Thursday, December 11, 2008

Udaipur-Haldighati- Mt. Abu vacation

Last weekend, I was in Udaipur to attend my colleague Sudhanshoo's wedding. Thereafter, I went to Haldighati - the site of Maharana Pratap and Akbar's fight, and proceeded to Mt Abu. Highly recommend the trip to anyone who has 4 days off.

Some thoughts:

a) Besides low cost tech outsourcing, there is one other industry in which India is globally competitive. That is hotels. And the USP is not limited to the royal palaces that have now been converted into hotels in Rajasthan. Even the smaller havelis and old houses that have been converted into hotels - whether in Jaipur, Pondicherry or Mt. Abu - have an ambience that no hotel in US can provide, all at a reasonable price. Now if we can just keep the terrorists at bay...

b) Some very good roads are under construction - the road between Udaipur and Mt. Abu was freshly built, and will rival European roads once the project is over. Apparently this road will go from Bhuj in the west to Assam in the east. Now we won't be driving 120kmph on average anytime soon, primarily because of the cows and goats, but an improvement from 40 to 65 kmph is a vast improvement in percentage terms.

c) There is a museum in Haldighati - apparently it is the private initiative of an individual. Seems like they are trying to make a historical theme park there. They are actually making the walls of a fort, to make it all seem very historical. Haldighati is where Rana Pratap fought Akbar's army and where his legendary horse, Chetak is buried.

d)In the battle of Haldighati, the general of Akbar's army was Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur. So, essentially, it was a fight between Jaipur and Chittod. Now both these erstwhile kingdoms are part of Rajasthan. Is there a historic rivalry between different regions of Rajasthan, and indeed amongst different regions of the same states across the country that gets reflected in local, state and national politics? People are prisoners of history. Is this somewhere getting reflected within the internal dynamics of Congress and BJP? An interesting idea to explore further.

e) There is no agriculture to speak of around Udaipur. Apparently mining is where lots of people are employed. Road construction is another. Probably tourism. Tourism is a big industry in India. For all the beureaucratic indifference and official apathy, Incredible India is a relatively successful marketing campaign.

3 comments:

Martin said...

Jaipur is one of the hottest and most famous tourist attractions of India. A trip to India can never be complete without a visit to this place of immense historical and architectural importance. In its time it was among the best planned cities in the entire Asia and was the first planned city in India. Jaipur has a very happy amalgamation of the new and the old worlds. The charm and magic of Jaipur lies in the fact that it has a bit of everything- science, art and architecture, culture, religion, and history, ingrained into every inch of it. The warmth and hospitality of the people make a visit to the Pink city all the more memorable, remarkable and cherished. The best part of Jaipur is that even the hotels in Jaipur and the resorts have the flavor and fragrance of the ethnicity and hospitality of the place and its people. Most of the ITC hotels in Jaipur are not just places of shelter, but an experience in itself. Most of the leisure hotels in Jaipur have the ambience, feel and style of its rich and colorful history and culture. The treatment that the guests receive in the budget hotels in Jaipur is one of royalty and at the same time one of genuine affability.

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