I’m impulsive and slightly (ok, more than slightly) hedonistic, especially when it comes to travel, and my husband can sadly attest that if it weren't for him and the dog, I’d be a completely untethered ball in this world.
My latest last minute vacation was Udaipur and Jodhpur. I decided on Monday that I wanted to go and by Wednesday evening I was drowning in my own boob sweat, walking around the palace, totally unprepared for the heat. Let me back up. Pune has just gotten its monsoon, so I thought since Udaipur was north it would be cooler and possibly wetter. I packed some ¾ sleeve kurtas, leggings, and skinny jeans. What a mistake. Apparently I haven’t gotten a full understanding of monsoon patterns across the country yet.
Like most places I visit, and I’d imagine you’ll agree, it’s the experiences and the people I meet that end up being my favorite memories. So, I won’t give you a play by play, or my opinions on the Trip Advisor Top 10 list, but I’ll give you MY highlight reel.
If you are going to Udaipur and aren’t luxing it at one of the fancy palaces, my advice is this: pack for comfort, do not spend a lot on a hotel room (mine was Rs. 1000 a night and SO CUTE), take sandals without heels (hilly streets), don’t freak out about walking alone, and DO wander the streets as much as you can – you’ll get a much better appreciation of the area that way. Also, forget about the Rs. 450 cruise to Jagmandir, I thought it was a total tourist trap. It’s basically just a garden with an expensive restaurant. Spring for one of the little Rs. 250 boat rides near Lal Ghat Guest House instead. I think the last one leaves around 5pm.
2. Watching day turn to night at Lake Pichola Hotel’s rooftop restaurant. Please do this. It is an event in itself. Go around 6 for a pre-dinner cocktail and stretch your dinner until at least 8:30.
4. The drive to the monsoon palace, and the vista view from the top
5. Rajasthani dance show at Bagore ki Haveli
6. Making friends with the dogs in the street
7. Manish at the travel agency at Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel (+91 99 2830 6517). This guy hooked me up
with a guide and two drivers, Shankar and Ganesh. He is available on WhatsApp and very
8. Dipping my toes in the puddles from the fountains at Sahelion-ki-Bari Garden
My second leg of this trip was Jodhpur, the blue city. I never did get clarity on why the houses are blue, but I did hear a lot of interesting theories that ranged from “it cools the houses” to “Krishna liked blue”….who knows what the real deal is. It was a 5-hour drive from Udaipur with a stop halfway to the Ranakpur Jain Temples and a beautiful view of mountains, desert, and farm life. My best highlight from this part of my trip was my driver, Ganesh. Without him, I would have been totally lost. As I was traveling solo, he was always aware of my surroundings and kept an eye out for my comfort and safety. Please call him if you need a driver/guide in Udaipur or Jodhpur (+91 97 9982 8409). Can’t sing his praises enough. But aside from him, my favorite experiences were:
3. Taking pictures with a honeymooning couple at the palace. The girl’s smile was ear to ear, and she
wanted to touch my hair and my hands. I’ve never lived somewhere where strangers can have such
intimate experiences. It can be beautiful if you are open to it (and are a good judge of character…
this doesn’t apply as a universal rule).
4. Walking barefoot on the marble (and on the perfectly manicured lawns) at Jaswant Thada and
feeling the wind come through the windows.
5. Getting Butter Lassi, Rabdi, and Mawa Kachori at Shri Misrilal Hotel with Ganesh near the Clock Tower Market
I think that four days was good for this short trip, so if you are thinking of doing this as a part of a bigger vacation through India, it would be easy to club this with Jaisalmer or Jaipur. I would suggest, however, one extra day in Jodhpur to spend time at the fort. It has a lot to offer in terms of wandering and watching the city below.