After our quick visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, we headed back to the Indian state of Rajasthan to see what else it had to offer apart from Jaipur.
Udaipur, also known as the Venice of the East, is home to some of the most beautiful lakes of the region. A relatively relaxing northern Indian town, Udaipur is filled with shops selling tourist goods and cafes playing the James Bond film Octopussy (which was partially filmed here).
The rooftop of our aptly named hotel, Hotel Panorama, afforded us excellent views of the city. Click here for a large panorama view.
The main tourist attraction in Udaipur is City Palace, a sprawling complex of courtyards, terraces, murals and gardens. While beautiful and vast, we thought it paled in comparison to the Mysore Palace far to the south.
Pushkar, a small town surrounded by mountains and famed for its central lake, is considered by Hindus to be one of the most holy cities in India. The legend is that the lake in Pushkar was created from a lotus flower which was dropped by the Hindu creator god Brahma.
Being a holy city, Pushkar is devoid of alcohol and animal products. Strangely however, most restaurants feature “special” lassis and chocolate balls that contain sizeable quantities of marijuana.
One of our primary reasons to visit Rajasthan was to go on a camel safari. We chose what we thought was a reputable company for our evening trek into the desert. But when we were picked up at our hotel by a single motorcycle to take us to the camel facility and told to all get on (with no helmets), better sense told us they might not have our best interests in mind. Since there was no way three of our American bodies could fit on a two-seater motorcycle (in addition to the driver), we requested they take us in two separate trips.
Camels are amazing creatures. Awkward, cantankerous, and often disobedient, they still have a certain regal character. At over 8 feet tall, riding them is definitely different from riding a horse.
Our camel safari was exciting, although perhaps more so for our friend Caroline, who received quite a bit of unwanted attention from one of the Indian guides.
She was a good sport about it, but I don’t think they exchanged numbers.