Travelogue - Udaipur-Ahmedabad
Carrying on from http://www.ifood.tv/blog/delhi_udaipur_ahmedabad_mumbai_day_1
We start our day with the 'complimentary' breakfast at the roof top restaurant of our hotel, Jaiwana Haveli. Toast, masala omlette and fruit platter.
The City Palace is a minute's walk from our hotel. We obviously can't not go there. Its the second largest palace in India (after the Mysore palace). Entry fee : Rs.50 per person, Rs.200 per camera. We hire a guide. They charge Rs.100. Its advisable to keep one. His trivia on the little facts about Mewar culture makes the trip very interesting.
The Sun has a huge importance in the Mewar culture. They would worship the sun every morning and then proceed to have breakfast. On cloudy days, when it was not visible, they would worship this gold plated Sun decorated on the front wall of the palace.
The Mewar emblem.
Rana Udai Singh, after whom the city is named.
Some very innovative arms used by the Rajputs almost 400-500 yrs. ago.
Perhaps the most famous horse in India - 'Chetak'. He was Maharana Pratap's favourite. Seen here is his entire war-gear which weighed over 35 kgs. His master too carried around the same weight of iron on him. Maharana Pratap is said to have had so much strength that with one vertical blow, his sword could slice a man and his horse into two!
'Chetak' was made to wear a face gear that resembled an elephant's trunk. The reason : The Maharanas usually fought the Mughals and the latter relied heavily on trained elephants in their army. Chetak's fake trunk would make the Mughal's elephants take him as a baby elephant and hence they would not attack him!
The courtyard where the new Maharana (ruler) was felicitated.
The ladies were not allowed to be a part of the felicitation. They would watch the proceedings from these glass windows (the coloured glass was imported from China and Belgium).
Lakhu Gokhra - After his felicitation, the new Maharana would sit here and distribute silver coins to the poor.
Some palace doors are made of ivory! This chair was used by the Mewar representative in meetings with the British.
A permanent 'chausar' and a chess board on the floor of one of the rooms.
Elephant fights provided great entertainment. This is a 'tug of war' where no blood was shed.
A charriot used by some of the latter Maharanas.
Maharanas' 'breakfast' room - all mirror n glass. More pictures at http://www.ifood.tv/blog/maharanas_royal_dining_room
Picture depicting a traditional indian kitchen. More photos at http://www.ifood.tv/blog/traditional_indian_kitchen
A weighing scale used exclusively by the Maharanas.
A comfortable commode, custom made for Rana Bhupal Singh who injured his leg while riding a horse.
The Maharanas played Holi here with their friends and then proceeded to bathe.
The Queen's Palace. An exclusive section for the ladies. Today, its rented out for parties at Rs. 8 lakh a night!
The ladies' 'beauty parlour' with seating in the centre and mirrors on all the walls.
This is a Jewellery Box! No, not for the queen, but to keep the ornaments worn by the elephants and the horses.
A 'portable!' cage used to trap tigers.
View of the Taj Lake Palace Hotel from the City Palace, Udaipur.
A section of the palace forms the 'HRH' group of hotels run by the royal family.
On our way out my wife indulges in some shopping at the stores inside the palace premises. A bracelet made out of 'Panch Dhatu' or 5 metals. (Rs.300). Sarees made from banana leaves and bamboo. (Rs.450). Two interesting facts : If you want the saree to have a starched feel, just dry it in the Sun. If you want it soft, dry it in the shade! Also, no matter after how many years and in whatever condition...you could take even torn pieces of the whole saree back to them and you will get half your money back since your saree can be recycled.
It was hot and the 3 hr long trip of the palace was a bit tiring. We decide to take a nap and leave the rest of the sightseeing for the evening.