On our 2nd day in Udaipur, we drove 22 kms out of the city to see a temple complex called Eklingji. Although less well-known than Nathdwara (which I had deleted from our itinerary), I somehow instinctively felt that it would be something that we would all like, Thankfully, I turned out to be correct. It is a complex of 108 small temples to Lord Shiva, all closely clustered together in a small area, so that the overarching impression as soon as you enter is of thick bunches of elaborately carved white gopurams and not much else. But so so so beautiful!!!!! Most of the temples are very small (and cordoned off), so one can access only 20 temples of so to go inside. Intricate carving work on marble and granite and the same on silver walls inside the main temple left me spellbound. We were not allowed to take cameras and cellphones so I have no pictures but I would heartily recommend a visit to Eklingji if travelling to Udaipur. It was the 2nd nicest thing we did in Udaipur; the nicest was a cultural performance at a run-down museum a few minutes walk from our hotel, called Bagore-ki-haveli. It seems to be on the must-do list of every Udaipur tourist, judging by the crowds (tip: get there early, atleast 30 min before the start of the show to ensure good seating). Latecomers had to make do with floor seating and standing. The show is interesting because it showcases lesser-known folk dances of Rajasthan other than the Ghoomar and Bhavai which are the only ones we normally see. The Chari dance involves women balancing brass pots on their heads, the pots carrying a flame inside them. In the Tera tali dance, the women sit on the floor, cymbals tied to various parts of their body, and they strike the cymbals rhythmically (and fast!!) in tune to the music. Fascinating.
This amazing lady ended up with 10 pots on her head! What a hard life it must have been when they had to trudge miles and miles for water.
We went to Mount Abu from Udaipur and spent a day there. Suffice it to say it was a waste of time. Mount Abu can be missed because there is nothing to distinguish it from other overly-commercialized hill stations in India (Ooty, anyone?). We could have spent our time better visiting some other places near Udaipur, but well....one lives and learns :) The Dilwara Jain temples are very nice but one tends not to enjoy anything when there are a hundred people elbowing you around.
So that's what our trip was like. A lot of walking, lots of culture and architecture and history, quite a lot of fun!