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Marooned in Palace(s)


Travelling during the Indian monsoon is tricky. Apart from the dangers of landslides and floods, there is the danger of being trapped inside a cold hotel when it is pouring outside. Fortunately, we are not crazy enough to venture towards perilous terrains or poorly administered areas.

Our first monsoon vacation was to Gwalior last year, during the Independence day weekend. I’d assumed that the rains would keep people away. We couldn’t be further from the truth. And I’d assumed that the monuments would be fresh and clean after a wash. I can’t quite comment on that. But that didn’t stop us from being mesmerized.

In the city, with the high rise buildings, its hard to lay our eyes on one continuous skyline. In fact, we sometimes give up on our chances of seeing it. And that is where smaller towns come to our starved senses’ rescue, especially during the monsoon. The massive and magnificent structures we visited were made all the more beautiful in the backdrop of the most amazing expansive skies.

Sure, we did get caught in the rain. We had to cancel our plan of visiting other places because there was a huge downpour while we were inside Jai Vilas Palace. But when you’re marooned in a Palace, it’s really not that bad!

Jai Vilas Palace
Inside the Jai Vilas Palace. The magnificent green lawns in the centre of the Tuscan-styled buildings under a very overcast sky. The downpour began shortly after this image was taken

This year, too we planned a vacation for the same weekend—but because there were so many more like-minded travelers, we couldn’t get tickets! So we did something that we felt was smart—we travelled a couple of weeks later, when most of the city tourists would be away (and we secretly hoped that hotel prices would be slightly cheaper; they weren’t). We also hoped that the impact of monsoon rains would be lesser. But when we checked the weather predictions, we were made well aware of the risk we were taking.

Day one in Udaipur, saw us marooned inside our home. But we did manage a visit to the Monsoon Palace. On day two, we literally headed for the hill to avoid getting wet in the rain, and just managed to make it inside the City Palace, before the downpour began. And like the year before, we found ourselves marooned in yet another palace!

City Palace, Udaipur
Outside the City Palace. We were fortunate to see the Palace on two days—once when it was pouring, and the next day (day three), when the sun finally came out

So what’s our take on travelling during the Indian monsoon? Well, the weather is going to be cloudy, with a chance of great views!


Yup, these pictures were taken with a phone 😉 These are panoramas stitched together from individual pictures taken with a Moto G3. Click/tap to view my Flickr photostream.

Hat tip to R. Karthik photography for recommending the software used to stitch the pictures. Check out his review here.


This is post #2 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

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A city enveloped


The sky was overcast and a gentle wind greeted us as we stepped out to buy a mango shake.

‘It won’t rain, ma’am. These clouds do not bear water,’ the office boy said.

We were going to return within 10 minutes. But I took my umbrella, to be safe.

As we soon found out, it wasn’t the umbrella we needed, but goggles.

On our way back, the wind grew stronger, kicking up dust all around us. I covered my glass of mango shake with a lid the juice vendor gave.

We couldn’t see much around us. Partly because the air was saturated, but mostly because we could barely keep our own eyes open.

With the dust coming straight at us, we tried to shield ourselves with our palms and narrowed our eyes as much as we could.

Only a short distance to go, we walked as fast as we could with our eyes closed and turned into the street in front of the office building. The dust storm ended a little while later, with a light drizzle cleaning the air.

That evening, we headed home covered by a fine layer of dust from head to toe. The evening sky though, was a treat for our dust-laden sore eyes.

Enveloped
Enveloped

We later found out that the wind speed was around 80 kmph. Tree branches had fallen all over the city. A streetlight had fallen on a metro power line, crippling the public transport system.

More fascinating images here: Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped