India 🇮🇳: Udaipur & Holy Cows

Welcome to Rajasthan

The first part of our journey took us to the state of Rajasthan – one of five we will visit. It is the largest state with 342,000sqkm (10% of India or about the size of Germany) and situated in the North West bordering Pakistan. It goes without saying that a few days were not enough to see it all.

The official languages in Rajasthan are Hindi and English. Hindi is the language most widely spoken in India (44% primary, 57% all-in), but by far not the only.

A few Hindi words to get by

Udaipur – Venice of the East

Having been to Venice and St Petersburg (Venice of the North), it was just consequent to come to Udaipur as well 😉. We stayed in the old town, close to most sights of the former capital of the Mewar kingdom (succeeding Chittorgarh after it was taken by enemies).

Highlights of the city were the Hindu Jagdish temple with its lively prayers, the city palace and breakfast in the Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel with its beautiful architecture and overlooking lake Pichola, one of the two big artificial lakes in Udaipur.

There is a lot more to do and see like the daily cultural show at Bagore Ki Haveli (daily 7pm, come 6.30pm or before to secure tickets), but our need to catch up with sleep and a tight timetable set us certain limits 😉

Holy cow! 🐮 🐮 🐮

Noteworthy were all the cows in the streets of Udaipur. Eating, poo-ing, watching, walking in traffic. There are an estimated 5m+ cows roaming Indian streets. Cows are holi animals in Hinduism (practised by 80% of Indians) that forbids slaughtering cows. A good part of that status relates to Krishna. He also goes by the name of Govinda, which means ‘friend and protector of cows’.

Many farmers hence cut old, unproductive cows loose to save on feeding cost and avoid the risk of cows feeding on crops – a widespread problem in rural India. Cow rescue centers are overflowing despite heavy government investment into new sheds under PM Modi.

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