Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride…A leopard in the palace…

The locals doing their laundry in Lake Pichola but no laundry soap is allowed. Nor is fishing and private boats allowed on the lake.

It would be possible to upload 20 posts with the information and photos we have available after yesterday’s fantastic tour in Udaipur, India. We visited places, rode in wild congested traffic in fast, expertly driven tuk-tuks (two passenger motorized rickshaws) to get Shiv Niwas Palace to dine in a fabulous nearby restaurant with exceptional food and service.

A structure on the grounds of Shiv Niwas Palace also, known as the City Palace.

But before going further, we must provide an overview of what transpired yesterday to explain a change in the arranged itinerary (through the Maharajas Express train).

Tom, listening to our tour guide with provided headsets with the five stars Taj Lake Palace in the background.


After a lovely breakfast on the train by 10:00 am, we wandered to our company-owned, assigned bus #2, of two, that follows the route of the train to always be available for passenger tours to various arranged venues from the several train stations where we stop along the route from Mumbai to Delhi.

The Maharajas Express provided us with many gifts, including scarves, and hats.


In air-conditioned comfort in the luxury buses, the ride to the first venue of the day in Udaipur was pleasant and uneventful. We pulled into the guarded gates of the City Palace, also known as Shiv Niwas Palace and headed to a veranda overlooking the famous man-made (in the year 1362) Lake Pichola for photo-taking and detailed storytelling by our guide.

Side view of the City Palace as our boat wafted past.


We’re posting several of those photos today with more following as time allows. About 40 minutes later the 70 train passengers boarded a flat bottomed boat wearing mandatory life jackets for what proved to be about an hour-long boat tour of Lake Pichola.

Descendants of royalty still live in the Shiv Niwas Palace 


When the first segment of the boat ride ended our guide explained the much-anticipated lunch venue in the City Palace would have to be moved to another restaurant. The reason?

The palace began being built in 1559 and is always under construction and renovation yet today.


A leopard had entered the palace overnight and had been seen in an area close to the original restaurant in an area that had been cordoned off to protect visitors as well as the leopard.

In recent times, the lake was bone dry during periods of little rain as shown by watermarks.


Rangers had been called with hopes of tranquilizing and relocating the leopard back to the nearby mountain from whence it had come. Unfortunately, we never had an opportunity to see the leopard, nor did we hear if he or she had been safely relocated.

A shrine built between the walls of the palace.


Subsequently, very last minute, the lunch venue was changed to another restaurant on the opposite side of the palace which was way too far to walk, nor would buses be able to maneuver in the congested, traffic-laden area.

Lake Pichola was man-made in 1362.

After the boat ride, we all meandered to a nearby street within the confines of the palace to be driven by tuk-tuks for what ultimately proved to be an adventurous, heart-pounding 20-minute ride through the worst traffic one can imagine.

As is tradition, a bride and groom are having photos taken before their wedding.


None the less, it was the wild ride of our lives. We both giggled over the excitement of it all which reminded me of my childhood living in California and visiting Disneyland quite often. My favorite ride as a kid was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, most like long gone from the park but memorable for those of us who remember this ride.

Another stunning palace overlooking the lake.


The sights, the sounds and the smells as we whipped through the city streets was a senses overload. The cows wandering through the streets, the smile on the faces of the adorable children as they waved to us, the shops, the street food, the endless array of motorbikes, the tiny tuk-tuk type trucks, and the people, all was a part of this glorious experience.

Jag Mandir Palace.


Tom couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as our driver rapidly darted in and out of traffic and tight spaces, unlike any ride we’ve ever experienced. We felt like little kids having the time of our lives.

We spotted a few green parrots on the grounds of Jag Mandir.


The lunch as the fantastic restaurant was an indescribable buffet of Indian foods like none other with many items I could eat. The head chef walked me through the buffet line pointing to the safe items for my way of eating. Once back at our table of eight, I was in pure heaven eating the spicy and flavorful foods.

The tuk-tuks were lined up and ready to take us to the opposite side of the palace which required a 20-minute wild ride through narrow streets and outrageous traffic.


Tom, on the other hand, only had a few bites, claiming he was saving room for another great dinner on the train. But, I knew him better. He politely tasted a few items but these spicy items were not his “cup of tea.”

A cow and her calf scavaging for food on the city street.


And, later on, we did have a fabulous dinner with Chef John Stone, preparing yet another special meal for me, often stopping at our table, hands pressed together in a gracious Hindu bow, seeking the knowledge that I was pleased.  I was.

Colorful shops lined the streets, many offering a variety of textiles and Pashmina scarves.


Tom even ate lamb last night, the first time I’d ever seen him do so finishing every last bite. This morning I only had a bowl of plain yogurt since I was still full from yesterday’s eating frenzy.

Busy streets on which we scooted through traffic.


In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share some historical facts about the palaces and the fort we visited. There just isn’t enough time to go through all of that today since soon lunch will be served after which we’re heading out on another big tour which will include “dinner on the town.”

We awaiting the name of the restaurant where we dined on delicious Indian food. We’ll add it later.


Need I say? Yep, we’re enjoying every moment of this exquisite adventure and, undoubtedly, we’re loving India. We’ll be back with more…


Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, February 4, 2019:

A hippo and a cattle egret have symbiosis in their relationship. For more photos, please click here.