Visitors might remember the romantic Lake Place set amidst the calm waters of Lake Pichola in Udaipur from the classic Bond movie, Octopussy. Now a luxury hotel it is a must see on every visitors itinerary.
Lake Palace, Udaipur
The famous Lake Palace of Udaipur, now a luxury hotel, resonates with the royal grandeur and magnificence that Rajasthan stands for. If visiting Udaipur, the Lake Palace is a must on the itinerary.
The Jag Niwas, as the palace was named, was once the architectural muse for the Maharani of Udaipur, served as the summer palace to the Mewar dynasty. The Maharana of Jaipur, along with his devoted affection for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan also let the friendship reap an inspiration for this palace, from the incomparable architectural prowess buildings in Agra.
About the Palace
The Lake Palace has a series of courtyards that are aligned with numerous columns, terraces, beautiful fountains and well laid gardens.
The east facing palace was made in such a manner that the inhabitants could pray to the Sun God early in the morning. With its vantage position in the middle of the lake, it also served as a cool haven in the summers. Till date, the palace exhibits a grand impression with its exquisite patterns, sculptures, large columns and ornamental roof.
The inaccessibility with the vast Lake Pichola spread about it, adds to the charm of the structure.
Even though Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes, with five prominent lakes in the city, the Lake Palace has made the Pichola Lake the most famous destination. The other lakes to see are Fateh Sagar Lake, Rangsagar Lake, Swaroopsagar Lake and Dudh Talai Lake.
In the beginning of the 19th century, the weathered condition of the Lake Palace and the ardous upkeep began to show. This was true not only for this structure but the other lake based buildings too. This is when the palace went under a restoration process to bring back its former glory.
Lake Palace is now a luxury hotel, part of the Taj Hotels chain, consisting of 83 rooms and suites.
Non-guests are able to sometimes experience the magic of the palace during the quieter season when the hotel sometimes accepts outside reservations for lunch and dinner. The best way to get close to appreciate it’s glory is with a boat ride on Lake Pichola, a fantastic experience in itself. Boat rides depart hourly from Rameshwar Chat in the City Palace Gardens (adult/child Rs.200/100 or 30 minutues or Rs.300/150 for 1 hour). Please note prices are given as a guide only and are liable to change.
How to get there
Udaipur is well connected from the capital city of Delhi by train and flights. The airport is situated about 20 kms outside the city. The city lies on the Golden Quadrilateral National Highway and is well connected by road too. Once you are at the edge of the Lake Pichola, to take a boat to reach Lake Palace in Udaipur.
Best Time to Go
Though any season is made comfortable for a visitor, if you are planning to head out to other tourist destinations of Udaipur, the period of October to February is the best. It is worth coinciding your visit with the Shilpgram Festival which takes place in December, organised to promote art and craft of Rajasthan.
Other enticing sites to visit are Jag Mandir, Kumbalgarh Sanctuary, Bagore Ki Haveli, Shilpgram Museum, Ahar Museum, City Palace and Saheliyon Ki Bari.
Where to Stay
The premium price of actually staying at the Lake Palace may be beyond the reach of most travellers but the beauty of the lake and it’s surrounds can be enjoyed by all. Balunda House in Udaipur has four spacious suites, a lush lawn and two common areas for guests to enjoy and can help arrange sightseeing around the city.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.