The city of Udaipur, which lies in the western part of India, is one of the major tourist attractions of Rajasthan. The grandeur of Udaipur can only be known to man by experiencing the undeniable charm that the city exudes. My one-day trip to Udaipur was albeit unexpected, but nevertheless, it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had so far.
The two places that mesmerized me the most, apart from the natural, cultural and architectural beauty is the City Palace and the Sajjangarh Palace. Since, my tour was restricted to a limited period of time; I could not explore the city thoroughly. However, the charm that I felt in one day makes me want to visit the place again, and yet again.
The City Palace was the abode of Maharana Uday Singh II in the year 1559. The location itself is a symbolic depiction of what royalty meant in that particular era. The Maharana wanted a palace within the vicinity of the other historical monuments like the Jag Mandir, the Lake Palace and the Jagdish Temple. While walking towards the entrance of the palace one can enjoy numerous spectacular views of these structures as they glitter in the light of the afternoon sun. The Jag Mandir, located on a small island of the Lake Pichola, is a breathtaking sight as it poses in white, amidst the serene water of the lake.
The Palace is a huge construction, a part of which is being used as a museum. At the entrance, one can see the fusion of the past and the present, as the palace complex houses a restaurant which is mostly frequented by tourists from the west and the elites of the east. After marveling at the restaurant’s location for a brief moment, I continued to pave my way through the sidewalk. The perfectly manicured lawns served as an apt background for the picture-perfect palace that loomed over me.
Once I entered the palace, I felt the cool air on my face, and that is when I realized that comfort is an insignificant question in the world of luxury. The depiction of art in every wall, every door and window, even on the pillars, roofs and floors is bound to leave anybody speechless for quite some time. It is only then you realize the full potential of what the world calls “royalty”. It was with great pleasure and awe that I roamed about the narrow passages which leads to a number of rooms and halls where the relics of the past are well preserved for the benefit of the visitor, or rather the admirer, to be precise.
The armory and swords speak of the brevity that the men boasted of in those times and the intricate patterns on every object, important or otherwise, depicted the taste and sophistication which characterize them. There are walls which have been decorated with mirrors, ivory, wood and even paint. But no matter what the building materials were, the things which amazed me the most, was the display of creativity that adorned the entire place. The genius of the people who perfected the art and implemented such accuracy of patterns is quite unfathomable.
After I had finished my tour of the palace, I wanted to go to someplace where I could be a little sober as I was so intoxicated by the luxuries I witnessed inside that I felt like getting a grip on my commonplace life as quickly as I could, lest I be trapped in the illusion of such extravagance for eternity.
The next place I went to was the Sajjangarh Palace as I had heard that it’s an amazing viewpoint to witness the sunset. Honestly speaking, before this experience, I had never realized the importance or significance of this daily event. But once I entered the premises, I could no longer control my impatience. The drive to the palace, in the dusk, was made memorable by the greenery that surrounded us all the way to the palace. I rushed in and found my way to the rooftop where a number of people had gathered to bid farewell to the sun. I quickly perched myself on the wall so as to be able to get an uninterrupted view and I remained unmoved for the next twenty minutes.
The beauty of what I saw cannot be described in words, the best I can do is document my own feelings and reactions. The sun lay low on the horizon which is a vast area surrounded by hills. Before me, lay a wide expanse of yellow and green, and beyond that the sky was set aflame by the light of the dying sun. If I were to paint a picture of what the view looked like, my entire canvas would be colored in the shades of yellow, orange and red, with tiny flecks of green for the foliage surrounding the palace.
As the clock ticked by, the sun touched down upon the horizon and in the next few minutes we could see it in various shapes. It looked like a fruit which is so tempting that the landmasses devoured it until nothing was left of it. As the last glimpse of the majestic sun faded away, people began to get on their feet. I sat there, along with a few other people, unable to move under the spell cast by the departed sun. This is the moment when I realized how the world would be like if the sun never rose again! As I was lost in contemplation, the urgency of the crowd awakened me to the realization that it was time for me to leave.
The exit from the palace and the entire drive back to the hotel was shrouded with a silence and calm which is quite unfamiliar to me. I could not help but bask in the glory of what I just felt. This is one experience which I will cherish for a lifetime. And it is also the one which encourages me to visit Udaipur again.