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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arriving in India, Enroute Udaipur, The City of Lakes

Day 1  Flying into Udaipur

I was a bit anxious taking a domestic flight around India for a few reasons.  I was afraid that the domestic airport is disorganized like the ones in Vietnam and that the plane ride may smell.  Fortunately, our experience proved our fears to be false.

Security at the airport was tight, they checked every person's plane ticket and passport before one can enter the terminal.  We were then met by a representative from Creative Travel.  There was a long queue at the check-in counter but a guide breezed through the check-in counter for us.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a clean, organized, enormous airport at par with airports from other parts of the world.

We were handed over with bag tags for our hand carried luggage.  We didn't know then that those bag tags were very important.  Each hand carried baggage will go through security check, afterwhich, the bag tags shall be stamped with today's date;  that stamped bag tag is inspected again prior to boarding.
Jet Airways propeller jet from New Delhi to Udaipur

inside Jet Airways
We took jet airways between New Delhi to Udaipur.  Jet Airways is privately owned and said to be better than the government owned Air India.  Our plane was a small propeller jet.  It was generally clean, the passengers were mostly tourists, every tourist is curious to know if it smells... no it did not, okay let's be frank about it, maybe just a few that you can count with one hand.

We arrived in Udaipur by mid afternoon, used the airport restroom and it wasn't so bad.  We were met by our guide, took a private travellers van to our hotel for more than 30 minutes to get to, Ramada Udaipur.

Ramada Udaipur was tucked away in a hill.  The hotel grounds was big, the pool was inviting too bad we didn't bring any swimwear. Morning yoga is complimentary while there's a cultural dance at night.  Bottled water was provided in the room.  Dinner buffet was good, I had the best tasting nan bread with garlic and cheese, it tasted like pizza.  Dinner buffet is normally served with two meat dishes (fish, chicken or mutton), soup, an array of vegetarian dishes and desserts.
Ramada Udaipur grounds
Udaipur is one of the most progressive cities in India due to the rich mining industry.  People are believed to be more educated here, more conscious about cleanliness.  Noticeable, the streets are without trash, a complete opposite to the garbage around New Delhi.  Just the same, animals such as cow, sheep, wild boar, elephants, freely roam the streets.

Day 2:  City Palace Museum
the house of the present Majarana

Trivia:  When the fountains are switched on, it means the Majarana (the king) of Udaipur is in his home.  His lineage is the only royalty accorded the title of Majarana (others are called Majaraja)  as the only king who successfully fought for independence.  The different royals all across India now no longer holds power, however they remain rich, earning from tourism, operating several hotels and tourist sites and a few holding public office.

facade of the City Palace Museum

the royal gardens and city view from inside the City Palace
the elegant marbles, glass ornate inside the City Palace Museum
Next was a stop at a Hindu temple called Jagdish Temple built in 1651AD.  Completely unaware that one has to go barefoot to be allowed entry, I had to tiptoe across the grounds, I didn't wear socks that day.  It wasn't spick and span to just walk around it carefree, it was totally icky especially inside where dirty rags are rolled on the floor.  If you plan to come by, make sure you bring socks.
Jagdish Temple
carved with symbols of karma
from the highest form (human being) to the lowest form (devil)
While browsing through the choices of hotels, we came across Oberoi Udaivillas, as one of the premium resorts in India.  A night costs at least 45,000 rupees.  A price too much to fancy with so we decided to have a meal here to get a peak inside.  A 4 course meal costs around $75.  Unlike the hotels of Dubai, the staff of Oberoi was kind enough to tour us around the resort grounds and show us a room.
sumptuous meal at Oberoi Udaivillas
Oberoi Udaivillas overlooking the Pichola Lake
Capped the day with a private boat ride of Pichola Lake.  The lake was clean and had no smell.  There was palaces tucked in small island in and around the lake.
view of the City Palace while cruising Pichola Lake

Up next:  the Golden Triangle of India

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