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Moving stillness

SIMPLE GRANDEUR The Oberoi Udaivilas, the pool and open arched corridors. Photos: Anjana Rajan  

The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

USP: Past blends with present in aesthetic bliss

Udaipur is conspicuous for the number of old stone temples dotting the landscape. With the monsoon washing over it, greening the Aravali hills surrounding this historical capital of the Mewars, you feel as if you are entering one of the miniature paintings of the Mewar school, a medium through which the history of this feisty dynasty has been recorded over centuries. The city draws tourists from across the world and boasts some of the finest five star hotels of the country. Here, overlooking Lake Pichola, sits The Oberoi Udaivilas. Majestic yet friendly, opulent yet unostentatious, the resort blends so well with the environment that you have to remind yourself it is not an actual palace converted to a hotel, but a relatively new construction built by The Oberoi Resorts and Hotels in 2002.

The domes, archways and jali work, the long corridors with wooden doorways opening out at intervals, and, above all, the soothing ochre and white colouring of the building, all contribute to the feeling that this is a building from the history books. But Udaivilas is a resort for today’s traveller. Heritage arts meet contemporary luxury in an aesthetic blend. No wonder Udaivilas has been ranked 15th in the world’s best hotels according toTravel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2010 readers’ survey.

Leased from the royal family of the Mewars, whose current representative is Arvind Singh, the grounds cover 50 acres, of which only 20 acres are built up. The land being undulating, the resort is built on three levels, but at no point is a highrise. If the building itself is beautiful, the grounds take your breath away. Peacocks, wild boar, deer and other creatures, once there for the sport of the Maharaja — who came to watch fights between a wild boar and a tiger, or an elephant, from the safety of the only structure on the grounds that pre-dates the resort — are now part of Udaivilas’ animal sanctuary.

I wander about the gardens, through rambling open corridors and shallow staircases. The sound of water gurgling is everywhere. If the mustard coloured domes against a changeling monsoon sky and the greenery all around are balm for the eyes, the pools of water constantly murmuring bring calm to the soul.

Well, you can’t spend all your time outside. There are rooms and suites to choose from. Suites have their own private pool, while the lake-view rooms that look out on Lake Pichola share a common pool. Some are attached to private courtyards where you can have a moonlight dinner. Open the door onto your private outdoor space, and birdsong greets you with a cheer unparalleled by any music. Whether visiting alone or in a group, Udaivilas promises the unmatched comfort of nature’s lap.

Things to do

Try the complementary yoga lessons offered at the resort

Heal yourself at the spa with its treatments that take a fusion approach to Ayurveda, Thai, and other wellness techniques

Go boating on Lake Pichola

Visit the City Palace Museum, where the history of the Mewars and especially of the legendary Maharana Pratap is told through paintings

Visit the old markets of the city

How to get there

Udaipur is accessible by road, rail and air routes.

The best part of visiting Udaivilas during the monsoon is the possibility of a boat ride right from the airport to the hotel’s private jetty.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 4:01:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/travel/Moving-stillness/article16190495.ece

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