Aside from shopping for new clothes, we saw some amazing things in Udaipur. Famous for being the city James Bond visits in the movie Octopussy, it is a beautiful place perched on the side of Lake Pichola. We stayed in an old haveli where our room had stained glass windows and there was a restaurant at the top that showed the movie Octopussy…every night. (This must be so delightful for the staff!) We only watched it once…definitely not the best Bond movie but awesome to see the place we were in on the screen. Our haveli was also only a few steps from the water where we could see the sun setting.
Our first stop in Udaipur was the beautiful City Palace. We were much more impressed with the City Palace than the City Palace in Jaipur – once we worked out the right way to go through it (we wandered through random corridors and courtyards before a guard finally turned us back to the rather obvious entrance we had sailed past). After we corrected our error we walked through room after beautiful room, admired the stunning stained glass windows and recreations of the past and spent an engrossing few hours here.
The next day we took a boat ride on Lake Pichola, stopping at the palace on Jagmandir Island. The boat trip gave us great views both of the City Palace and of the deluxe Lake Palace Hotel (you can see them both from the island too, pictured above). We were lucky enough to have a beautiful day to do this in and loved being out on the water. We also did a side trip to see the local temple, with impressive carvings (and someone who claimed to be going to New Zealand next week and would we like to see his shop…mmm, no thanks).
On our last day we headed to Bagore-Ki-Haveli, a haveli that has been restored as a museum. One of the highlights here was the awesome room of puppets – I wanted all of them! We also saw the largest turban in the world as well as a display of other turbans. That night we took our first overnight sleeper bus. It’s a brand new service between Udaipur and Jaisalmer as there is no direct train. We booked it online and hadn’t known quite what to expect – we turned out to have booked a compartment which was like a double bunk. We had a top bunk and quickly learned that a sleeper bus is nowhere near as comfortable as a sleeper train – the bus rocks a lot more and it isn’t particularly smooth – but like the overnight train it saves on a night of accommodation and means you don’t waste time in the day travelling.