It was Vijayadashami (when we toured Udaipur. We took a ropeway to see the Karani Mata temple atop the Machla hills. The birth and death day of this goddess is believed to be the 2nd of October. She is worshipped as an incarnation of Durga and as the official goddess of the royal family of Jodhpur and Bikaner. The main temple at Bikaner is filled with rats that are considered sacred but this temple thankfully has none.
Having heard a lot about the City palace of Udaipur, I was very eager to visit that. The palace, situated on the banks of the river Pichola, was an imposing site. Built entirely of granite and marble, with a mix of Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, Chinese and European architecture, the palace is magnificent with its paintings, corridors, pavilions and the view of the lake city of Udaipur from its balconies.
But then, there were certain peculiarities. Everywhere in Rajasthan, tourist guides abound. But here, they were conspicuously absent, at a place so rich in history. The entry fees are quite steep, even then, maybe because it was Dashami, we got caught in small rooms with a mammoth crowd and the experience that should have been memorable and enjoyable, fast turned into a nightmare!
We exited the palace that was built from 1559 for another 300 years and reached a good restaurant called 1559 AD, where we spent a couple of hours in air-conditioned comfort, having a hearty lunch.
We then set about to visit the Monsoon palace or Sajjangarh wild life sanctuary named after Maharaja Sajjan Singh who built it in 1884.Sajjan Singh was a ruler with a vision who improved infrastructure in Udaipur to such an extent that Udaipur became the second municipality of India after Bombay. But he could not complete the palace of his dreams. It was planned as a 9 storey astronomical centre to observe monsoon clouds, but the king died at 26 and the palace remains incomplete. The drive up the hill through the sanctuary to the palace atop is enjoyable though. We did not see any wild life except for langurs everywhere but they mind their own business if you mind yours!