Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mumbai - final moments

My last few weeks in Mumbai have been spent enjoying what there is to do both locally and in one of my favourite places in India, Udaipur.  I have continued my walks, trying to do 5k every day, either in the evenings around Joggers' Park, or on weekend mornings down Bandstand, up Mount Mary, along Carter Road and over Pali Hill.  There is so much that I'm going to miss!

One walk that I did with Tracy was through the underpass of the motorway and along the seafront opposite Mahim.  There is a lot of funky artwork on the bridge as well as a Mumbai installation along the front.

As well as this there have been a flurry of people who have wanted to spend time with me.  One of these is Tara who has met me several times for evenings drinks and a couple of times for brunch (at Taj Lands End, the Leela and the Oberoi).  I've also been out for Diana's birthday brunch to the Marriott in Juhu.  Tara and I have also managed to "gatecrash" a couple of the hotel pools for a swim after our brunches.

It was also great to finally meet up with someone I've known online for almost 10 years - Edna - who came to Mumbai for a PYP workshop.  We went to the Novotel in Juhu for drinks by the Arabian Sea.

Gosh - I will miss this place!

Monday, April 30, 2018

A room with a view

So delighted I decided to stay at Jaiwana Haveli right on Lal Ghat.  I couldn't have asked for a better view!  Both breakfast and evening meals were taken here, and at sunset thousands of enormous bats circled around.

Gardens of Udaipur

On my final day in Udaipur I went on a visit to the Saheliyon ki Bari (Courtyard of the Maidens) which are beautiful gardens with natural fountains fed by the waters of the Fateh Sagar Lake.  These gardens were designed by the Maharana Sangram Singh for his wife and the 48 ladies who accompanied the princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.  The aim was that the ladies could relax here and spend time away from the political affairs of the court.

The backstreets of Udaipur

It was hot in Udaipur and one day all I managed to do was simply wander the backstreets and take photos!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday lunch at the Lake Palace

When thinking about Udaipur, the first thing most people think of is the Lake Palace (Jag Niwas).  This beautiful place, now a hotel owned by the Taj group, was built in the 1740s by Maharana Jagat Singh as his winter palace.  It was built to face east, so that people could pray to Surya, the sun god, at dawn.  Originally built as a winter palace, it later became used by the rulers as their summer resort.  The palace is made of black and white marble adorned with semi-precious stones.  There are beautiful gardens, fountains and terraces.

Now I'd heard that you could only visit the Lake Palace if you were staying there.  However not to be deterred, I asked if I could come for Sunday lunch.  After a little negotiation, this was agreed and a boat was sent out to fetch me from the Lake Palace jetty.

It really was a lovely experience - one of a lifetime - as former guests have included Queen Elizabeth, the Shah of Iran, the King of Nepal and Jacqueline Kennedy (and now me!).  And as one of the waiters said, "Enjoy your moment!"

Sunset at the Monsoon Palace

Although I've been to Udaipur before, one place I've never been to is the Monsoon Palace, high up on a hill overlooking the city.  The palace was built to watch the monsoon clouds.  It's now under the control of the Forest Department, and it's difficult to get to without your own car as taxis won't drive up there (basically you have to get a minibus from the gates).  The sanctuary is a reserve for reptiles, tigers, deer, wild boars, hyenas, panthers and jackals.

The palace provides a beautiful view of the Fateh Sagar Lake and of the sunset over the hills.  Although it's quite run-down now, it was used for the filming of the James Bond film Octopussy in 1983.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


For my last long-weekend in India I decided to go back to one of my favourite places.  I'd last been here in my first year in India and had always wanted to return.  I stayed in a little haveli in Lal Ghat and this was my view each morning and evening.

On my first day in Udaipur I went to the City Palace.  I took lots of photos of this place, and at the same time met up with a woman from Austria who is a professional photographer and she took some photos of me!

At the end of the tour around the City Palace there was a boat ride out to an island in the lake with another palace.  This was a super way to spend the day!