DAY 10 - UDAIPUR
After breakfast we decided to visit a Tibetan market located in the south of Udaipur and then make our way back via a couple of the city's main sites. It was refreshing to experience a marketplace which had set-prices for its goods and a relaxed and unconfrontational atmosphere, the hassle that we had been constantly receiving evaporating the moment we set foot in the square. The Tibetans running the market stalls seemed pretty chilled out and left us to browse in peace as a group of children played badminton in the market centre. We then made the quick journey to Sajjan Niwas gardens and relaxed in the midday heat, laying down and reading as children played cricket around us. The gardens also housed a small zoo and we observed its attractions from a little 'toy train' which circled the area, catching glimpses of bears, exotic birds and leopards as we slowly rattled along. When we felt satisfied, we set off down winding alleyways and I spent a little time in a nearby clothes shop purchasing some nice thin Indian trousers and a shirt, clothing more suited to the climate than the items that I had in my bag. After my little investment, we retraced our steps back into the centre of town, passing eager art dealers, clothes manufacturers, antiques sellers and book shop owners as we did so. Eventually, we came to the Jagdish temple, an incredible structure covered from head to toe with immaculate carvings and religious motifs, before heading to the Bagore-ki Haveli museum which contained some impressively restored rooms along with countless artworks, instruments, tools and murals which gave us an insight into the area's history and culture. The undoubted highlight for us, however, was a room containing what is supposedly the largest turban in the world - a truly memorable sight. After taking a few pictures, we returned to our hostel to relax and grab some food before enjoying a pot of tea in a nearby cafe, watching the afternoon fade into evening as the city slowly lit up, casting a shimmering reflection on the surface of the lake. At around 7, we returned to Bagore-ki Haveli to attend an evening of traditional Rajasthani music and dance which was fantastic, a real atmosphere built up in the courtyard as the evening wore on. After the show's unforgettable climax (a woman dancing with 12 or so pots balanced on her head to the rapid rhythm of a band), we filtered out on to the lakeside, where a popular singer was performing a one-off free show observed by crowds of ecstatic fans, both young and old. We watched the spectacle into late evening as infectious melodies and rapturous beats were thrown into the night, hundreds of people dancing and rejoicing in unity as the Lake Palace glimmered in the brilliant starlight. Eventually, we decided to get some sleep and prepare for our early coach journey to Jodhpur the next morning, echoes still booming accross the lake as we settled down after an enjoyable couple of days in the city.