● For full details on our route, transport info, hotel details, etc, look at our Google Maps page

Friday, 27 March 2009


24-27th March

Leg 9 – Mount Abu to Udaipur
Distance – 175 kms
Time – 4 hours

Average Speed – 43.75km/h

Road – Mountain pass, 4 lane highway, tiny back roads, new 4 lane highway
under construction in parts with gaps of no road!

The road to Udaipur was also under construction. What was completed was superb to ride; amazing sweeping curves of smooth tarmac through slowly climbing hills. What hadn’t was predictably a nightmare. As soon as we’d got used to the new road it would end just as quickly, leaving us to flounder in potholed dirt and gravel. How we’d love to come back in a few years time when it’s all been finished!

Watermarked by whimsy and splendour, the Venice of the East holds stage as one of India’s truly seductive cities. Udaipur is an international destination unto itself, with splendid Lake Pichola lapping against shimmering white buildings and the Aravalli hills closing in to savour the view. The centre-piece of the city is the floating Lake Palace, brash enough for a Bond film (parts of Octopussy were filmed here), yet refined enough for his majesty’s pleasure. Packed with princeliness and passion, Udaipur is raw Rajput dreaming, with palaces, temples and havelis at every turn.

Upon a recommendation in Mount Abu we checked into the Mewar Inn, a small budget hotel on the outskirts of the city. Though extremely cheap at 200 Rps (and that was the Diamond Suite!) and d
espite being luxuriously decked out (new bed, pillows etc) was it not for our own transport we’d have been forced to travel everywhere by rickshaw. Not a top recommendation then, travellers by foot should aim to stay in the Gangaur Ghat area, north of the lake.

Whilst Ady spent the afternoon scouring the city for bike parts and garages
, Sam checked out tourist-ville. We both wanted to take a cooking class and the one we’d read about in Udaipur sounded good. Though expensive compared to its rivals the guy selling the class did a convincing job and so we were signed up for the following evening. We spent the next day at the City Palace overlooking the lake, but on a friend’s advice didn’t take the rip off boat tour (with the Kuoni crowd) across to the Lake Palace on Jagniwas Island where Octopussy was filmed. The view from the mainland is good enough and the lake itself is a shallow shadow of its former self, due to poor past monsoons. The palace has now been turned into a luxury hotel and was, at the time we visited Udaipur, home to Nicole Kidman, in India to shoot her latest film. We also found a supermarket (they’re so rare and we were so excited I’ve got to mention it!), visited the nearby City Tank, the Bagore-Ki-Haveli (an 18th century house, built by the Prime Minister) and a Vintage car collection, where Ady got turned on by the engines and Sam cooed over the aesthetics.

The cooking class was fun and we nibbled our way through 3 hours of cooking, before enjoying a final feast (complete with mango chutney…finally!) where we stuffed ourselves silly! We learnt to make a few different curries, some pakoras, a biryani and a chapatti. Unfortunately by midnight the same night, Sam was doubled over in the bathroom, enjoying those oh so familiar cramps of what we can (now that we’re in India) finally call Delhi Belly! We delayed leaving for Mumbai as a day at the hotel was called for – still, we’d been in India for a whole month now and were beginning to think we were untouchable!

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