Gujarat and Udaipur

March 11, 2011

After a brief stint in Bombay, post-returning from down south, I repacked my bags, washed a few shirts, and headed up to meet my best friend Nirav’s parents at their home in Anand, Gujarat. The train ride up was around seven hours, and I made a few new friends along the way; Will and Mika, a couple traveling around India for a while, and Vaidehi, Namrata, Tanaz, and Vineet, who were heading from Surat to attend a conference on something that sounded complicated.

Once I reached Anand, I was immediately met on the platform with the enthusiastic wave and beaming smile of Mr. Patel. And, of course, after arriving at the house and getting a hug from Mrs. Patel, not a minute had passed before I was offered food. I was home.

We spent one day in Anand, relaxing around the house with the grandparents and taking a tour of Mr. and Mrs. Patel’s alma mater, Sardar Patel University, and then spent the following two days on a trip up to Udaipur, Rajasthan.  Udaipur, like much of Rajasthan, is a place rooted in history and culture. There are spectacular palaces, ancient markets, traditional arts, and local cuisines, each which take days to explore. As we toured around all three of the royal palaces – The Monsoon, The Lake, and The City Palaces, I had to continuously keep shutting my jaw, which had a habit of falling open every time we turned a corner.

After returning home and saying goodbye to the Patels, I took a bus two hours north the Gujarat’s capitol, Ahmedabad. For the average tourist, there is not much to see, but for the architectural enthusiast, this place is a gold mine – Corbusier, Correa, and Kahn all had some fun here in the 50s and 60s. Corb’s Mill Owners Association (no photography allowed, but I still managed to take 107 photos) and Shodan House, Kahn’s IIM-A, and Correa’s Gandhi Ashram all call Ahmedabad home, as well as CEPT University, one of the leading architecture schools in the country, and countless mosques, markets, and gems scattered throughout the city. I was in heaven for those two days.

Check facebook for more photos.

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