There is nothing quite like coming upon a glittering lake set in one of the prettiest cities in India, after many hours and a day traveling through a desert. Udaipur is the glistening gem in the crown jewels of India. Steep alley ways wind down the hill towards Lake Pichola, lined with shops spilling their gorgeous textiles, antiques, embroideries, jewels and every objet trouve for the curious eye. Walls along the way are painted with scenes from the Ramayana or bright yellow Indian tigers. The whole town is enclosed in the craggy arms of the Arvali Mountains and atop the eastern shore sits the gleaming City Palace where the Maharaja of Udaipur and his family still reside. From behind the walls of his private gardens, mustachioed guards – and occasionally his personal band – will emerge for a brief drum roll.
But it’s the Taj Lake Palace we are enamoured by. Ben in particular, has always been obsessed with it ever since it was put on the map by that James Bond film Octopussy. How I wish too I could play on the cushioned swing inside the Maharani’s suite… We spend long hours on the rooftop of our hotel, admiring the mysterious and alluring Lake Palace from afar, watching small boats ferrying those few lucky guests who can afford to stay there.
Ben has surprised me with the Pink Room in the beautiful Kankara Hotel. Settled into our day bed window seat with scalloped carved arches we look our to the scene of beauty unfolding in front of us.
Days are filled with boat rides, visits to the Maharaja’s Vintage car collection, escapes to the bazaar and delicious dinners atop our favorite restaurant. As we watch the dip-dyed sky blink with stars and the buildings opposite us turn from a burnt rose to silhouettes like paper cutouts, we say goodbye to this beautiful place and head to the train station for the overnight express to Bombay.