This is our final entry of our Rajathan trip, written by Octopussy…I mean Liz. Why Octopussy? Because we’re in Romantic Udaipur, where the rather kitch 1983 Bond movie was filmed. However, as Liz writes: “shunning the ‘antiques’, carpets, and tailoring being thrust at us we ended up by the water, watching the sun go down over Udaipur from the best viewpoint in town, in the company of professional photographers and the homeless.”
Cliché or no cliché, Akbar’s ‘City of Victory’ really does “rise majestically” from a barren rocky plateau. Referring back to my note book, before writing up this visit, I found a string of exclamations: “The scale! Location and position! Extraordinary! Fabulously well-maintained! Power! More palace than fort!” An extraordinary place…
We’d only been in Jaipur a day and a night and already we’d witnessed some police brutality, so we thought we’d balance it with a bit of civilised culture. Cue one UNESCO World Heritage site and a huge palace-cum-fort. After visiting these incredible places, however, we thought we’d get back to reality with some interaction with beggars, street-dwellers and kids rummaging through piles of rubbish. Just to remind ourselves of this diverse city we’re in before leaving for the Taj.
When we last left you we’d taken advantage of some holy Jaipurian urinals. Now we cross the street and go check out the rather ornate Jaipur City Palace, the Hawa Mahal (where women could see but not be seen) and mingle with monkeys and elephants. In amongst more wee spots we sample a refreshing beetroot drink and then round the day off with some good old fashioned police brutality.
As is probably evident from our previous posts, Madurai is a pretty crazy place. Rest, then, from the madding crowd in the calm of one of her grandest buildings, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace. Deceptively understated from the outside, the open court-yard of the interior is imposing and beautiful. Liz: “If you are in southern India please do not miss this most beautiful palace. I fell in love with it in many ways. Its shape, colour and structure are sublime. Palest peach, vanilla, apricot, and cream combine to impart an ethereal quality”. The palace is close to becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, which goes some way to illustrate how wonderful this simple building is. At the end of this short post we include a little slide show of a few of the buildings of Madurai.
The streets of Madurai is a bustling chaotic mass of energy. One doesn’t have to walk far to get a great picture of the people going about their business, weather selling, carrying, begging or playing. I tried my best to get some surreptitious, objective viewpoints but as soon as you point a camera at a Tamil, they smile and pose!
Not really for the general public but a few shots of our Christmas Day, which was spent at the Taj Palace Hotel, Wilingdon Island, Cochin.
Liz and I were joined by our friends Mike and Gabi, who were effectively on their honeymoon, and the usual suspects of Terry and Fiona of Roam II and Ants and Div of Divanty.
It is a real pleasure to be eating turkey, brussel sprouts and stuffing whilst supping on a nice glass of Chianti, in India where all of these things are hard to find!