After my time riding camels through spectacular desert villages, I was off towards Udaipur via the old Raj hill station of Mt Abu. Despite the loud voice inside me saying I must get to Udaipur, I took the side trip anyway. I was travelling at a time when there had been recent riots throughout India, so there were very few other travellers and it was easier to find places to stay.
Mt Abu is the spiritual home of the Brahma Kumaris, and you see many of them on the road in their light robes, but in contrast it is also a resort for Indian newlyweds. There is a lake at the top of the mountain fringed with trees full of monkeys and it really is very pretty.
I booked into an old Maharaja Palace hotel, but didn't realise that I was the only guest. They installed me in a room at the top of the hotel well away from the reception so huge that its two double beds looked tiny. After having dinner alone in a candle lit dining area served by a waiter with a white coat, I retired to my room. It was a windy full moon lit night, everything creaked, and just to add to that spooky atmosphere I definitely felt the presence of disembodied spirits.
Needless to say I didn't sleep that well at all and left the next day driving on to Udaipur. As we approached the town I saw a black guy walking along the road (a very rare thing in rural India back then) who saw me in the car and gave me the thumbs up! How strange I thought! Well now I realise why, of course, because I was about to experience a life changing encounter.
The image shows the City Palace complex in Udaipur.