India is simply enchanting. It pushes you out of your comfort zone - right off the edge, leaving you feeling like a fish gasping for air in a very large pond.
After travelling Africa it seems to me that India could be its own continent - “the whole world in one Country” they say.
Instantly you don’t understand the noise, the smell or the culture … Which is strangely India’s charm.
We flew straight from Mumbai to Udaipur - the City known to be the most romantic in India. We arrived late at night and had our first Indian meal atop a roof top terrace surrounded by twinkly fairy lights, a crackling fire and the sound of children’s laughter. It was unexpectedly chilly, so we cosyed up under some blankets before heading to our room to sleep. Orla and I both couldn’t stop smiling feeling like the sacred cow that got the cream - the luckiest girls in the world.
The next day our Hotel owner Nadir gave us a tour of rural Udaipur on his motorbike. I felt really safe despite the insane chaos of Indian traffic - having to dodge to avoid motorbikes, cars an rickshaws. We went up to Tiger Hills and whiled away the afternoon listening to music, learning about Rajasthani History and ancient Hindu mythology. We learnt that the Indian traditions we assume to be engrained into each person here are in fact as subjective as our English traditions. Women can wear jeans and reveal their shoulders, young people can choose their own husband / wife. The most interesting thing I learnt was that some women are empowered - have complete free choice in regard to their love life and education.
The next day we ventured into town. After enjoying our 37th Iced Coffee we went I buy some Indian Silk Scarves which were unbelievably beautiful. Nadir was impressed with the bartering skills we had learnt in Africa - generally we try to pay at least 50% less than the original asking price. Being young, female and blonde makes us scam targets but we try as much as possible to be careful and aware of what we should be charged for things.
We then went to Monsoon Mountain to watch the Sunset, it was beautiful to see Udaipur from so high up - what I thought was a small and intimate place actually a sprawling City.
The next day we went to see the City Palace which is still home to Indian Royalty. The architecture is a mix of traditional Indian and unexpected mosaic, stained glass and almost retro mirror creations. Everything has been made in a way that confuses and inspires you … Imagining a time in Ancient India when these beautiful places were bought to life.
Udaipur was the perfect beginning to our travels around India - deep glistening lakes, rolling hills , mouth watering food and a perfect example of the hospitality and kind hearted nature that Indian people are famous for.