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Discovering the Beauty and Energy of Udaipur

The beauty and energy of Udaipur left me at a loss for words. The morning I arrived, I could feel there was something different about the place. It was very subtle, but clearly a deep and calming energy. It was as if I could feel a culmination of all the life and royalty that had once lived or visited there.

I spent the first two days walking around the old city and exploring the three lakes from various points. All three lakes were far more dry than I expected and I was later told that there had been very little rain in the past five years and that the lakes were getting drier and drier each year.

For the first two days, I roamed for hours on foot, through small, unmarked streets that were not even on the map, passing tiny nooks that looked as if they had been transported directly from Venice itself. Incredible artwork of royal elephants, horses, kings, and princes graced the entrances to each house. The colors were usually faded, but you could always see how vibrant and striking the original paintings were.

Once in awhile, a group of pack mules would trot by, transporting loads of dirt from some other part of the city on their backs. Huge cows, six to seven feet high, would stand in the doorways of houses, sheltering themselves from the heat of the mid-day sun. The further north I go in India, the bigger the cows seem to get!

The hawkers did there thing and I did mine. The rickshaw drivers tried to overcharge and I always talked them down to something more reasonable, sometimes beating "the Indian price". I picked a destination a little bit outside the old city to give myself a feel for more than I could discover by walking. Taking a rickshaw through a city is a great way to get a quick feel for the place.

Once the shop owners recognized that I wasn't going to buy anything, they became genuinely friendly and very interested in me. On several occasions, I stopped and talked to them about where I was from, where I was going, about the weather, and even about American politics. One even invited me into his shop where I had lunch with him and his friends.

I watched the sun set at Sunset Point, with Udaipur Palace in the background. Clouds of huge bats emerged as the sun went down and by dusk, all the loud chirping birds that owned the sky over the lake were replaced by quiet bats, dodging each other and trying to steer themselves in the strong evening wind.

On my last day in Udaipur I met with Zaheer, the founder of Udaipur Times, a blog dedicated to the city of Udaipur. Zaheer found me through Twitter when I mentioned I would be visiting the city.

After having coffee and chatting for a while, Zaheer and his friend Shakti drove me to a place about 15km outside the city called Aapni Dhani, where we had a delicious traditional Rajasthani lunch. The kindness and generosity of my two new friends showed me another part of Udaipur that I would not have otherwise discovered.

Of all the places in India I've visited thus far, Udaipur is the one place I've really felt a connection with (Gokarna and Ujire are close behind). The state of Rajasthan, where Udaipur is situated, has a distinct feel to it -- the desert, royalty, and history seems to seep through every wall, road, and inch of dirt. It feels so much different than the other states I've visted.

As the train left Udaipur on its way to New Delhi, I stared out the window and watched the city slowly disappear into a vast barren landscape, littered with rocky hills and random clay and brick houses. It had only been three short days, but I felt certain a bond with Udaipur and it left me knowing that I would return.

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  1. Finally a place to rest, to connect, to restore and rejuvenate. You have had some challenges while in transit, Raam, but I am so happy you found some peace and enjoyment here in Udaipur. I want photos please. Photos of the landscape and of the beauty you described. Thanks for sharing your journey and best of luck at New Delhi!

    • Hi Farnoosh!

      Yes, it was wonderful having a place to rest for a while! It made the stress of the journey there even more worth it. šŸ™‚

      I will definitely upload pictures! I haven’t had a good Internet connection since I left Ujire several weeks ago, so I still need to upload pictures from Gokarna! I’m thinking of selecting only the very best pictures and uploading those, so I can at least get something uploaded. I usually just filter out only the worst pictures and upload everything else.

  2. It was a wonderful experience with you Raam, I will never forget the time we had, though too short but unforgettable.

    I wish to see you again, Udaipur is always for you. Have a nice journey ahead my friend.

    Thank you for writing!

    Zaheer

  3. Very, very, very, very cool. Your description of Udaipur fulfilled my want of photos; I could see the city in my mind’s eye as I read this post.

    It just makes me want to join you there, quite frankly! Like Farnoosh said, it’s great that you found a place you could connect with so well. Here’s hoping you find a few more, eh?

    • Thanks Brett! Since I couldn’t upload pictures, I tried my best to paint pictures with words. šŸ™‚ I’m glad that came across!

      I’m now in Delhi and it’s already been an incredibly relaxing experience here with attending the wedding and all. My very good friends (as close as family, actually) have given me a place to stay and they have been extremely generous.

  4. What an enjoyable post, I love reading about your adventures, youre a lovely writer šŸ™‚ Altho I would have loved to see pictures accompanying this post.

  5. One of my favorite places in India as well, as you know! Your descriptions are superb as I felt like I was wandering through those narrow lanes right along with you. Or standing right there at sunset point.

    And what a great experience with the founder of the Udaipur Times…those are the moments that seem to be far more rewarding that any visit to ‘must-see’ sights!

    • Thanks Earl! I’m glad the visuals came through. I totally agree about the human-connections being much more rewarding than any “must-see” sights.

      Udaipur is so hard to put into words (or capture with pictures of video). The vibe I felt there was unexplainable and I can’t thank you enough for suggesting it! šŸ™‚

Webmentions

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    […] was incredible. Upon arriving, I immediately felt a strange energy to the place — an energy that others confirmed they also felt. Perhaps those good vibes are […]

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  • Zaheer May 31, 2010

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  • The Muthafuckin Dame May 31, 2010

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  • Udaipur May 31, 2010

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