India – Udaipur

309060_10150776413065462_6140893_nUdaipur


Udaipur, the city of lakes in Western India’s state of Rajasthan, is where we have travelled to from Mumbai. We have spent the last 5 days exploring what the city has to offer two intrepid backpackers.  We …
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decided to stay in Hotel ‘Swaroop Vila’, which has pretty good reviews and offers a nice clean pool, bedrooms and facilities.  It’s definitely a step up from our hostel in Mumbai, and although it is a little out of our budget, at £28 per night including breakfast, we decided to pay the extra as it really is a slice of heaven, boasting marble interior decor in our bedroom with beautiful detail cut into the archways surrounding the windows and doorways.  
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Travel Tip: If on a budget, always attempt to contact accommodation choices directly, as opposed to booking through a search engine. This allows you the opportunity to barter the price down for your room.  We did in this case and they kindly agreed to our lower price request.  
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During the day, we relaxed around the hotel’s stunning swimming pool in the late mornings, making the most of the few hours of sunny weather, before the monsoon rain clouds gather for the regular afternoon downpour.  Venturing out in the afternoon on our first day, we were lucky enough to have crossed paths with Shamsu, a local rickshaw driver who has been available to take us around the narrow, cobbled streets, dodging the cows and stray dogs lying in the road.  This hospitable driver speaks excellent English amongst six other languages and has enjoyed teaching us some Hindi greetings.  He is extremely proud of Udaipur, and an expert on where to go. We have enjoyed allowing him to take us to restaurants he praises for lunch and dinner, and his recommendations have not let us down, serving delicious Rajasthani dishes.
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Most of the restaurants  in Udaipur are situated on rooftops, some being 6 stories high, so thank heavens Shamsu saved us the bother of traipsing up and down stairs trying to find a decent eatery!  Our favourite dining experience was a beautiful restaurant called ‘Natural View’. The rooftop overlooked Lake Pichola,  magically lit at night by its floating Hotel and Museum. On our last night we ate here for a second time and watched an aggressive thunder-storm, with lightening bolts illuminating the lake and surrounding mountains. It was utterly spectacular.
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Our driver Shamsu also took us to a sacred, 400 year old temple, along with showing us a breathtaking spot normally visited only by locals, where the sun could clearly be seen setting over the largest lake in Udaipur.  We sat for at least an hour, conversing with him about his culture and way of life, while watching a view like non we have ever seen before.  Udaipur has charmed us and we are so sad to be leaving its beauty and people.
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