Our train to Udaipur (also, known as the White City) was 18 hours, but much easier than the one from Varanasi to Agra. We had heard such great things about Udaipur from other travelers and had been told it was a perfect place to relax while in India. We couldn’t wait to get there and chill out for a few days after such a busy first 10 days in India. We stayed in a guesthouse by the lake in a nice part of town with great restaurants and a lot of nice shops. Since it was low season in Udaipur (i.e. ridiculously hot out), it felt as if we were wandering through a ghost town as we wound our way through the small streets to our guesthouse. Although we had to deal with the heat, the fact that it was low season made bargaining a whole lot easier and we didn’t need to push our way through hoards of people like usual. The view from the top of our guesthouse was fabulous and they had an adorable little pug we played with each day.
We visited the palace in Udaipur, a nice but slightly disappointing place, especially after seeing so many other amazing sights in India already. We still had a good time walking around the buildings but I would recommend skipping it, especially if it is 110 degrees outside. We also spent time walking around the lake, eating really good food, and wandering the streets looking at the handicrafts. We discovered a great new dish called malai kofta, a sweet and spicy curry with fried potato dumplings (and also made a new puppy friend).
We saw a wonderful cultural show one evening (for $1.50) with Rajasthani puppets, dancing, music, and a woman who balanced eleven massive bowls on her head! It was really fun and we were two of maybe a dozen people in the audience. Apparently in the high season, at least 200 people attend nightly and it often sells out! John’s favorite part of the show occurred right at dusk, when he looked up in the open air amphitheater and saw hundreds of massive fruits bats flying overhead (although he admits the show was pretty good too)!
We did a little shopping on our last day in Udaipur and purchased some pretty paintings made with gold and silver leaf. The man who made them drew a tiny elephant on my fingernail, invited us into his studio for chai, and told us all about the art of making Rajasthani paintings. He had incredibly hairy ears, which made him even more of a character. His art studio came highly recommended, so we felt confident in purchasing work from him. All in all, Udaipur was a really nice, relaxing place to spend a few days. We had great experiences with locals and enjoyed our time thoroughly.