So you're off to Udaipur. You're excited. So is it going to be a lake that you want to see? Or is it going to be a palace? Or both???
One thing that strikes you about Udaipur is the amount of lakes there. After all, its not got its title as The Lake City for nothing. Every picture that you see of Udaipur is a that of a lake or a palace and sometimes, breathtakingly, a palace on a lake - right in the middle of it.
We did visit the City Palace. There's enough on the net about the City Palace to bring it up here. Needless to say as we wended our way through passages and open courtyards, fountains on the upper storeys, trellised marble carvings, inlaid work and as usual a 'Sheesh Mahal' a mirrored inner sanctum for the women, what hit you through the aged marble was the sheer opulence and the grandeur of those days.
Gold, gilt, semi-precious stones, legends of bravery, descriptions of rare beauty all resound in the hallowed walls of the rambling palaces. The regal tales never end. But there is more to a palace than just that.
The calmness, the serenity and the tranquility a palace on a lake far outweigh the opulence that a palace would represent. Somehow just seeing a palace on a lake gives you a feeling of owning the world.
Which brings me to think that royalty in those days really knew what they wanted. What was far more important than conquering other kingdoms, winning the most beautiful women and amassing riches exceeding one's imagination? What was that one thing that really made you all-pwerful, all-dominating?
Isn't it the power over Nature?
Imagine creating lakes in the driest of regions. Imagine having a body of water surrounding you, granting you peace and tranquility in your most troubled moments. You now have power over Nature. And you get back from her unconditionally. Peace. Tranquillity. A sense of ownership and paradoxically even, a sense of belonging. What else can give you so much? What else can make you feel more like a king? And what greater kingdom would you want?
If you go to Udaipur, feel the way not just the kings who sat atop the throne felt, feel the way every citizen of Udaipur must have felt... one with Nature. A sense of kinship. A sense of kingship. With a water kingdom of one's own.