The Lake Palace…..WOW!!
We were met at the private jetty by numerous welcoming smiles and ‘khammaghani’ (a Rajistan welcome), before boarding a private motor launch and being whisked to the centre of the lake where the stunningly white Lake Palace, previously the summer retreat of the Maharana, appears to float upon the clear waters of Lake Pichola.
We were met at the hotel jetty by an elderly doorman, bearing a traditional umbrella, before guiding us to the doors of the foyer. As we approached, a shower of rosé petals fluttered from above to welcome us!
The opulence of this palace is breathtaking. Beautiful gardens, ponds, views from any vantage point of the historic City Palace where the Maharana currently resides, marble staircases and extravagant rooms.
Our first full day commenced with a silver service breakfast, not the regular buffet that we had become accustomed to, however we were gobsmacked when the waitress enquired: “Would you like some tea Mr Ward?” Mr Ward!!!??? I asked our waitress, Rose, how she knew my name. Had my reputation spread as far as India? As part of her commitment to her job, Rose found out from the waiter who had served our dinner the night before, what our food preferences were and what our names were! The entire hotel experience exhibits this attention to detail.
The day trip through Udaipur was with our guide, Sheik, who took us on a city tour. First stop was the Jagdish Hindu Temple where we were fortunate to experience the music and dance of the locals along with Sheik’s detailed explanations of the Hindu divinities and histories. The majority of the day was at the magnificent City Palace, hundreds of rooms, wonderfully presented murals, delicate glass mosaics, rooms decorated in Chinese, Dutch and English tiles, balconies, pools, cupolas, towers and courtyards. We then took an hour long walking tour of the market streets of the city. The delicious aromas of spices wafted the streets, as the buzzing tuk tuks, motor cycles, barrows, bikes, cows and cars battled for their place in the narrow thoroughfares with the pedestrians and hawkers. It was wonderful. Having Sheik with us was a help as Noelene bought some sandals for herself and a local child without having to barter…….we will see how long these last.
Following a lake drive, we visited an artisans’ shop that paint beautiful pieces using traditional colors derived from local stone, and applied using squirrel hair brushes that contain just a couple of bristles! The detail is amazing and we couldn’t resist buying a piece that shows the Lake Palace Hotel as part off its scene.