One perfect day in Udaipur

16 May

With my guidebook telling me that Udaipur was a fairytale of temples, havelis and lakes, I had big expectations for our four days in the city. This was Venice of the East, with two seemingly floating palaces of which one had even hosted Octopussy back in the days when Roger Moore visited the city. I was headed for the most romantic place in India.

Or so I thought. Our stay in Udaipur will for ever be tainted by being on Indian sick leave for three out of four days. Very little romance, let me tell you.

But we did have one perfect day here:

Good morning!

View from our hotel – also very nice when just staying inside.

Breakfast at Namaste

After an unwelcome encounter with Indian curries, nothing beats blissfully bland food. At Namaste, a bakery set in an old haveli (Gangeur Palace), they served up a breakfast of apple crumble to the Englishman and cinnamon buns to the Norwegian.
Oh, they also served lunch:

Early afternoon at the City Palace

The City Palace offered some good views of the lake, though after the splendour of the other Rajput ex-kings palaces it seemed fairly modest as we ducked through low, narrow passageways flanked by whitewashed rooms.


Afternoon tea at Fateh Lakash Palace

If you continue past the City Palace and down to the Fateh Lakash Palace, you get the best views in the city and most likely also the priciest menu. But even backpackers can afford a cup of coffee and a juice, which scores us an hour at a lovely cafe right on the lakeside.

Boat trip around the floating palaces

Catch the boat from inside the City Palace (yep, hold on to your tickets from earlier in the day and then pay a bit more) and cruise around the lake for an hour. The type of boat used is the same kind of tourist boat that saved James Bond when he escaped from Monsoon Palace (which you also see from the lake).
The boat stops for 20 minutes at one of the floating palaces (the film mixes the two – so you can say you've been at Octopussy's afterwards). Make sure to sit on the side facing the palaces; the boat goes anti-clockwise around the lake.

Sunset and James Bond at Lake View

Many of the restaurants in town show Octopussy at night-time, but not all have invested in a new video or even DVD since the film first came out. To make sure you get a great evening, walk up all the stairs to Lake View, a small bed & breakfast with some of the best views in town. Turn up an hour before showtime (19.30) and enjoy the view of temples and monkeys to your left and the floating palaces to the right.


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