Friday, August 1, 2008


In Udaipur, I switched from a Budget hotel near Anita's family to one in the center of town when they moved to the wedding hotel. This is when I discovered Havelis. They are houses that are hundreds of years old, with beautiful architecture (of a certain style, don't ask me what) and many rooms, connecting hallways and nooks and crannies. Some are beautifully preserved, and you can tour them in some towns.

I chose a hotel near the Central Palace that is in a restored haveli. It was a challenge to find it - through narrow streets with twists and turns - and it was more expensive than a budget hotel but well worth it. It was beautiful, painted bright white, and the rooms were immaculate.

The less expensive room, which I took, had a separate large dressing room and a large tiled bathroom and was spotless and comfortable. The more expensive room had, in addition to the bed, a lounging area with a mat and pillows in the large bay windows. The restaurant was along one wall on the third floor, and had great views of the lake and the famous Lake Palace Hotel, a super exclusive hotel and popular wedding venue.

It had regular table seating as well as window seating on a mat with pillows. It was such a nice place to sit and read and drink chai.

I loved the haveli so much that I decided I wanted to stay in one every time, if possible.

In Jaisalmer, I also chose a haveli. Even though I had some guilt about staying inside the fort given the environmental problems, I decided it was worth it, and I had only1 night. The haveli in Jaisalmer was very cute, although much smaller and mustier. Plus I was on the top floor with no AC, and it was really hot. But the family that ran the place was cute, and the room was architecturally very interesting. The fact that it was 450 years old was also fascinating to me. It also had great views from the roof.

If I was traveling in India longer, I would stay in more havelis, just to see them. So much more interesting that a regular old hotel.

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