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The Luxurious Heritage: Udaipur

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Mohnish Bagree:

The city of lakes, the former capital of the kingdom Mewar and Venice of the East, this is how the world defines Udaipur. A city that finds special place in travel catalogs which often rate it as the best city in the world to travel (according to the survey in July, 2009) displacing Bangkok from the top position. The city has hitherto never been deserted of tourists irrespective of seasons and situations. The rich heritage and unmatchable hospitality will not let you skip this place from your travel itinerary.

The Eklingji Temple

Visiting Udaipur is just like visiting Saturn where you don’t just look at the planet surface but also the rings around it. There is so much in it’s vicinity that the city becomes a perfect panacea for any nature lover as well as for someone who is very much into God and spirituality. It has few of India’s most famous temples like, Lord Sreenathji in Nathdwara, Eklingji in city outskirts and Dwarkadhish temple in Kankroli. While entering the city from North at a distance of around 50 kms, you will find the temple of Sreenathji–one of the forms of Lord Vishnu. The temple being one of the richest temples of India is also famous as the Lord’s chin, and adorned with a dazzling diamond visible from quite a long distance. The people from Gujarat and Maharashtra are most frequent worshipers to this temple. There is one more temple, Eklinji-Lord Shiva at a distance of 30 minutes from the city. Lord Eklinji is considered to be the guardian deity of Mewar.

Lakes and Hotels:

The Udaipur Lake Palace

For those who love classy and laid back holidays you must explore the never ending hospitality industry, esp. the hotels in this city. The city is located on the east bank of Lake Pichola. But the biggest attraction is the Lake Palace, a 5-star hotel in the middle of this lake (on an island-Jag Niwas) operating under Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Doodh Talai step well

Jag Mandir is another island in the lake. One will remain dumbstruck at watching the hotel dressed in golden coloured lights from the Sunset point Doodh Talai (step well). You can actually see and feel the pomp and show while walking at Doodh Talai from the Lake Palace at night. Also, one could enjoy the Aerial Tramway from Doodh Talai to Karni Mata Temple. The Fateh Sagar Lake is another lake giving space in the middle to the beautiful Nehru Garden from where you can get a panoramic view of Udaipur city and three sides of Aravalli hills.

The city gives home to world’s one of the best seven star hotels, Udai Vilas Palace. It is said that even Indian cricket team once couldn’t afford to stay at this hotel because of its extremely expensive luxury services. Among other good hotels are Devi Garh Palace where Liz Hurley married her NRI boyfriend Arun Nayar; Shiv Niwas Palace and recently opened The Leela Palace, The Trident and Radisson Plaza and Resort. Overlooking luxury, if you wish to enjoy the traditional Rajasthani dance and music, you will love to visit Bagore-ki-Haveli. It’s an old building built right in waterfront of Lake Pichola. The folk arts and puppets show can be enjoyed at Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, an old museum.

Bagoro Ki Haveli in Udaipur

Food and Restaurants:

The royal Shikharbadi Hotel

The city contains a few very old restaurants where throughout the year you can enjoy the heavy tourist traffic. The Park View, located in the busy streets of Bapu Bazaar is one of the best and oldest restaurants in the city and second home to those who love chicken esp. handi chicken. The restaurant has many Indian tourists because of its semblance of being very old and hence a goodwill for most. Also, it find a special mention in travel diaries of many tourist guides for foreigners. Berry’s and Kwality are other old restaurants famous for continental food. To foreigners, these are the prime locations for meals at rather open places and not the closed hotels. Shikarbadi is another open air restaurant towards the south of the city. It was once a hunting ground during Rajput era and now a heritage hotel. Imagine a situation where you find the Maharajas of Rajasthan landing near by your table at Shikarbadi Airport, a small runway used by royal families. It is also a breeding ground for horses that are considered descendants of Chetak. Apart from exotic taste, the traditional dish of Rajasthan, daal-baati churma can be found at almost all dinning places. Though you need to have a strong stomach, yet its appearance and taste will definitely water your mouth. The best place to enjoy the local dishes amidst city life is Sukhadia Circle and the famous Natraj Ki Thali. The Sukhadia circle is a famous recreational centre and meeting place.

The famous Daal Baati Choorma of Jaipur

For those who have visited this place will undoubtedly be contented why Indian sections of James Bond movie Octopussy were filmed here, or the British television series The Jewel in the Crown. Even Disney channel could afford to wink at this place for its film, The Cheetah Girls One World.

Udaipur because of its rich heritage and culture is considered a virtuous place and it is because of this reason why many celebrities prefer it as a perfect marriage destination; Ravina Tandon is an example. Be it Swayamvar of Rakhi Sawant or Rahul Mahajan, you can have as many excuses as you want but you just cannot avert and move on if you are in Rajasthan.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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