The end of our Rajasthan Roadtrip
18.11.2010 - 28.11.2010
City of lakes. Venice of the East. The Pearl city. Udaipur, our last destination in Rajasthan has many aliases. It is the India you only imagine in folk tales. With palaces floating on lakes, intimate alleyways, and elaborate picturesque shrines it is easy to understand its self-professed slogan as the "most romantic city in India".
We stayed in a tiny room at a lovely 300 year old haveli along side a lake in full view of the floating palace. Our days were spent idle - painting, reading, and taking in the view. For two days it rained - that sloppy cold rain that calls for hot coffee and cozy cafe. So, in a sense, the rain wasn't a huge bother... instead forcing us indoors, introspective, and with good books in our arms.
The main draw to Udaipur for me really was the classes on the art of miniature painting. Miniature paintings, as the name implies, are tiny tiny paintings (some no bigger than 2 x 2 inches) renowned for their intense details. Udaipur, to a greater extent, and all of Rajasthan - to a lesser - are known for this fabulous ancient art form. When it was all said and done, I made three miniature paintings. And it is not an easy endeavor! Each work took at minimum 4-5 hours and the end result is a painting only the size of your hand. The real challenge really isn't in the drawing its in the concentration. If you can quiet your mind (and hand) miniature painting comes at ease. But, with months of fanciful travel behind me, I found it incredibly refreshing to be productive! AND (for someone who regularly doodles and paints) to really be making art again.
Beyond painting, we took in a few sites: the Jain temples of Ranakpur, the wonderful City Palace of Udaipur. Most of the time though was spent sitting on a roof gazing at hte spectacular views of lakes and palances below. Really, I cannot emphasize it enough. The place was stunning. As nice as any romantic capital of the world: Paris, Venice, Rome, San Francisco. Perhaps more romantic if the orient is more your flavor. Cinematic is a way to describe it - archways, ornate temples, windy streets, night wedding processions... In fact James Bond and the recent film "the Fall" has shot locations here! Cinematic indeed.
In a way, Udaipur was the beginning of the end for my "India trip". After Udaipr, I would have two weeks left. Mostly spent in the tropical beachtime laze of Goa. The sightseeing part of the trip had slowed and the last few weeks were to be a complete recharge: Ayurveda, yoga, painting, cooking classes. Endings can be bittersweet: a welcome return home to both family and friends and the less-welcome worries of work and day-to-day responsibility. As I left Udaipur to a plane flight out of Ahmedabad I was looking forward to the laid back beach side classes and... eventually the trip with family onward to Australia before Christmas.