All of our touring for this trip will be in the state of Rajasthan. And I read in the guidebook that Rajasthan is the ‘Land of Princes'. So I told Sonu ‘we are two princes on an adventure!’.
The royals of this part of India are the Rajput maharajas, whose kingdoms began in the sixth century and survived both the Mughal Empire and British rule. Their biggest legacy today is the opulent palaces and expansive forts they build throughout the state.
We started out with the biggest and the best. In Udaipur, the City Palace is the largest of all palaces in Rajasthan, and the second largest in India. The Mughal or Persian influence is evident in the architecture and design, and the building materials are granite and marble. And intricate latticework, mirrored mosaics and distinctive scalloped door and window elements are seen throughout.
Udaipur is surrounded by majestic mountains and It’s known as the ‘City of Lakes’. The city is also called ‘The Venice of India’, and the white-walled summer residence, the Lake Palace, is an island to itself, seeming to float on the water. Udaipur has been called the most romantic city in India, and the wedding capital of the north. We were told that this is the ‘wedding season', and we saw over-the-top evidence of this. One wedding taking place while we were there filled hotel rooms and took over major tourist sites, and had 1,000 guests.
The nearby mountaintop fort at Kumbhalgarh has the second longest wall in the world. At 22-miles-long, it’s second only to The Great Wall of China. We decided to forgo a guide and ‘scramble’ the walls and fort on our own. We found a perfect spot for a sunset photo, and stayed for an evening ‘illumination’ show. We were two princes surveying our realm . . .