The Romance of Udaipur
Nothing short of magical, Udaipur is full-on romance and charm amid a setting of dazzling knock-out scenery.
Known as ‘Venice of the East’ for its pretty lakes, Udaipur is circled by the Aravallis Hills which contain towering tombs, intricate palaces and temples all high on the ‘wow’ scale. Stroll the cobbled walkways and amaze in the city’s locals going about their daily life in the ancient bazaars and bustling markets, in a colourful shimmer of traditional dress.
Countless snapshots of a time that appear to have stood still, contrast with new world boutiques and a vibrant arts and culture scene. But it’s the tranquil lakes and mythical sunsets that make Udaipur so seductive and gorgeous.
Sheesh Mahal at The Leela Palace Udaipur
A split-level, entirely open air restaurant overlooking the stunning Pichola lake, Sheesh Mahal is fine, Rajasthan dining that glows with luxury. Open in the evenings only, the views across the lake look towards the city palace and the famous Lake Palace hotel, which glitter across the water in picture-postcard perfection. The sparkly views, observed beneath the twinkle of a starry sky make for a magical atmospheric intensity, matched by a stunning menu that reflects the authentic essence of the country’s kitchens.
The exquisite recipes – that come from the royal kitchens – are rigged with contemporary flair and a long, international wine list. But it’s the vigilant service, well-appointed tables and elegant vibe that put heated romance at the top of the Sheesh Mahal menu.
Shilpgram Craft Village
Initiated by Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, Shilpgram is a multifaceted arts & crafts complex situated 3km west of Udaipur. Situated across 70 acres of countryside, Shilpgram offers a unique insight into the mysteries of India’s deep history, many cultures and traditions, whilst also promoting artisans, potters and ceramicists, artists and designers. At the local market within the Crafts Village you can purchase the many different kinds of embroideries and handicrafts made by the villagers themselves.
26 traditional village huts representing the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Damen and Diu showcase the distinctive artisan villages within those states, their architecture and design. Step inside and get a closer look at the craft-makers and their work.
The best time to visit is during the festival itself, when for just 10 days, the villagers of the various states put on dances and other displays offering a deeper look into their cultures.
It’s easy to lose track of time here, but with a host of attractions and delicious Rajasthani food readily available, you’ll be happy to lose it.
Andraab, the brainchild of 3 Kashmiri brothers, specialize in the finest, most beautiful hand woven Kashmir textiles and hand embroideries. A stunning array of textiles from shawls, scarves and jackets as well a bed throws and wall hangings with a rich stock of one-off pieces. The finest quality cashmere, silk and blended fabrics, in a host of striking colours and designs are hand embroidered using silk, gilt silver and gold wire with shockingly good attention to detail, workmanship and quality.
Andraab’s design inspiration is drawn from both the traditional and the contemporary and in almost all cases, the production process is lengthy. Some of the pieces, which can take months to create, are intricate, subtle, unbelievably soft and simply, irresistible. It’s no surprise that these brothers have gained so much international attention and an established Hollywood client list.
Yoga with Prakash
Don’t be put off by the shanty styled entrance. For a cherished break from the world outside, or a jump in your hatha yoga practise, head to Prakesh yoga. Prakash, who has been practicing yoga for over 30 years is the guru to yoga-practising locals. Rich in charisma and knowledge, Prakash runs 2 free classes a day. Sessions are free but it is expected that you will make a donation for your experience. All levels are welcome but for those seeking more of a challenge, you will definitely meet it here! With morning classes beginning early, you can catch the sunrise while you strike your pose.
Expect chanting, heavy incense and the occasional push, from the master himself, into poses you once thought unimaginable. Every class is closed with a laughing yoga session that will have you skipping out to face the day before running back in time for the evening session too.