Narlai to Udaipur - for Eklingji Temple Complex and Saas Bahu Temples
It was a leisurely drive from Narlai to Udaipur. All the monkeys were out on the roadside as we climbed up through the Aravalli Hills. We went past the turn for Kumbhalgarh and climbed onto plateau. The land was very dry and dusty with little settlement or agriculture.
We stopped at Kalashpuri to visit the Eklingji Temple Complex. These hardly merit a mention in the guide books. This was a Shiva temple and there were 108 temples surrounded by a high wall. The original buildings were 8thC and rebuilt during the 15thC. Many were defaced by Muslims who destroyed images of the gods. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed in here. A young guide latched onto us as we took our shoes off. He was knowledgeable and worth his tip.
Outside people were selling marigold garlands to be left as an offering to the gods. There was a special service while we were there with drums beating, bells ringing and long queues to see the image of Shiva, decorated with marigold garlands. We were given a marigold garland each for good luck.
We drove through the old Mewar capital of Nagda, which was the power centre for the princes of Udaipur. It was destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 13thC and we could see the remains of the walls of the old fort on hillside and stone remains of the buildings. There are many old temples scattered round the area. Again these get little coverage in the guide books and receive few visitors.
Lake Bagela is an artificial dammed lake, which has flooded the remains of the Sun temple. We drove along the lake to the Saas Bahu Temples. Only two temples are left from the original 18. These are Vishnu temples. Building began in the 8thC and was finished by the 10thC. They were built on a huge marble dais. Saas is the bigger temple made of carved marble with a brick roof. I made the mistake of talking to the Temple Guardian who was then intent on showing me every statue and followed us all the way back to car for his tip.
The road to Udaipur goes through a major marble quarrying area. We drove for miles along the road lined with small businesses selling cut marble tiles of all sizes and shapes. I began to understand why marble is such a common building material throughout Rajasthan. Lorries were thundering along the road with huge blocks of marble. There was even a camel pulling a slab of marble on a cart. There were camels by the road waiting for work. There were huge great machines for cutting the marble and piles of chippings everywhere.
We were taken for a drive round the lake in Udaipur and went into the Royal Rose Garden, which was used by the women of the Royal Family. Paths were lined with small fountains spraying water from holes in ground. Through a gateway, with touts selling film and memory sticks “very cheap", was a walled garden with central fountain.
We went to the Vintage Car Collection at the Palace, which had all the cars used by the Udaipur Royal Family from 1923.
Bhawani, our driver, lived in Udaipur. He shyly took me behind the car and asked if we would like to meet his family. I told him we would be honoured. We met his charming wife and three daughters. They lived in a nice flat on the first floor and were very proud it had a balcony with a sewing machine. There was a well stocked kitchen with running water, fridge and two gas rings.
We were also taken to meet Bhawani’s big brother and by then it was then time to head for the railway station and train back to Delhi … for our flights home.
Our pictures can be seen here.
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.