Nature uses as little as possible of anything. -Johannes Kepler, astronomer (1571-1630)
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Do plan to visit once, the former kindgom of Mewar, currently southern Rajasthan, bounded in the north by the never conquered fort of Kumbhalgarh and in the south by Udaipur, the lake city. Welcome to royalty. The place is full of all things opulent, like this majestic lamp on an equally majestic corner table. Udaipur
Udaipur The city palace complex welcomes you with a quintessential Mewar style ceramic painted Ganesh. The various colors are all natural and indeginous except the famed blue hue from Europe.
You are looking at the folded lotus, symbolising the sun, made of yellow Belgian crystal, atop one of the palaces. This is about 300 years old. There is an entire gallery of hundreds of types of crystal artefacts (that you are not allowed to photograph) ranging from small dessert spoons to - hold your breath - a four poster kingsize bed ! With a myriad of articles like thrones and lamps and incense bottles in between.
See this carved frame. By the time you are done with Mewar, this will be carved into your memory. The place is full of these ! Marble, wood, sandstone, glass, ceramic, ivory, and maybe a few more materials, you can find this motif in all. Udaipur
Udaipur Paitings ! Udaipur is an art lovers paradise. From the famed miniature paitings to life size ones, mostly portraits of the rulers, as if waiting to say hi to you any moment. This one is on the glass pane of a wooden door of a palace.
Another captivating motif symbolising the sun, on the ceiling of the Sun Temple within the palace. The golden colour you see is actually gold dust. Udaipur
Udaipur One of the many arty lamps in the Durbar Hall, or the Deewaan-e-Khas, where the king held court. Made of metal and multi-coloured crystal, representing the royal bird of Mewar, the Peacock.
You can look out to the Lake Pichola from the Durbar Hall as you have tea and snacks here amidst the finest of the royal ambience, and see the winter palace on an island in the lake.
You can however only imagine the taste of the fish that was served in the dish whose cover this breathtaking china lid is. If you are a vegetarian there are many more such pieces like fruit bowls and coffee pots to fire your imagination.
Udaipur The Durbar Hall has enormous crystal chandeliers weighing a ton each, hanging from the high ceiling. Sun symbolism abounds. Here is a lamp that carries the metal and glass portrait of one of the erstwhile rulers.
This is the portrait of Sajjan Singh, who ruled for a short but visionary period and who has had a huge impact on all things Mewar. It was he that ordered the belgian crystal things. He fills you with awe as you look at his bejeweled portrait but the vibes he gives you are only serene. If you say hello, he might just respond. Udaipur
Udaipur The boat ride around Lake Pichola is as effortless as the gentle breeze and the mildly lapping waves. All the five lakes in Udaipur are connected and if the clouds over pour, they simply spill into the river. Thus the high water mark is never breached.
Choose one of the heritage hotels with a lake front rooms at the water level. The Amet Haveli is one such. There is also a lake side restaurant called the Ambrai at the water level that has live Sarangi playing through dinner. This combination is guaranteed to give you one of the best romantic get aways on this planet.
The Jagmandir island welcomes you with its lineup of marble elephants. You can have your favourite lakeside drink while marvelling at the architechture of the two small palaces on it. Udaipur
Udaipur The palace complex at dinner time...
... and as the sun rises. Udaipur
Udaipur A short drive away is the Kumbhalgadh fort. Its magnificient boundary wall is all of 36 kilometers in circumference, only not built equally thick all through, else it would have competed with the great wall of china.
The only fort in indian history to have never fallen to the Mughals, except for an exceptional 3 days, to the great Akbar, on having its drinking water sources poisoned.
Ranakpur, nearby, is where you see some of the famed Jain carvings. This is a huge temple complex, all marble. You are not allowed to photograph the deity. You are only allowed to enter if your body is fully covered with clothing. Despair not, help is at hand with shawls and pants on rent with the temple staff. Udaipur
Udaipur Just beside, is the only Sun temple in the area, built by the founder of Udaipur, king Udai Singh. Notice the Sun God astride a seven horse chariot, carved on the outer walls of the temple. This temple could be maintained better, but is no less beautiful.
An unusual sunset on the Lake Pichola with the sun setting behind us in the west, and reflecting back at us via the waves. Be reminded that this is sun country, irrespective of your perspective of it from your perch of convenience. Udaipur
Udaipur The Rana Kumbha palace on Chittorgarh fort. You can see the representative style of marble brick walls and arched lookouts.
The Meera temple inside the fort has carved embellishments that compete well with the rest in the region. Udaipur
Udaipur The 'vijay stambh' or the tower of victory, built by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his resounding victory over the Sultans of Malwa and Gujrat. It is all of 9 stories high, and you can climb up, awestruck by the carvings on the way, through the narrow stair cases within, up to the 8th one where the stairs end. Only an acrobat can go higher, or a spider, of course.
A fine piece of 'zharokaa' on the tower, a set of them through which you can have a panoramic view of the structure of the fort. Udaipur
Udaipur This is the place from which Alauddin Khilji had a second indirection reflected glimpse of the Queen Padmini. A piece history that wells up a range of human emotions from within your Indian core.
The layers of sedimentation and the sun symbolism at the Kirti Stambh, another tower of glory, a Jain structure on the fort. Udaipur
Udaipur Carvings at the 'Suraj Pol' on the eastern gate of the fort.
This looks out on the vast eastern plains that conveniently hosted many a battle. Udaipur
Udaipur has a lot to offer, even more than the travel guidebooks advise, for example the museum of Ahar civilization which is as old as the famed Mohenjodaro and Harappa ones. Quaint stone carvings by the roadside and equally quaint silver jewellery shops will greet you with the usual hustle bustle of a tourist place. You can buy natural fabric like cotton and silk in a riot of colours, at reasonable costs.

When you venture around to nearby fort, make it a point go stop at one of the humble dhabas in towns on your way and make a sumptious meal of the Dal-Bati-Churma. Remember to tell the chef, in no uncertain terms, about how much spice you can tolerate.

Do visit and observe yourself getting at least a bit more royal. Bring back the sun motifs imprinted on your heart and find that you have re-discovered for yourself, that universal source of energy and good cheer.
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