Sunsets over Lake Pichola
Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan is often described as the Venice of the East. Located in the heart of the city, Lake Pichola is not only the oldest, but probably the most picturesque of the lakes of Udaipur. This artificial fresh water lake was created in 1362 and has, ever since, attracted life to its shores. In 1568 Maharana Udai Singh II founded Udaipur here when he moved his court from Chittorgarh.
This was also the setting of my 3-night stay in this beautiful city. Narrow, winding streets filled with people, merchandise, auto-rikshaws, and cars deposited me at my hotel in Lal Ghat on the eastern shore of Lake Pichola. Kankarwa Haveli has been beautifully restored, and like most of the hotels and guest houses sprinkled around the lake has a rooftop terrace where one can linger for the most heavenly views that keep changing with the passing hours of the day.
From this vantage point I had a view of City Palace, Jag Mandir, Jag Niwas and the flow of life both on and off the water. Jag Niwas is better known as the Lake Palace Hotel, and every night a short firework show lit up the sky overhead with booming regularity. It is also one of the palaces where the James Bond film Octopussy was filmed, and the white marble used for its construction changes in colour with each passing hour, adding to its beauty through the flow of time.
Early mornings on the terrace were chilly until the sun popped over the mountains, warming my body and energizing me for a new day of adventure. In the fresh morning air, I greedily gulped down the beauty of the lake with my aromatic first cup of coffee, silently wishing for time to stand still. Despite the charm the promise of a new day holds, it was the sunsets that ensnared my heart. During this magical time between day and night, life adopts a different rhythm. In the lukewarm stillness of the late afternoon, the buzz of life retreated to a place my ears no longer inhabited, as I stepped into a cocoon of peace, where the lapping of the water echoed the songs of gratitude in my heart. The crisp chill of a Kingfisher beer replaced the aroma of coffee, capturing the liquid gold of the setting sun. While sipping on the setting sun, my heart longed for the beauty of Udaipur long before I even left.