The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
And I am happy that both of my excursions have been great journeys rather than tourist outings. This time I went to Udaipur with my group of close friends. Some of us had doubts. We hadn’t planned anything. It wasn’t the right time to visit, and those who had visited Udaipur before warned of this place becoming boring because all it has is forts. But leaving all these doubts aside, we went on with the trip. And I am glad that none of us regret it.
We took the overnight bus and reached Udaipur in the morning. Instead of following the usual itineraries, we decided not to focus on what only the Udaipur city has to offer, but also what lies around it.
So we hired bikes and cycled to Lake Tiger, which is 15km from Udaipur. 6 of our group could not accompany us, but those who did, call this cycling affair the most memorable part of the trip. We took stoppages at random places, asking for directions and water. It was a very hot day, and we were riding under direct sunlight, the roads were very steep at more than a few places, and was mostly uphill, but it was an experience worth having.
Our tired bodies heaved a sigh of relief when we sighted the lake. Because of being situated on the outskirts, and being just nothing more than a lake, it was an untouched treasure. We played a little in the muddy water, sat there sunbathing for an hour and then headed back. The return journey was marred by a mechanical slag and took more time as my cycle chain came off after some 10kms and we had to walk the remaining distance.
On our second day we visited Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh, which are 2-3 hours drive away from Udaipur. Wonderful and picturesque places. The Kumbhalgarh Fort specially gives you the feel that you are the master of your whims. If you are adventurous enough, you will scale down the walls and stand on the very edge, overlooking a huge 1000 meter drop. You could jump off if you want, or fall down if careless, or hold on to the walls and be afraid. Or you could be me and stand there unwavering and look down at the grandeur which is spread in front of you, a view which you would have just seen in National Geographic’s documentaries till now.
Spending the first two days of our trip to Udaipur “outside Udaipur” gave us a sense of urgency, we had a day left and a whole lot of places to see. But, thankfully, none in our group travels with a mission to cover all points. We squeezed in random market strolls during the evenings and lied on the rooftop of our hotel till the wee hours of morning. The third day we went to the City Palace, which is a stunning fort overlooking all of Udaipur. From there we took a boat to Jag Mandir which lies in the center of Lake Pichola.
This was the last day of our trip, we could not visit a few more places we would have wanted to, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we had fun and did not feel the trip becoming monotonous even once. We had good food, made some rash decisions, acted on instincts, but it all made sense in the larger picture.
And thus endeth our wonderful wonderful journey 😀
P.S. – As they say, there are no real ends, there are just places where you stop a particular story, to start a new one. And the story that commenced on my way back to Delhi is going to be a long and a happy one 🙂