On my first day, I decided to have a full body 2-hour massage at the Jiva spa and health centre built exclusively for the Taj guests. It was an exhilarating and relaxing affair that was carried out in full Taj luxury style. I meandered right to the top and stared down from the balcony at the shimmering lake. There were boats gliding on the water. Pigeons and eagles were flying with abandon in the sky. It was like watching Venus in full flight. The local musicians played their instruments and the sound was filtered through the courtyards of the palace. It was an evening to behold. Wine and liquor were in full flow as the guests mingled, played chess or just enjoyed the view. Udaipur did have its distinctive maharaja’s touch. The fountains were lit up in the night shooting jets of water in the pond adorned by thick trees and plants in the courtyard. You could hear sounds of chants and mantras coming from afar. Yes, it was a small white marble temple which housed the Lord Ganesha as the local pujari did his evening prayers. I was told that the palace had an in-house Astrologer so that the guests could get a glimpse into their future.
Next day, I woke up to a running documentary on the maharajas and their ways of life, queens, jewels, opulence and cars. It also explained their fascination with elephant polo and their relationships with the British elite. The documentary went on constantly in my room as I spent many hours staring outside my room window at the calm lake in front of me. Then, I ventured out into the city to see the famous vintage car exhibition. This was a car collection of almost twenty cars and a few horse carriages all dating back to the 1940s and even 1920s. The Rolls-Royce and Mercedes were the most visible and beautiful vintage cars in the garage. I did my video shooting with some help from the car driver. The entry fee was Rs 350.
I went for a stroll in the local garden. Udaipur is indeed the city of lakes and I stopped over a lake to take the view. This time, I used my camera stand and the microphone together. The city is full of glory for Maharana Pratap, the legendary king who took on the Mughals with his horse Chetak. It is the Maharana’s city with statues and paintings depicting this God-like figure brandishing his swords while sitting on a galloping horse. The main maharaja’s place, which is the largest one in the city, is on the other bank of Lake Pichola. It is made of stone and is huge in structure. There were windows and roshandan to let the sunlight into the majestic castle. Yes, I was getting the scant of Udaipur, a royal city seeped in the floor of kings, maharajas and princesses.