My hubby’s handsome cousin from Montreal decided to have his wedding in Udaipur and the family went whacky trying to book the best possible ticket deals.
It helped that everyone had advance notice and come September 2015, the bride and grooms family and friends descended on the quaint town of Udaipur from all parts of the world.
It was the perfect setting for a romantic wedding and the next four days went by in a kaleidoscope of colors, festivities, love, laughter and a whole lot of fun.
Udaipur lies in the western Indian state of Rajasthan amongst a conglomeration of beautiful lakes and magnificent palaces.
The Aravalli hills stand guard to the city, in silent witness to the glorious bygone era of maharajas.
The city dates back to 1553, when it was founded by Maharana Uday Singh II of the kingdom of Mewar.
Many a Bollywood movie has been shot among’st its beautiful hills, serene lakes and carefully preserved old forts.
How to get there
The Maharana Pratap Airport is rather small but neat. The smoothest international connections are through Delhi and Mumbai.
From the airport, it takes about 25 minutes to get to the city where most hotels are located. If you have pre-booked a hotel, you should be able to get the hotel transport to pick you up from the airport. This is probably the most hassle free way to travel on your first day. Be warned though. There’s quite a bit of reckless driving on the roads.
Places to see
The City Palace Complex is a major tourist attraction and comprises of 11 palaces that have been built predominantly in the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. Intricate inlay work in marble, granite and glass adorns the interiors of all these palaces.
There are numerous lakes around the city, the more famous ones being Fateh Sagar Lake and Lake Pichola. Gardens, forts and temples are also favorite hot spots with the tourists.
The tourist inflow is huge and the city has many 5 star hotels, a couple of them marked as heritage sites. Spectacular views are found everywhere.
We managed to hop, skip and jump to a few spots – too much beauty around to overlook.
Miniature paintings, leather items, silver, kundan and meenakari jewellery, colorful puppets are all products that are synonymous with the cities of Rajasthan.
The fabrics are simply beautiful and interwoven into bed linen, bags, shoes and clothes, including turbans, silk scarves and jackets. Embroidery in colorful threads and mirror work is used to enhance the fabrics.
I bought a beautiful bandhini print fabric, some colorful jhootis (slippers), some silver jewellery and three patchwork bedspreads in silk. It’s quite safe to buy items like jhootis etc from the street shops but for handicrafts or fabrics its best to visit the government emporiums where prices are fixed but authenticity is assured.
I got to taste some amazing Rajasthani food – Pyaas Kachoris, jelebis, dal-baati churma, malpuas, ghevar, lassi and halwa are some of the dishes I can remember. Most of the curries have a yoghurt or buttermilk base, dhal or lentils is used in a lot of main dishes and the sweets are all prepared with ghee or clarified butter.
If you want to sample food from the street stalls, head for a place that is crowded, a sure indication that the cook there knows his stuff. The culinary array in Udaipur is simply irresistible as it has a lot of flavor, color, aroma and taste. It’s a good thing we dance a lot at Indian weddings.
Udaipur is back on my travel list and this time I intend to do some serious sightseeing; perhaps include some nearby places like Mount Abu, Ranakpur and Chittorgarh.
Meanwhile, kudos to the lovely couple for choosing to get married in such an exquisite location and for introducing us to the beautiful city of Udaipur – Truly it was an incredible wedding in an unforgettable city.
Photo courtesy: Deepak Pereira