Once the summer palace of the Maharana of Udaipur, Rajasthan, the beautiful Lake Palace in Udaipur was an opulent getaway reserved exclusively for family and guests.
Now under the management of Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, you and your spouse can experience amazing India at the Taj Lake Palace, one of the most famous honeymoon destinations, in Udaipur, Rajasthan, which is often called the Venice of the East because of its wealth of elegantly preserved Rajput palaces.
His Royal Highness, Arvind Singh Mewar, the current Maharana of Udaipur, has fond memories of his time in the palace. “As children, we were always very excited at the prospect of moving to the Lake Palace because of its exceptional unique and tranquil ambience.”
On reaching the shores of the lake by speedboat, you are greeted with a shower of rose petals. Then, allow yourself to be enchanted by the view of the lake and majestic mountains circling it. The white marble Taj Lake Palace seems to rise out of the azure waters of Lake Pichola – said to be the most beautiful lake in Udaipur – from its island location. Set against the majestic Aravallis, the oldest fold mountains in the country, it was built in 1746, for the royal dynasty of Mewar.
The central courtyard – with its shimmering ponds and sparkling fountain – serves as the heart of the palace and is surrounded by carved arches, facades and hotel rooms.
Inside, the palace features stunning Indian architecture and a myriad details – from intricately patterned mosaics and lavish murals in a rainbow of spicy hues, to beautifully carved panels. Accommodation is available in luxury rooms, suites and standard rooms furnished in rich fabrics and beautiful antiques.
Take the Chandra Prakash Suite. The name means “Lustre of the Moon” and the decorative gilt mouldings, sculpted marble columns and fine fretwork screens are so majestic, a maharaja held court in the very room back in the 1930s.
In fact, every room and space exudes a glorious history of old world romance and pageantry that is spectacular enough for beautiful bridal shoots.
With rooms once graced by royalty, it is hard not to feel like royalty yourself once you discover the pampering treats that await you. Indulge in royal Mewar fare at the Lily Pond, where courtesans used to welcome royalty into the folds of the palace.
The Lily Pond, where courtesans once welcomed royalty into the folds of the palace.
Sail into a purple sunset as you dine on the 150-year old royal Gangaur ceremonial barge complete with resplendently dressed oarsmen. Or indulge in a heritage walk with a royal escort bearing caviar and bubbly. In this royal fantasy, anything is possible!
FIT FOR A KING
Here’s what you absolutely must try during your stay in the Taj Lake Palace.
Take the Gangaur Cruise
Sip your favourite cocktail to live instrumental music and enjoy sumptuous delicacies from a live grill as the illuminated imperial barge of the house of Mewar glides across Lake Pichola.
Indulge yourself aboard the Jiva Spa Boat
As the name signifies, the Jiva Spa menu nurtures your “jiva” or “life force” with natural products developed from Indian herbs, essential oils and special ingredients, as well as yoga and meditation.
Take a regal vintage car drive
Such cars were symbols of wealth and the position of Mewar’s royal family. Enjoy a leisurely hour-long drive around the city of lakes as you sip on wine. Now, that’s an experience we’d like to live through again.
Time for more excitement
If you want some outdoor excitement while in Udaipur, sign up for a jeep safari, wildlife trekking by the royal hunting lodge, or tour the magnificent mountains surrounding Rajasthan’s most picturesque city.
THE ROYAL TREATMENT
There’s no better way to celebrate your newlywed status than in a deluxe setting with spectacular views. Here, the Grand Royal Suites we enjoyed during our stay:
Khush Mahal: This once served as the maharani’s chambers. Tucked away in the rear of the palace, an antique swing, suspended by decorative gleaming brass chains, invites you to enjoy the charm of its understated elegance.
Sarva Ritu: Also known as the All Seasons Suite, the interiors are embellished with decorative wooden headboards, a brilliant Waterford crystal chandelier and engravings. The partially-open pavilion allows you to savour views of the lake and mountains in complete privacy.
Kamal Mahal: Also known as the Lotus Palace, the pristine beauty of the suite with its artefacts, paintings, including a Pichwais (a revered, hand-painted cloth traditionally crafted in Nathdwara for display behind idols), is warm and welcoming.
Sajjan Niwas: Built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1874, you’ll be charmed by the lamps, mosaics, traditional cloth fans and intricate furniture. Frescoes of Hindu deity Krishna decorate the bedroom where the terrace opens onto the lake with great views of Jagmandir Island and Aravallis.
Mayur Mahal: Inspired by the blue, green and bronze plumage of a peacock – traditionally regarded as a symbol of royalty, love, fertility and the rains – the suite’s walls are embellished with glass mosaic peacock motifs and coloured glass window panels that change the mood in the room as the light shifts.
The Her World Brides team flew to Udaipur with Jet Airways. For hotel bookings, contact the Taj Lake Hotel’s Singapore office at 6732-1789.
This article was originally published in Her World Brides June – August 2013.