When an escape is required from the monotony that mundane routine life has to offer, we try to go off for a quick day trip from Udaipur. With the summer sun gradually but surely embracing the days, it was a point of contention amongst us, where we should be heading to. Besides the sun, the exams of my 9 year old son that were starting almost immediately turned the tables on many other options and we headed for Jaisamand lake, a place that has given us much pleasure umpteenth times, previously.
The drive to the second largest artificial lake in Asia has always been enjoyable and this time too it was no exception barring the bottlenecks and diversions that the work in progress of the construction of the broad gauge railway line from Udaipur to Ahmedabad have created at the peripheral junction of the city of lakes.
We were visiting the lake after a hiatus of maybe six months or so and this time we found that the place leading to the embankment of Jaisamand had been enclosed with wire mesh surrounds and a ticket counter had cropped up. Now for an entry to the “Paal’ of Lake Jaisamand, you needed to dish out a nominal Rs10 per person as an entry fee. As we were entering, voices of dissent from the public was heard but if the money collected from the public is really put to good use for the beautification and adding of facilities at the embankment, then nobody would be complaining.
My son as always bought Rs10 worth of corn kernels to be fed to the fishes that are found galore in the lake. The splashing of water by the movement of school of fishes as they scamper to savor the corn kernels is a sight to behold. After the feeding session was over, it was now time to laze around and soak in the beauty of this magnificent tranquil lake. We contemplated whether a boat ride could be fitted into the agenda but decided otherwise as feeding the fishes had given rise to pangs of hunger within us.
We searched for any cabin that served fresh fish nearby but in vain. Thus we came down from the embankment and zeroed in on a ‘fishy’ looking road side restaurant by the name of Mona that proclaimed that it served Fish Fry. With no ambiance to speak of and an open kitchen on top of that, was enough to dissuade us initially but the gastronomic grumblings got the better of us and we ordered a plate of Jaisamand lake fresh cuttle fish fry for Rs150.
Fresh fish, freshly marinated was fried in front of us in the wood fired traditional hearth, ‘chulha’ as it is locally called. The cheerful owner who also doubled as the chef as well as the attendant told us stories about how he started this restaurant nearly two and a half decades back as he continued frying the fish.
The fish pieces when fried to a golden brown was served with a red garlic chutney and freshly round cut onions slices. The owner on his part insisted that we also try a gravied version of his fish and gave the gravy complimentarily along with a local fish which was fried to a crisp.
The cuttle fish fry was divine and the red garlic chutney complemented it to perfection. The fried local fish also packed a crunch and was delicious. The gravy though was more like a spicy water concoction, nothing much to write home about.
With our hunger satiated and mind rejuvenated it was time for us to again get back home and start a new week afresh, fresh from Fish therapy at Lake Jaisamand, albeit a gastronomic one.