the class kitchen and showed off her collections of spices and tea, and Shana bought a little Kashmiri saffron and black Assam tea from her.
We were exhausted (as always at the end of these long days) and so we went to bed to get a good night’s sleep before leaving Udaipur in the morning. We had previously arranged for a driver/car for the next few days to take us to Jodhpur for a day, and then to Jaisalmer, and finally back to Jodhpur. So, when we woke up in the morning, we made one last trip to Cafe Namaste for some excellent coffee and breakfast, and then we said goodbye to Udaipur as we started out on our five hour drive to Jodhpur.