For those of you who know me, you can imagine what a heartbreaker it is to cancel our upcoming trip to India, let’s hope that we are only postponing and, in the meantime, I can’t think of a better way of making up for this holiday than travelling back through cherished Indian memories.
The last time we visited India we went back to Udaipur to the Udai Kothi hotel which, through time, has become a friendly retreat thanks to its wonderful owner Bhuwneshwari Kumari. Udaipur is the one city in Rajasthan where I could always go back to marvel at the most stunning sunsets on the Pichola lake and the Aravalli Hills.
The number of luxury hotels in Udaipur has soared in the past decade, still I would never consider going there and not staying at the Udai Kothi. The main reason being our friendship with Bhuwneshwari, it goes back to our first visit in 2001.
Her exceptional sense of hospitality made each of our visit a privileged one. The modern facilities ensure a comfortable stay still in the spirit of the city’s traditional architecture and style. The rooms are large, decorated with local wooden furniture, block-printed textiles, traditional miniature paintings and old black and white photos; their windows look out onto a lush garden full of bougainvillea and exotic flowers.
The highlight of the hotel is its rooftop which host a restaurant and a swimming pool with breathtaking views to the Pichola Lake, the Lake Palace and the City Palace. The hotel is located in a quiet area of the city still just a few steps away from its heart.
My Udaipur favorites:
A stroll in the narrow streets of the city, getting lost following random silhouettes in their shinning saris, clapping at newlyweds and their jubilant parties, stopping at the temples to immerse in Hindu spirituality, visiting the talented artists who carry on the tradition of miniature paintings, marvelling at the mural paintings that are brightening up the ochre walls…
A boat ride on the Pichola Lake starting just before sunset and ending at night to enjoy the changing colours over the lake, the palaces and the hills. The Udai Kothi has two boats sailing from their jetty close to the hotel
A lunch at Ambrai, by the lake, shadowed by the trees: I can stay the whole afternoon there with a book, a notebook and my camera, gazing at the people coming and going on the nearby ghat: women busy with their laundry, children bathing, men chatting, timeless scenes from life in India.