Udaipur & Mt. Abu
Our next stop was Udaipur, home of the famous palace on an island in the lake. The water had almost all dried up, leaving a brown hole in the center of town, but the city itself was interesting. On one side of the lake was the large, rambling royal palace with many decorations inside, including a few large peacock murals made of colored glass and mirrors. One afternoon we walked out to the Lake Palace Hotel, one of the most exclusive, luxurious and expensive hotels in India. Anne convinced the tall, turbaned doorman to let us have a quick peek inside. It really was beautiful and sumptuously-decorated.
Our last detour before returning to Bombay was a trip to Mt. Abu, a hill-station in Southern Rajasthan. It was worth the all-day bus trip to see the famous Dilwara Jain temples. They contain some of the best stone-carving in all of India. The two main temples are full of marble panels depicting Jain and Hindu religious scenes. But the most interesting are the decorative ceiling panels, some of them composed of chandelier-like carved protrusions. Some of the very geometric carvings look like fireworks frozen in space. The central ceiling panel in one of the temples looks like a huge, inverted wedding cake, carved from a single massive block of marble.