Well, we are about to end our stay in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. It is a city built along the Aravalli Range and around a series of lakes. The most famous lake is Pichola where the Maharaja built a summer palace on an island. It is very beautiful in this area as long as you stay out of the city proper. Our hotel is in old town, right on the lake and we have wonderous views from the roof top terrace. It is like a picture on a postard. Tthere is actually a swimming pool on the roof as well, but unfortunately, the pigeons use it as a birdbath. I am sure no amount of cleaning will make the water clean enough to swim in. The young man worked hard this morning vacuuming and scrubbing, but 5 minutes later, 20 pigeons were drinking in it. Bird feathers were floating on top as well. The upside is that I sat and had chai and watched the birds play for a half hour.
We toured the city palace today and were awed by the stone work, tiling and paintings. Our tour guide was full of information and interesting stories about the royals of this area. Everything from a pincess who committed suicide to save her people from war (two different princes were willing to fight each other in Udaipur for her hand) to a Rana who refused to live in the palace until he won back his land from invaders. He ruled and fought the good fight but died before ever living in the palace.
The Rajputs are known for their mustaches. When you see a man with a long mustache curled upward, you will know that style of mustache originated here in Rajasthan. They have even put one of the Sun God, Surea. The Rajput men were famous for wearing earrings in both ears. Rajputs were royals and rulers. Now that the caste system is mostly gone, almost all men regardless of their occupation wear them.
We had a delightfully delish Rajasthan Thali lunch with new dish I had not tasted before. It was a carrot halwa. I am definitely going to make this from my friends and post the recipe on my cooking blog. It is a very tasty, sweet dish made of slow cooked shredded carrots, milk, sugar and dried fruits or nuts. It is almost like a pudding but not a pudding.
I think my palate must be adjusting to all the spicy foods. Things did not seem quite so hot and spicy today. This evening I ate stewed chicken with a mashed onion gravy and cheese naan.
The funniest event has been the personal ads I saw in the newspaper. The parents advertise for mates for their children and are quite bold about what they want in a daughter or son-in-law. For the wanna be daughter-in-laws they must be well educated, never worked, "homely" young women. Homely meaning they want someone who will be content to stay at home, mind their mother-in-law and generally not think for herself. They are a riot to read. It turns out it is quite a common custom here in India and is like match.com only with parental approval.
This area of India is known for its silver and marble but it has gathered to together artisans of all types in old town. It also has a good size industry in block printing and the art of tie dying.
We are off to Jaipur tomorrow.