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NIRVANA! Udaipur 11-14 November

For Udaipur and Jaipur we had booked hotels and a car and driver through an Indian travel agent.   The local travel agent Mr. Anand Singh greeted us on arrival and accompanied us to the hotel.  We had decided to splash out on the world famous Lake Palace Hotel and we were not disappointed.  Mr. Singh had managed to upgrade us from a room to a royal suite (called Basant Bahar) with a superb view of the lake and  Jagmandir Island, most likely because many clients had cancelled followed the 11 September events. Normally this hotel if fully booked years ahead of time during the peak season.   

Some of you may know that 'Honey Mooney' got her name in 1988 when she was repainted shortly before our 6-week honeymoon in Kenya. Staying in this very romantic royal suite made us feel like we were on honeymoon again. In fact, we often call this round the world trip our third honeymoon (..the second was the 98/99 trip to East Africa). The setting, the dining rooms, the pool area, the food and service, the views, the sunrises and sunsets were all simply perfect!!

My grandparents lived in Udaipur in the 1920s and I have a photo of Jagmandir Island, taken by my grandmother who had danced there one balmy, moonlit night. I also brought a couple of photos taken at my grandparents' house.   I was very keen to find it and showed the photos to our driver.  He did his best to find it and drove us to several possible places, but in the end we had to admit defeat.  However, we did visit some of my grandmother's haunts, and it was interesting to compare the photos to the way they look today.

I won't list all the tourist attractions, but would just like to mention the crystal gallery at the City Palace.  Apart from chandeliers and glasses it contains several pieces of priceless furniture made of crystal, including chairs, tables and even a bed!  The crystal was ordered from England by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877.  Unfortunately the Maharana died before it arrived.  His heirs decided the crystal was bad luck and never used it.

The friendly female tower controller in Udaipur had kindly informed us upon arrival that there was a NOTAM in effect every day for Jaipur airport which stated that due to work in progress on the runway it was closed from 0500Z to 1200Z (10:30 - 17:30 LT). We therefore rescheduled our departure to arrive shortly after the end of this period. Thus we were able to enjoy the last morning at the Lake Palace Hotel swimming pool, instead of a hasty dawn departure.

The formalities went smoothly, the staff in the tower were friendly and chatty and about one hour after arriving at the airport the landing fees (7 US$ only! - no greedy handling agent in sight, great!) were paid, the flight plan filed, and the necessary FIC and ADC clearance numbers were obtained. We took off as planned only 1:30 hrs after arrival at the airport. Apart from a slight headwind of 15 - 18 knots, the flying weather was perfect. Air traffic control (non-radar environment at both airports) went smoothly and we made a perfect night landing in Jaipur 1:30 hrs later.

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Jagmandir Palace (1927): Angela's grandmother Nesta wrote on back of photo: "On left where I danced one hot weather night, moon bright and palms rustling: romantic, not 'arf"

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Jagmandir Palace, today
(see higher position of elephant statues)

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In front of my grandparents house in Udaipur (1927), from left to right: cousin Humphrey, grandmother Nesta and grandfather Davis Heron.

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Friends of Nesta   swimming in Sahelion-Ki-Bari garden (1927).

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Unfortunately the pool in Sahelion-Ki-Bari garden was empty!

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