Our crews left the opulence of the Umaid Bhawan Palace to beat the morning traffic and it worked a treat as we headed out of town. Our route was lined with shops selling ornate doors, pottery, furniture and carpets along with way.
We were headed for Rohet Garh to see the stunning curly eared Marwari horses in their stables.
The Marwari horse is an integral part of the region’s folklore. Used as a war horse, the steed was the mount of choice for the Jodhpur Cavalry. One of the oldest breeds in the world, its quirky, curly ears distinguishes it from its other brethren. Though its body type is similar to the Arabic horse, the two breeds do not share a common ancestry.
With the arrival of the British, the horse was banished and relegated to the footnotes of army logs, and the horse of choice became the Australian Whaler. The royal family and the landed class started breeding Marwaris as ceremonial and show horses until the money ran out. The All India Marwari Horse Society works tirelessly to restore the breed to its former glory, by raising awareness about it and maintaining impeccable breeding standards. The magnificent beasts in their stables are some of the finest Marwari horses in the country.
From there it was onto the Mana Resort for lunch before making our way to the Jain Temple at Ranakpur, which is famous for having over 1,000 pillars of which no two are identical. The carvings are stunning and unlike anything else we have seen so far.
The route from Ranakpur to our hotel in Udaipur was unlike anything we’d experienced on this rally so far. Twisting roads took us into the hills and along the mountain pass, through villages with lush green fields.
Up in the hills, the trees that lined the road had many monkeys hiding in the forestry, with a few brave enough to climb aboard the vehicles. Sitting on wing mirror, they got as good a look at us and we did of them.
Our final destination was the resplendent Lake Palace Hotel, which is owned by the King of Udaipur, and, as the name suggests, is in the middle of a lake. It also famously appeared in the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ starring Roger Moore with much of the location filming completed in the city. Therefore it was only right we kicked off our time here with a James Bond themed dinner. The ladies had put on their finery with smart jackets for the gentleman. Adrian Martin came complete with white cat as the evil villain Blofeld.
Tomorrow is another rest day as the hotel is too beautiful to stay just one night.