I’m not even sure I can express how much I love Udaipur, India. The first time I went in 1996, I was mesmerized – I mean, how many cities have lake palaces that you have to take a boat to and you can stay in (it’s a Taj Hotel) – also known as Octopussy’s harem home in the Bond flick. There's the main City Palace (above) and the Monsoon Palace (Khan’s home in Octopussy) which is on top of a mountain and has the most incredible views out into the mountains and over the valley. The women walk around in brightly colored saris and there are even elephants wandering the streets.
Your imagination goes wild here.
And bonus: it’s fun and funny as hell.
For example: Udaipur is in Rajasthan, India – and is a Muslim area. The guys don’t get to see much lady skin. But every cafe is a “video cafe” where TVs play “Octopussy” on loop non stop. You’ll be in a restaurant, the waiter will be in the middle of serving tea and if the bikini scenes in the movie come on, all will stop. As in, the waiter will freeze, mid serve, stop breathing, his eyes will glaze over as he stares at the screen and his hands will shake. The second the ladies leave the screen, all service resumes as normal.
And if there’s a funeral – sit back and watch the hordes of paid mourners screaming and tearing their hair out in the streets.
It’s like a movie. So whenever I get the chance to go back – I run.
Last time I went, it was for my friend Melanie and Nigel’s wedding which was SPECTACULAR. We stayed at the Devi Garh hotel – an 800 year old fort that was meticulously restored to faaaaaabulousness!
So – the days preceding the wedding there were crazy carnivals involving camels, monkeys, horses, cows and really, really limber people… and some Ganja.