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  • Writer's pictureDhruv Badaya

The City of Lakes

I've always had this wild daydream about diving into the rich culture and breathtaking beauty of Udaipur - the city of lakes. Well, guess what? My daydreams finally got their GPS working, and I found myself on a journey to the much-romanticized Udaipur! Picture this: a group of us decided to chase the Holi festival there, because why not paint the town red... and blue... and green?

Our arrival at the crack of dawn was a bit like showing up at a party before anyone else, a little awkward and definitely chilly. But fear not, our knight in a three-wheeled chariot (aka the auto driver) was there to rescue us from freezing like a bunch of posh popsicles. As we zigzagged through the city's morning whispers, I couldn't help but feel like a detective on a secret mission – well, except for the fact that I was wrapped in a blanket of morning cold.

Now, our palatial residence for the trip was the Amet Haveli. They say this place has seen more history than my high school history class, and trust me, that's saying something. Sitting pretty by Lake Pichola, the haveli's view included one stunning City Palace on the left and... well, everything else on the right. It was like the best seat in the house at a history concert, minus the overpriced popcorn.

The hotel staff must've sensed our excitement, as they waved the early check-in fairy wand and granted us access to our regal chambers. Dressed in our "we're ready to take on the world" attire, we embarked on our quest to conquer Udaipur, one hilarious mishap at a time.

Roaming the streets with the sense of direction of a lost pigeon, we stumbled upon Udaipur's very own pre-Holi fiesta. Shopkeepers were decked out in colorful turbans and white kurtas, probably regretting their wardrobe choices the moment they faced a Holi color bombardment. The streets, once peaceful, had turned into a mishmash of colors, kind of like a toddler's finger-painting masterpiece.

Naturally, when hunger knocked, we answered with a culinary adventure featuring local breakfast delights. The Poha, Dhokla, Khakhra, and Jalebi danced their way onto our plates and straight into our hearts – the stomach, that is. Energized and ready for more, we set our GPS to "Historic Adventure" and landed at the City Palace. This place held more artifacts than my grandma's attic, and the history lessons felt like an impromptu quiz show with the past as the host.

Then came the boat ride on Lake Pichola – like a romantic cruise but with more "oohs" and "aahs" than a fireworks show. We floated past the Taj Lake Palace and Udaivillas, staring at them as if they were celebrity mansions, wondering when we'd get invited to the pool party.

As if our day wasn't epic enough, we decided to witness Rajasthani folk dances at Bagore ki Haveli. I'm not sure if I was more impressed by their moves or by how my dance moves could easily double as a "How Not to Dance" tutorial. The Holi bonfire later that evening felt like a fusion of a campfire sing-along and a Bollywood dance number. The only thing missing was me holding a marshmallow on a stick while doing the moonwalk.

The grand finale, Holi, unfolded like an explosion of colors, turning us into living, breathing rainbows. We joined the local revelry, throwing colors like kindergarten Picasso's and dancing like nobody's watching – except for the amused locals who probably wondered if we had lost our way from the children's play area.

Our escapades to Kumbhalgarh Fort and the Ranakpur Jain Temple were the perfect mix of history and majestic views. By the end, we had befriended a French duo on their global escapade, sharing stories like travelers in an epic fantasy novel.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. With our bags packed and our hearts full of memories, we embarked on a journey back home. But hey, I'm already plotting my return to Udaipur – because there's no such thing as too many colors, too many laughs, or too many unforgettable moments in a city that's truly a work of art.


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