Rite of Passage in the city of romance

 After listening to beautiful sitar music by the pool while eating breakfast, we headed to the city palace – Manek Chowk, led by a typically good-looking Rajasthani guide called Ritesh who knew his stuff, which he delivered with his own humorous spin!
He had a small frame but very well groomed and even his moustache worked impeccably.

I am definitely not a moustache type of chic and there are many moustachioed men in India. I have nothing against them, my dad has a moustache, just not my thing!

I asked someone about this trend from time immemorial and I still haven’t got a straight answer.
Will let you know when I do find out, but has something to do with being a man, a sign of man-hoodness manliness!

We made the sweltering walk (still no rain!) through the palace that turned out to be quite enjoyable!

Really a magical palace decorated with coloured glass, peacock mosaics, hidden passages, uneven steps to throw off the enemy, narrow corridors and doors and a golden sun with a moustache!

Rooms for courting filled with mirrors and glass and it just seemed never ending…quite spectacular!

The City Palace overlooks Lake Pichola. Maharana Uday Singh began the construction of the palace but succeeding Maharanas added subsequent palaces and structures to the complex but still preserving consistency to the design. The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol, the Elephant gate. It took many generations to complete, so there are many stories behind each addition.

“The Bari Pol or the Big gate brings you to the Tripolia, the Triple gate. It was once a custom that the Maharana would weigh under this gate in gold and silver, which was distributed to the populace. It is also now the main ticket office. Balconies, cupolas and towers surmount the palace to give a wonderful view of the lake.

Suraj Gokhada or the balcony of the sun is where the Maharana would grant public audiences mainly to boost the morale of the people in difficult times. The Mor Chawk is the peacock square and gains its name from the vivid blue mosaic in glass of a peacock that decorates its walls.

Mural of Krishna with one of his many lovers

The last Maharana was wheel chair bound and so the palace has handicap access.

There was a mural of Krishna near the women’s quarters, which I observed were not as elaborate as the rest of the palace.

Anyway, I was trying to make a point I learnt from Ritesh about Krishna, who had 16,000 girfriends – most of them he had apparently rescued from dicey situations and had to marry because of moral obligations.

Old post office using pigeons just how Reuters started!

“Krishna is often described and portrayed as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana,[2]or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita.[3]

The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophicaland theological traditions.[4]They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero and the Supreme Being.[5]

The principal scriptures discussing Krishna’s story are the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana and the Vishnu Purana.” – Wikipedia

We all then jumped on a boat and went for lunch on Lake Pichola to one of the most grandiose 17th century palace’s – Jagmandir Island Palace  – also known as the legendary place of refuge to Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shah Jahan).
I had a delicious pasta. Al dente and very tasty! Funnily enough this is also where some friends of mine got married last year and it must have truly been a spectacular occasion.
Today was the shopping day and Anna and I went all out in Udaipur city, not planning to, but just ended up from one shop to another, always stopping for tea and chats and in the jeweller shop “Silver Moon” I had another initiation… I got my nose pierced!!
Jagmandir Island Palace

Yep I did it, always wanted to and I am happy to report that Udaipur will stay close to me…always…on my nose!

Anna and I were just sitting having tea with the shop assistance and I just mentioned that I would like to get it done and the dude in the shop said we can do it now! I had a moment of panic and then embraced the opportunity and it bloody hurt…for a few minutes!
Anna shot a very cool little video of my “initiation” which was less painful than my two bee stings in Nimaj! Emily randomly rocked up when I was about to get pierced and it was lovely to have moral support from my chicas 🙂

We then hung out in one shop called Shiva Handicrafts with the owner called Babu who makes lovely leather bound journals/albums/wallets that also supports cooperative.

He had apparently been waiting and praying to meet me all day as he saw me in the morning running after the group on our way to the palace.

Nice guy but not sure about his intentions and Anna was more perceptive about this than I was, truthfully speaking…

We carried on shopping, ended at one shop where I shared two beers with these two young dudes running their own shop and actually got quite tipsy.
Forgot about my short beautiful tailor at Suraj Handicrafts who sewed me two lovely shalwars. He looked like the hobbit, all furry everywhere and with the smallest hands and feet I have ever come across!We got back just in time to have a quick shower and take off for dinner to this lovely restaurant overlooking the lake palace.

My appetite was nil and had been like this for quite a number of days and this is a great thing!

Finally feel like I am back in my body again, lost a few pounds and feeling lighter and have control over my appetite rather than it controlling me.
Got back to the hotel and had a gentle and beautiful night … calm before the monsoon rains…moment of sweet solace before this dream trip ended in a couple of days and I would have to face a few realities in my life until I let India take hold of me again…
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