Same Destination; Different Experience

walk along

Allan and I had just met four hours ago and he irritated me.

Not because he wasn’t pleasant.  He was male.

I first noticed it when we walked back to his hotel.  The old section of Udaipur has a main street that bursts with humans, rickshaws, cars and motorbikes constructed of various nuts, bolts or chromosomes.  The street heaves, contracting endlessly to fit all these objects.

Offshoots from the main street become snaking one-way streets.  It was down one of these streets when Allan was assaulted.  With kindness.

A male shop worker slapped him affectionately on the back.  Smiling broadly as he recounted how Allan bought them tea at a restaurant the other day.

Another hugged him almost tenderly, telling me that Allan spent an hour in his shop talking like old friends.

A few would idle in front of their stores, yelling a “hello” to him. The type of greeting bursting with camaraderie.

You would think the Maharaja himself was resurrected and here he was in the flesh.

What annoyed me was not Allan’s popularity, but his experiences.

How effortlessly he forged buddy connections in a short amount of time.

Most of my experiences were great, yet could not be rated as warm and fuzzy.  Always the curious questions; sometimes a joke or two.  When I was in a restaurant, usually one male acted as the spokesperson, while the rest hungrily gawked.

I mused about my latest one.  A self-proclaimed neighbor who lived next to my guesthouse offered to drive me back one night.  I had just arrived and was absolutely lost on how to get back, though had a vague idea.  Vague ideas were not going

Horse Whispering in Rajasthan

A Little Historical Reference

The history of the horse in Rajasthan spans hundreds of years.  At one time in the land of kings, horses were used for pleasure trips and thunderous warfare.

Rajasthan society was infused with a social caste system.  This included horses.  The Marwari breed reached the highest esteem, thus only Rajputs were privileged to ride these stunning creatures in battle.

As I poked around places like Jaipur or Udaipur, Chetak by far is the most famous horse. He belonged to Pratap Singh, Hindu ruler of Mewar.  Singh is a revered hero of Rajasthan, prominently featured in the Battle of Haldighati in 1576, the power struggle between the Mughal-Mewar kingdoms.

Several Rajput generals had joined under Mughal Emporer Akbar, but Pratap refused, selfishly protecting his pride and honor.  You can imagine the fall-out.  During the Battle of Haldighati, as Pratap perched on the regal Chetak, he attacked Man Singh on his elephant, a prince and special envoy to Mughal Emperor Akbar.  In the heat of swords clashing and guttural cries of the battle knell, Chetak suffered severe injuries and died valiantly in battle.  His master cried like a baby and entered a page of history.

Pratap Singh and Chetak monument - Udaipur

That’s as much as I know.  When I noticed posters for horse safaris at my guesthouse, it was tantalizing, too hard to resist.

Did I mention I’ve never ridden a horse before?  Ever. I’m the anti-anti Alberta girl.  While farming debutantes were thrust into the limelight of cowtown, I buried myself in my room, writing morose poetry.

The Tour

I was picked up at my hotel and

By |May 10th, 2011 |Categories: Adventure, Udaipur |14 Comments

I’m in Love… With My Guesthouse

I didn’t know what to expect when the rickshaw dropped me off in the old town of Udaipur.  Reviews said Mewargarh Palace is decent and boast fair and accommodating owners.  See, after so many couches, Murphy Beds, and unwashed sheets I’ve become cynical.

As though nothing could possibly please me now.  I stood outside the dull brown latched door, pressed the doorbell, and walked in bracing myself.

I dropped my backpacks and lightening struck. Love. At first sight. Does that even happen anymore?  My insides told me –  yes! Amore.

The charming courtyard:

Intricate window design:

My enchanting little room.  He only charged me 400 RS for a 500 RS room!

Biggest bathroom I’ve had in India:

Cannot get over the adorable sunflower pillow:

Window and pale blue wooden shutters overlooking the courtyard:

Rooftop restaurant:

View from roof:

Chill out area:

My breakfast.  Apple pancakes with fruit and sweet chai masala

By |April 27th, 2011 |Categories: Travel Tips, Udaipur |36 Comments