After breakfast we found a moneychanger and then ambled through laneways to the royal palace. This is probably one of the nicest palaces in India, full of extravagant rooms and displays of the Mewar dynasty’s artefacts.
Explored the many rooms and courtyards of the palace before wandering off to have lunch at the Lotus Cafe, which does some great and imaginative food. Aidan had gone back to the room as he was feeling too good. Crossed over to Hanuman Ghat to watch the sunset over the lake, great views of the City and Lake Palaces, and very relaxing watching the changing light and the little boats pottering past us. Had a nice dinner at the Jasmine Restaurant near the bridge at Champol Rd. Next morning went to the Jasmine again, really nice people run it. Next door is a similar cafe which was always full of wankers, whereas the Jasmine was often empty, which was inexplicable given it was cheaper, had a better menu, good food and friendlier people. But who can ever understand the ways of the scarved? Entertainment in the morning as well as the beautiful sunrise was the locals bathing in the freezing lake. Wasn’t far to the Chetak Circle to catch a bus to Eklingji. Bus took us quickly through the suburbs and some hills, but the temple was a bit disappointing despite its antiquity. Then walked to the ruins of Nagda through some nice countryside, but the ruins were all covered in scaffolding and building work. Lake and surrounding farm land provided some excellent bird watching. Very relieved that a local bus came along and saved us the walk back to Eklingji.
Hopped off the bus at Sukhadia Circle which has a cute lake in the middle with paddle boats. Discovered a modern shopping mall there (Big Bazaar) so stocked up on munchies and snacks, and also saw our first Tata Nano car. Wandered about the very pretty Saheliyon ki bari gardens, one of the nicest gardens I’ve seen in India. It even has a public library in the middle. Lots of nice fountains and pools.
Got an auto back to the bazaar, but most of the shops were closed. Luckily though a sweet shop was open, the LMB, and it turned out to have the best gulab jamuns in the world (near the tower and Jain temple). Went back to our hotel and ate our sweets on the rooftop. After sunset went to the dance performance at the heritage Museum which was excellent. Some astounding performances, with puppets, dances with complicated cymbal routines and a bizarre trance dance which was amazingly similar to a trance dance we saw in Kaliurang, Java. Also featured a brilliant horn player that would put to shame a lot of new Orleans jazz musicians – must put it on Youtube one day. Some of the music had a gypsy feel to it too. Dinner at the Lotus again but was a bit disappointed by the very small serves this time. Rushed back to hotel to watch the Spurs game but it wasn’t on. By the way, our hotel is really great, such nice people there! Always think of them now when I listen to the song Tum Jo Aaye.