Sightseeing today, had hired a private car for the day to take us around the sights.
Am glad I got up early, was able to witness the Rajasthani sunrise from our hotel room – what a contrast, the foreground having the busy train station, and beyond that the picturesque Udaipur mountains with the sunrise!
Waking up Neha was easy, but Pooja took some effort . Finally got them all down to breakfast, it was not a LARGE spread but had the essentials. My throat was not getting any worse but not sure if it was any better, Nita organised fried eggs for me – this I was able to swallow! She was adamant I eat something, and was glad I could finally have something other than soup.
Our car arrived around 10am, first was to head to a Vodafone store to sort out Neha’s phone, her SIM was having issues with DATA. That sorted, our first stop was getting a Cable car to Machhala Hill (which had a Temple on top) – apparently a good spot to get a 360 degree view of Udaipur from high up! Got to the bottom of the hill where the cable car commenced, our driver showed us where to get that tickets and where he would be waiting for us when we got back. Tickets bought, now into the cable car and up we went.
The view of Udaipur was wow from the Gondola on its way up! Could see why this was called the Lake City! Getting to the top, the place was not super busy being still early morning (was around 10:30am). Walked around the place a bit and took darshan in the temple – amazing how it was built so high up! The view from the top was brilliant, only regret was, we should have done this in the late afternoon, could have been amazing seeing the sunset from here.
Time to head back to the Gondolas to go down, next stop was the City Palace. Got back down, and located our car, off we went. Got to the City Palace, first get tickets for all – fight through the queues, back into the car – our driver was able to take us the closest he could to avoid the additional walking on the hilly terrain. The walk up to the City palace provided an amazing view of the Lake Palace!
Roaming about through the palace, got to the centre court – could remember our time here in 1998, then me and Nita had taken the portraits of us dressed in Rajasthani attire, now it was our kids turn! Time for Neha and Pooja to get into Rajasthani attire. The company doing the portraits did not allow any pics to be taken in individuals cameras/phones, was a shame as we would have loved to get more pics .
It was just after 1pm and was getting very hot – the stone paths did not help with the heat! Pooja and Neha were very tired at the end of the photo shoot. Headed for a break at the cafe in the centre court – time to recharge. We hung around there for a bit, waiting for the portraits to come back – it was a good 40 minutes wait! During that time, none of the girls wanted to do any more walking with the heat, they were happy to sit in the shade and relax – I took this time to walk around the place a bit and take more snaps…
Finally got the portraits, girls loved it!! Was then time to head back to our car, driver was taking us to a good lunch restaurant with lake views (fingers crossed).
Driving to the restaurant, I was a bit sceptical, but was pleasantly surprised with the location. The place was “Jhumar Lake View Restaurant” and did it have lake views!! – and from our table.
Food was very good, Girls ordered Paneer curries with naan, and Nita organised a special non-spicy Kitchdi for me, she was explicit on it being not dry and non spicy . It was made very well, today had been a breakthrough for me, I was finally able to eat something, first breakfast and now lunch – and as a bonus my throat & mouth were feeling better, could feel the improvements.
Back in the car, we did not want to not see any more sights – I guess the heat had worn us out, so we decided to head to the markets for some imitation rajasthani jewellery. Now this is where these drivers can be a PAIN!! I specifically told him I did not want to go to showrooms and museums, take me to the local markets, yet that is exactly where he was not taking us, instead going to the big showrooms and museums (they do get commissions for each visitor they bring there), me refusing to get out of the car got him a bit annoyed and then took us to a crappy market . From there it was downhill, post the markets we were to go to Udaipur’s highest lookout point – Sajjangarh Fort, to view the sunset, we still had a good 2.5 hours to kill, so asked him to take us to another market or a mall for a bit. Instead he was driving us to a biological park – once I realised we were heading in the wrong direction, I asked him to take us directly to the hotel, there I called the owner and asked him to get me another driver to take us to Sajjangarh fort. This guy was an absolute disaster.
It was also a good chance to relax in the hotel from the heat. Around 4.30pm the other car came by and we were on our way to Sajjangarh fort.
Drive time was just over 30 minutes, once off the main road, the road leading to the fort is quite narrow – would not want to be a driver here! Reaching the top, it was an amazing sight.
There isn’t much to see of the fort itself, but more to see of the sunset and the views. Lots of people here at this time of the afternoon, it was waiting to get a spot on the ledge and then keeping it! The sunset provided a great opportunity for us to try some silhouette pics.
We stayed there till dark, this is a highly recommended Udaipur sight/experience – and only to be done during sunrise or sunset.
Next we asked the driver to drop us off in the old Udaipur city near Lal Ghatt, we had noticed a couple of nice rooftop restaurants across the lake from where we had dinner last night. Had no idea what the names were, but were willing to hunt them down.
Got off in the old town, and walked towards the line of hotels/restaurants that were lake side. Along the way, the girls stopped by a imitation jewellery place – ended up picking a few pieces for all three.
Back on to the narrow streets and finally located the rooftop place we were looking for – it was called “Upre”. It had an amazing ambience, just wow!
The place was unfortunately fully booked out, had our hopes high, as the wait staff asked to us sit by the bar whilst he double checked all bookings – fingers crossed, however it was not to be, disappointed, we headed down and looked for another option. An auto was driving by and he enquired if we wanted a ride, declined that and not sure why, told him we were looking for somewhere nice to eat. He suggested Raas Leela and drove us there. This guy was driving a pimped up auto with neon lights and good sound system, must be the best auto we had sat in so far. Girls were liking it.
He dropped us off at Raas Leela and gave me his number to drive us back to the hotel.
Inside the restaurant, the place was right next to the lake – very nice location and open air. Lots of open fireplaces, it was cold and these were much needed! Got a table next to the lake and time to order some food – everyone was hungry.
Food was very nice, but it was the cold in the open air that was making it a bit uncomfortable for me. Everyone had brought their warm cardigans except for Pooja (aarghhh, she left it at the hotel), so she was wearing my jacket, my long sleeve shirt was ok for a bit but not long. Soon after finishing our meal, we called the auto driver and were on our way back.
Squeezing 4 in an auto, he asked me to sit with him, whilst the girls were at the back. The driver was a good sport, playing a lot of tunes that Neha & Pooja wanted.
It was the best auto ride to-date, was a fun & freezing experience! Gave the guy a good tip and it was time to hit the bed in the hotel.
Tomorrow we fly to Jaipur.