Monday, November 1, 2010

The Taj Lake Palace

PD Photos: The Taj Lake Palace, a luxury hotel located on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur.

The Taj Lake Palace, formerly known as Jag Niwas Palace, is an unusual, unique luxury hotel of 83 rooms and suites, located on the Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India. It looks like a floating, huge palace in the middle of the lake.

The palace was built in the period 1743-46 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, the 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar, for use as his royal summer palace. The successive rulers also used the Lake Palace as their summer resort, holding their regal Durbars in its courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens.

The palace is set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake and lofty palaces on the other side. Built in marble, the walls are ornamented with arabesques of different colored stones as in the Taj Mahal at Agra.

During the reign of Bhopal Singh (1930-55) another pavilion, Chandra Prakash, was added. His successor Bhagwat Singh decided to convert the palace into Udaipur’s first luxury hotel.

In 1971, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces (collective name for The Indian Hotels Company Limited and its subsidiaries owned by the Tata Group) took over management of the hotel. The Royal Butlers, the descendants of the original palace butlers, look after the comforts of the hotel guests.

The Lake Palace was featured in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, as the floating palace of the fabulously wealthy woman Octopussy, played by Bond girl Maud Adams.

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