Friday, April 08, 2011

Udaipur city

There are times when you think about how travel has changed you and how places become memories and how every recollection makes beauty rise again to change you one more time. I had just begun to meander that morning by the Pichola Lake wanting to simply walk along the streets of Udaipur city in that light that I had discovered the day before, a light that seemed to belong only to the morning, the light that fell on the Lake Palace, creating most of its charm, the light that let the water dance on the walls of the many pavilions beyond.

As much as I admired the view from my window, of the Lake, the Palace and the Pavilions, I wanted to be out on the streets behind the first row of havelis by the lake to see what happened on the facades of houses when the sun had risen only half an hour yet and was just making its way further up in the sky.

I had been walking not so long when I came to a bifurcation in the road and decided to ask an autorickshaw driver which way was Hathi ni Pol. I thought that would be a good direction to head towards, since it was a stretch lined with shops and perhaps some of the shops, just the tea stalls and the dhokla-poha places would be opening up and I imagined there would be people reading their morning newspaper by the street.

He showed me the road to take and in passing mentioned that nothing other than the Mandi (vegetable market) would be open at this time. The Mandi?? Where was the Mandi, I wanted to know. He said it was not within walkable distance. He could take me there, if I would want him to. I jumped into the autorickshaw. I could look at the streets and the havelis later!

In a little while, we reached the market. It was smaller than I had expected. But, I was happy to be there. I walked around slowly, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, which didn’t quite work. I realised later that this was not the touristic part of Udaipur. It was where the regular life of the town was. Here, people who belonged to this town came to buy their fruits and vegetables. This is where they came to buy bamboo baskets, which were now shimmering in the light and took all my attention.

I stood within the mandi and its people. There was a mist in the air and through it the sun came into the street. Women vendors were unpacking bundles of greens and sacks of tomatoes. It was such a quiet market square at that blissful hour of the morning. Few people spoke to each other as they arranged their goods. In one corner, children played and chatted with each other. I looked on. There was something about that morning that told me that there was more quiet in the world than I knew. I was so glad I had come here.

This post is part of the Lonely Planet Blog Carnival hosted by Nina Fuentes of Just Wandering.  Do check it out at ‘How travel has changed you’!


Anil P said...

It's always surprising, isn't it as how silent the sabzi mandi can be once the truck load has been delivered and vendors are busy setting things up in the early morning.

I haven't visited Udaipur yet.

Nice reading the post.

Meena Venkataraman said...

Wow!... A side of Udaipur I've never seen before...
Gorgeous pics

Reshma said...

Loved reading this post. Have never been to this part of its very nice to read this...
Thank you for sharing!

radha said...

lovely post . I like the way you capture what seems to everyone else - the usual - and present it so beautifully.

Indian Bazaars said...

Anil: One of the nice memories of early morning bazaars is of a truckload of marigolds being emptied at the dadar flower market. Can still visualise that after so many years! There was a hustle and bustle hushed perhaps only by the dark of the morning.

Meena: Just a few days after the Udaipur visit happened to meet someone who had grown up in Udaipur and now lives in Mumbai. She wanted to know what part of Udaipur I had seen and I wanted to know what she would think I should have seen. I wished then that I had met her a few days earlier. I may have seen Udaipur differently perhaps. Maybe this is true for every city?

Reshma: I had been waiting for a long time to go back to Udaipur and was totally delighted when I did get to go.

Radha: Thanks.

Meena Venkataraman said...

Soo true :)

Pallavi said...

ohh, kiran what a lovely blog post!!!i could almost picture you talking , pausing, and smiling while reading it all.
I only have the touristy udaipur in my mind so this is wonderful to read and know!

David Bennett from Quillcards said...

What a lovely description of the peace of this market.

And the photographs are so warm.

We were in Udaipur at the beginning of 2010 and I was so surprised at the difference between the old city that so many tourists see, and the new city where I guess this mandi market was.

What was the location of the market so I can visit it next time I am in Udaipur?

Indian Bazaars said...

Pallavi: Thanks for dropping by!!

David: I guess one could ask an autorickshaw driver to take you to the "mandi" - that's the term for vegetable market in North India. That's what I did. There were several streets radiating from this small square/open space where the market happened. It was actually in the old city. I think it would be particularly like this in the early hours of the morning. I went there at 7.00am and that was around mid-March.

Siddhartha Joshi said...

I absolutely love the images you have used here...adds so much color and depth to the story as well :)