Between the castles, the lake, the bridges and the mountains, Udaipur is one of the most romantic cities I’ve ever seen. We spent a significant amount of time in rooftop restaurants eating and reading and with views like this can you blame us?
Once in Udaipur our first order of business was to get henna painted on our hands. We’ve wanted to do this since we arrived in India and finally had it done here. We found a small shop with a woman willing to paint our hands for a reasonable price. As soon as she pulled out the henna tube the two small girls she was watching started begging for henna on their hands as well. Clearly this is a hit with the little ones as well. She sent one of the girls off with her husband and the other one wandered around the shop mischieviously while we got painted up.
The detailed work took what seemed like hours to complete and by the time she started work on my hands the baby was in full hysterics. We all did our part to try and keep the girl entertained so my hands could be finished. PZ’s we definitely more intricate than mine thanks to this situation.
During our time in the shop we looked at books and posters of women dressed up in full bridal costumes with henna on their hands and feet. We asked our beautician all sorts of questions about henna traditions and gathered that the full dress up happens for weddings and festivals, but simple henna patterns on the hands are for anytime. I’ve noticed this especially on young girls. The girls’ excitement to get their hands henna-ed reminded me of the excitement I had at that age towards getting my nails painted.
The henna goes on in a creamy texture and dries into a crust. The crust comes off by the end of the day and leaves dyed hands behind. I took my crust off early because it started itching. Here’s a picture from the day after. The patterns should stay on our hands for the next week.
We visited the city palace, one of several palaces in town, while we were here. In my experience, palaces tend to be prettier from the outside than on the inside. This palace, like many sites in India, required an additional fee (200 rupees) to use a camera inside. I didn’t feel like paying the fee, figuring it would be dingy inside anyway. Well, it wasn’t dingy, it was gorgeous, a photographer’s playground and my camera was stuck at the front check in. Oh, the regret!
Other than visiting the palace, we mostly just explored the town by walking around and checking out the shops. Bekah checked out a temple, while I took pictures of cows.
Indian Cooking Class
On our last day in Udaipur we took a cooking class. This had been on my “Top 3 List” of things to do in India (not sure what the other two are) and it lived up to my expectations. I love seeing all the spices and details that go into cooking food in different countries and India is no exeception. Check out our teacher’s spice tin. It looks like a painter’s palate.
Our class was held in a family kitchen and was just PZ, me and a few of the family members. We learned how to make chai, spiced vegetables, dhal, vegetable bryani and various chapaties.
And then we ate it all. So good!
Our time in Udaipur turned out to be much more experience oriented than site-seeing oriented. There are several sites we skipped while here, but spending time reading books while soaking in the beautiful scenery, eating dinners in rooftop restaurants, getting henna painted on my hands and learning how to cook were worth missing a few sites for.