Udaipur is pretty. It is set around a lake surrounded by a ring of hills, and it has a palace, and lots of lovely classical Indian architecture. It is also busy, with auto-rickshaws and motorbikes buzzing around like flies.
Traffic jams are common in the narrow lanes. From time to time there is a sudden coming together of dozens of vehicles at the junction bottom of the road that leads to the city palace that form impossible gridlocks. Then, a few moments later there is no traffic at all.
Then the buzzing of the auto-rickshaws starts again. Udaipur is pretty, but it is beginning to drown in its own traffic.
I read in the newspaper yesterday that Jaipur (the capital of Rajasthan) has a much worse traffic problem, and it is not surprising because it is five times the size of Udaipur. Apparently, Jaipur has such a traffic problem that even the city planners are lost for any idea of what to do about it.
Bundi is maybe a quarter of the size of Udapur and the old city is a maze of streets of tiny, tiny shops stacked one next to another and each maybe six or ten feet wide, with no fronts, everything done and performed on the street.
Everywhere in the mostly unmade streets there are placid cows, sleeping dogs, clambering monkeys, and nervous pigs. The motorcycle drivers wend their way around the cows, whereas the pigs skitter away looking hard done by and unloved. It is easy to feel sorry for the pigs.
And in every street and side street and alley leading off streets, there are small temples.
There are very few auto-rickshaws. The motorbikes sound their horns incessantly. It seems to us though that the drivers do so more to announce that they have a motor bike than out of any need to negotiate the traffic, because there isn’t that much.
Bundi would be a drab town were it not for the splashes of color in the buildings and the saris.
It is supposed to be a town of Brahmin-blue lanes, and while there are blue buildings, it is really only possible to say of it that it is a ‘blue’ town when looking down on it from the palace.
All of this is a tourist’s snapshot in time. From talking with one of the owners of the haveli where we are staying, I learn that Bundi has had a much reduced monsoon for the past five or six years and that the town gives itself another ten years before it is in serious trouble through lack of water.