We may have only been on the road for one day, but the rest day in Udaipur at the exquisite Lake Palace Hotel proved the perfect tonic for the crews. With all the laundry, spannering and general maintenance duties done in Jodhpur, this rest day was all about taking it easy – so that’s exactly what everyone did.
For some that meant seeing the tourist spots while others embraced the relaxing character of the hotel, made famous by the James Bond film Octopussy. This place is more than just a film set. It’s a sigh of relief that transports you to a feeling of calm.
Being surrounded by water has something to do with it and a group lead by Norman and Liza Yung enjoyed a cruise around the lake to take in the setting sun.
Those that could tear themselves away from the hotel, visited the Monsoon Palace, City Palace and museum. The City Palace stands on the east bank of Lake Pichola and is a huge series of palaces built at different times from 1559. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate – the Tripolia, built in 1725. This gate leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping partitions, terraces, corridors and gardens. The palace now houses a museum with many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils from the royal era as well as the Maharajah’s own car collection.
However, the crews were in for a treat and a much closer look at the palace than they expected when they each received a personal invitation from the Maharajah’s son Prince Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar and his beautiful wife Princess Nivritti to join them in the private area of the palace for cocktails.
Taking the hotel ferry to the private palace jetty, a fleet of buggies then took all the crews up to the palace gates and onto the terrace where they were each presented to the royal couple. Chatting freely to the crews about cars and their time in India, the couple also received gifts from the rally including a commemorative shirt and rally plate.
Then it was time to return to the hotel for dinner and an early night ahead of tomorrow’s drive to Pushkar and the final week of our time in India. The days are driving by fast now and in just six days, we’ll be in Agra at the finish line.