Palaces of the past
away. An attentive steward provides chilled water, refreshing hand towels, an Ayurvedic rose facial toning spray and cucumber slices to soothe my eyes.
A unique feature of the Taj Lake Palace’s pool area is the elevated jacuzzi, which is contained within a small gazebo suspended over the water and allows guests to soak while seemingly floating in the lake. Tempting as it is to stay within the blissful luxury of the hotel, I venture out to see the famed sights of the Venice of the East.
Back on shore on the east bank of Lake Pichola, the City Palace is just a few minutes away from the Taj Lake Palace’s dock. I amble up a hill to view the extensive complex, which constitutes the City Palace.
Built in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh, the colossal structure fuses Rajput and Mughal architecture and is the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. In accordance with the sun-worshipping customs of the maharana, it faces East. The interior of the palace is a maze of rooms large and small, narrow corridors and staircases. Beautiful decorative tiles and objects populate some rooms, while others are set up to offer various historical titbits.
Large windows from the top floor offer panoramic views of the urban sprawl of Udaipur – a stark contrast to the spacious luxury of the palaces of the past.
The Monsoon Palace, made famous in recent history by the James Bond film Octopussy, is a striking structure high above Udaipur in the Aravalli hills. Originally known as Sajjan Garh Palace, it was built in 1884 and used to track the monsoon clouds, from which the current name is derived.
Jutting above the city, sweeping views of Udaipur’s lakes and lush countryside can be had from the palace’s grounds. I can only imagine the anticipation felt by those on