I had decided to pack my bags for the marvellous city of Udaipur and check out the great Rajputana city situated in Rajasthan. The city, hailed as one of the capitols of the region, was a fortress for the great king Maharana Pratap. Many battles were fought for this exquisite city of lakes. This is where the Rajputs fought with the Mughal invaders for supremacy. The Lake View Palace is in the middle of the great Pichola Lake in the midst of the Aravalli Hills. A marble white property run by the Taj group, this is the jewel of Udaipur. A one night stay costs Rs 30,000 per room per night. The hospitality, the décor, the exquisite paintings and the wall carvings that adorn the Lake View Palace bring to us the great heritage of Rajasthan, the land of kings and the maharajas. A flight from Delhi with a hop stop at Jaipur takes one to Udaipur. I suggest choosing Jet Airways or SpiceJet. The ticket cost me Rs 4500 all-inclusive. The flight can be a bit choppy though, but as you land in Udaipur, all your aches and pains will disappear. The city is much cooler than the rest of Rajasthan and very tranquil. Its tranquillity hits you immediately. The Lake Pichola shimmers in the sunlight as I was guided into a motorboat that took me to the white marble wonder situated in the middle of the lake.
The room rent is steep but this palace, now turned into a luxury hotel, is worth the rate it charges. The courtyards, the alleys and the balcony facing the lake add to its mystic flavour. The sunset can especially be very picturesque. I captured it to the fullest. The evenings were spent watching the traditional Ghagra dance performed in the courtyard of the palace hotel. The shimmering lake in front formed a perfect foil for the exquisite orange skyline that shone as the sunset at the Aravalli Hills.
I played chess with a few local friends of mine and also managed to capture a Palestinian beauty through my lens. The mornings were the most beautiful as I woke up to see the vast expanse of the lake. But it was the chirping of the birds at the courtyard that excited me the most as I wandered towards the fountain which threw jets of water into the man-made pond. Yes, this was the very spot where the famous Bond film Octopussy was shot with Kabir Bedi playing a Sardar and Roger Moore as James Bond 007. The movie made Lake Palace famous and it has been a favourite spot for many foreign tourists who thronged to Rajasthan. Some even dress up in the traditional Kurta and headgear to soak in the local flavour.
There is an ample flow of liquor and fine dining all in the trusted Taj style. I enjoyed Laal Maans, the traditional mutton delicacy of Rajasthan with lots of lime juice and lassi. But the lake is what kept me hooked. Evenings were the best when I took a boat ride around the lake and soaked in the fresh and tranquil air of Udaipur.