Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shrinathji and Udaipur

Since we haven't updated in a while, we will fill you in on our recent endeavors.

Friday, we took a spontaneous journey to a confectionery (Joe thinks it should be called a dessert store). We enjoyed a quiet afternoon with Rachana and Jamnejay, then stopped by Ragi Masi, Nikunj Masa, Dulari and Devangi's home. 11 of us enjoyed an exquisite dinner at an old favorite restaurant of ours, Tomato's. It had been 12 years since Sophia's first cousins on her mom's side sat in the same room.

Early Saturday morning, we chased the sunrise on a four-hour journey to the birthplace of the god Shrinathji. The scenic drive introduced us to the mountainous terrain and winding roads of Rajastan. We received warnings in advance about the crowds at the temple, but we were still overwhelmed. Men and women had separate lines, and the jabbing and shoving continued throughout the darshan (Hindu prayer).

We then drove to the neighboring city of Udaipur. Like Jaipur, Udaipur is a tourist-heavy town, but it is less crowded, the people seemed friendlier and it was surrounded by natural beauty. We began our sight-seeing at the City Palace (Mehar Palace). Every room had a fantastic view of the Fateh Sagar Lake, the "White City" and the stretching hills.
Rachana and Munjal led us through the streets to let us truly get a feel of Udaipur. In the evening, we went back to the City Palace for a sound and light show. The show described the history of India, but tied it directly to king's dynasty in Udaipur.
We headed back home to Ahmedabad after such a fruitful and fulfilling trip. It's incredible how two neighboring states can have such stark contrasts, but still have such a comforting feeling.

Sophia and Joe