The Lake Palace, Udaipur

1 - lake palace

The Lake Palace, viewed from the Fatehprakash Palace (part of the City Palace complex).

The Taj Lake Palace is known for being the “most  romantic hotel in the world”. I can’t possibly agree more.

It is perhaps the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever been to – a vision in white marble, floating on the waters of Lake Pichola. Certainly it boasts the most beautiful and evocative location.

From everywhere in the Palace, there is a sweeping, cinematic view of the city and the lake. And to the northeast, the burnished gold facade of the city palace…

It was hard to tear myself away from the palace, and though I did occasionally emerge to take in the sights of the city and to explore the lake on a speedboat, I have to admit I spent the bulk of my time in those endless white courtyards and corridors .

First built in the mid 1700s as a pleasure palace by the Maharana Jagat Singh II, it fell into disrepair by the end of the 1800s.

In the 1960s, the ruling Maharana Bhagwant Singh decided to convert the palace into the city’s first luxury hotel. The property was handed over to the Taj Hotels and Resorts Group, and it remains under the management of the Group today.

Its primary claim to international fame remains the James Bond film Octopussy in 1983, part of which was shot on location in the palace.

I’m too young to have ever known that movie, however. The one movie I know and remember well – a more recent work of art – is the exquisite, surreal and completely under-rated Tarsem Singh-helmed The Fall, part of which was also shot on location here.

And so it was with that scene of the lovers (re-)playing itself in my head that I wandered the grounds of the palace, looking out to the city with a sense of longing and a slight pang of loneliness in this most beautiful (but just then… infinitely desolate) of locations.

Perhaps seven years of Grand-Touring on my own has finally begun to take its toll.

2 - approaching the lake palace

Approaching the Lake Palace.

3 - entrance lobby

The entrance lobby, with its Peacock arches.

4 - entrance lobb yii

Lounge area near the entrance lobby.

5 - courtyard

The main courtyard.

6 - rooftop garden

The stunning view of the City Palace, from the rooftop patio area just outside my room.

7 - my room

I had the good fortune to have a very quiet and secluded room at the topmost corner of the Palace.

8 - lunch

Lunch at the hotel’s all-day restaurant, Jharoka, overlooking Lake Pichola and the city.

9 - chhatri

View through chhatris to the city.

10 - swimming pool

The absolutely exquisite swimming pool, with a view unto the lake.

11 - pool ii

…and so I sat here for hours and hours, just contemplating (the view), and my own loneliness.

12 - champagne

A glass of champagne before dinner.

13 - gleaming in the twilight

Sunset tour of the Lake.

14 - rooftop garden towards my room

The rooftop patio at sunset – the (lilac) door to my quaint little room is just past the attendant in blue.

15 - palace at night

Night at the Lake Palace.

16 - palace at night

Night at the Lake Palace, part two.

17 - dinner with a view of the city palace

Dinner at the Hotel’s European restaurant, Bhairo, on the roof of the Palace, and with one of the most romantic views in the world.  Pity I was my own.

18 - detail in my room

Detail of the mural in my room.

19 - lake palace sunset

Corner of the Lake Palace, sunset.

20 - goodbye lake palace

Goodbye Lake Palace! And goodbye Udaipur!

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Heritage, India, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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