Summer in India (its monsoon season) with our three kids had too many highlights to count. But our first stop in Udaipur left such an impression, it deserves special recognition.
Located in the state of Rajastan, Udaipur and its Lake Pichola are a welcome oasis in the midst of the desert and sweltering heat.
Our city tour began with a top notch guide who taught us more in the first 5 minute introduction about Indian culture than we could ever learn from a book. We arrived at the City Palace with the kids hot and whiny until they learned about the elephant parking and the cages for leopard and tiger hunting. As we toured the palace built in the 16th century (the North end of the palace continues to be the residence of the royal family, the self acclaimed longest running dynasty in Asia) and heard story after story of palace life, I couldn't decide which was more interesting - the tales, the architecture and spectacularly intricate tile, or...the stunning group of sari clad, barefoot, bejewelled women on "holiday" from rural Guajarat who thought we were just as interesting - especially my toeheaded kids.
As we stood looking out onto an interior palace courtyard, the beautiful women stood on the opposing balcony. The monsoon rain started and through this veil, we watched them and they watched us...the lingering moment was an image of India I will never forget. And the smiles remind us that even though we come from very different worlds, we are the same.