This one is all about fan girl memories, Lake Palace was not my first choice for this vacation, a long holiday weekend with sky high airfares is what fated me here. Having stayed in a few other palace turned hotels I did not expect to be awed by this one.
One of the most photographed hotels in the world., guess there would be reasons for that.
Taj ensures this hotel is exclusive. Guests who are not staying here can’t come for just a meal or a drink. In the midst of lake Pichola, surrounded by Aravalli mountains the only way to reach here is by their own boat which has to be taken from their own exclusive jetty.
It was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, handed over to Taj in 1971 to be run as a hotel. Custodians to the heritage and not only the palace, they have surpassed their responsibility to preserve the traditions, everyone working here makes guest feel like royalty, pampered to the hilt. Not a single artifact, painting or carved ornate pillar has been changed. Rooms have been added seamlessly.
I guess the enthusiasm starts with the boatman who entertains with stories of the Palace and Udaipur. It’s a short ride to the Palace from the jetty but the momentum is built up.
Trivia : Udaipur has never been ruled by Mughals or British and the current king Maharaja Arvind Singh still owns a lot of property in Udaipur. Fateh Prakash and Lake Palace are owned by him and given on lease to Taj.
A spoilt pampered Indian, the arrival was not as grand as I expected, escorted under the royal umbrella to the reception with rose petals been showered , hmmmm the rose petals were too few and just for the records.
I had requested for a room near the reception as had a fractured ankle, the room I got was as close as possible with one wall which was a full window with a view of the lake and mountains. I thought I would not be able to tear myself away from this view but luckily better sense prevailed , I mean it is a Palace on an island which is actually just 4 acres so most places would have this stunning view. Tip: book a room with lake view.
Lake palace is not just about the beautiful lake and the surrounding mountain but also about the architecture, pure white marble, and at some places colorful glass from around the wall etched on the pillars adding color to the pristine white surrounding. A Lily pool, minus the lilies now is at the center of the Palace, where breakfast can be served. Trees and flowers all grown and placed perfectly. The antique paintings and intricately carved artifacts are placed so casually, I am sure each must be worth a mini fortune. It’s history preserved and shared.
After visual senses pampered to the hilt and guests want more, there is a open lounge where board games can be enjoyed, or maybe just spend hours reading and soaking in the ambience. A swimming pool which has a heart shaped tree shading it lovingly. A bar which has some special drinks which are borderline healthy ( maybe I am just trying to feel less guilty but that’s what they claim ) They have a multi cuisine restaurant, many of the tables here face the lake.
Evenings can be packed or at leisure, live musical and local dance performances, a tour of the palace, a boat ride on the lake with the boatman doubling up as a guide. If there is no private buyout the boat stops at Jag Mandir, it’s a small island with a café and gardens, Jag Mandir is let out for events and celebrations and is owned by the current Maharaja. Superbly maintained and with lots of photo ops. Don’t want to do any of these ? Just relax by the indoor courtyard of Lake Palace which has a flutist playing soothing notes every evening for an hour. The same flutist has been doing this from last 22 years.
Visuals sorted, entertainment taken care of, next it’s pampering probably the way mothers can. For me probably more so cause of my broken ankle. The restaurant manager noticing the injury had turmeric milk ready for me when I went for breakfast, will help bones heal better he advised with a knowing smile. A gentle look and helping hand were offered every time I needed to navigate a few steps. Initially not wanting to take help as wanted to be self reliant, at some point I gave up, I mean back in Mumbai no one would be indulging me.
Don’t know how they do it but every time I would enter the room there would be a different sweet placed on the table. All my books had new bookmarks placed inside.
I had not planned to blog this time as have written about Palace hotels and about Udaipur but this is about appreciating the wonderful heritage we have & which is being preserved so well. Its on a holiday like this that I feel so proud to be an Indian and can on borderline arrogance say no other country can match up to this hospitality and subtle grandeur.
3 thoughts on “Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India”
Loved the turmeric milk part… Such pampering is rare
Lovely pics of the palace
Being always in awe of Rajasthan and its beauty and grandeur , reading about The Lake Palace was simply invigorating and brought back old memories of our stay there. It was a pleasure to visit that place and would not mind visiting it again.
Me too Anjali, in awe of the legacy we Indians have. A lot of which has not been preserved the way it deserved to be.