Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Lake Palace

Lake Palace

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Lake Palace'
Start a new discussion about 'Lake Palace'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

Lake Palace is a luxury hotel
Hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

, of 83 rooms and suites featuring white marble walls, located on a natural foundation of 4 acres (16,187.4 m²) rock on the Jag Niwas island in Lake Pichola
Lake Pichola
Lake Pichola, situated in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is an artificial fresh water lake, created in the year 1362 AD, named after the nearby Picholi village. It is one of the several contiguous lakes, and developed over the last few centuries in and around the famous Udaipur city...

, Udaipur
Udaipur
Udaipur , also known as the City of Lakes, is a city, a Municipal Council and the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district in the state of Rajasthan in western India. It is located southwest of the state capital, Jaipur, west of Kota, and northeast from Ahmedabad...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.
The hotel operates a boat which transports guests to the hotel from a jetty at the City Palace. It has been voted as the most romantic hotel in India.

History


It was built in 1743- 1746 under the direction of the Maharani(62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar) of Udaipur, Rajasthan
Udaipur, Rajasthan
Udaipur , also known as the City of Lakes, is a city, a Municipal Council and the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district in the state of Rajasthan in western India. It is located southwest of the state capital, Jaipur, west of Kota, and northeast from Ahmedabad...

 as a royal summer palace and was initially called Jagniwas or Jan Niwas after its founder.
The Maharana, ruler of Jaipur from 1628 to 1654, was very friendly with Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and encouraged his craftsmen to copy some of the glories of his incomparable buildings at Agra. The palace was constructed facing east, allowing its inhabitants to pray to the Sun god at the crack of dawn. The successive rulers used this cool haven as their summer resort, holding their regal durbars in its courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens.

The upper room of the palace is a perfect circle and is about 21 feet (6.4 m) in diameter. Its floor is inlaid with black and white marbles, the walls are ornamented with niches and decorated with arabesques of different coloured stones in the same style as the Taj at Agra, though the patterns are Hindu and dome is exquisitely beautiful in form. A room built of 12 enormous slabs of marble, Shah Jahan’s throne sculptured from a single block of serpentine and the little mosque dedicated to Kapuria Baba, a Muhammedan Saint, are other objects of interest on the island.

During the famous Indian Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 several European families fled from Nimach and used the island as an asylum, offered to them by Maharana Swaroop Singh. In order to protect his guests the Rana destroyed all the town’s boats so that the rebels could not reach the island.

By the latter half of the 19th century time and weather took their toll on the extraordinary water palaces of Udaipur. Pierre Loti
Pierre Loti
Pierre Loti was a French novelist and naval officer.-Biography:Loti's education began in his birthplace, Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. At the age of seventeen he entered the naval school in Brest and studied at Le Borda. He gradually rose in his profession, attaining the rank of captain in 1906...

, a French writer, described Jag Niwas as "slowly mouldering in the damp emanations of the lake." About the same time two colonial bicyclists, Fanny Bullock Workman
Fanny Bullock Workman
Fanny Bullock Workman was an American geographer, cartographer, explorer, and mountaineer, notably in the Himalayas. She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and usually travelled in conjunction with her husband Dr. William Hunter Workman...

 and her husband William Hunter Workman, were distressed by the ‘cheap and tasteless style’ of the interiors of the water palaces with "an assortment of infirm European furniture, wooden clocks, coloured glass ornaments, and children’s toys, all of which seems to the visitor quite out of place, where he would naturally expect a dignified display of Eastern splendour."
Built by SAKSHI SHAH

The reign of Bhopal Singh (1930–55) saw the addition of another pavilion, Chandra Prakash, but otherwise the Jag Niwas remained unaltered and decaying. Geoffrey Kendal
Geoffrey Kendal
Geoffrey Kendal was an English actor-manager.Born Richard Geoffrey Bragg in Kendal, Westmorland, he took the name of his place of birth as his surname. He married the actress Laura Liddell...

, the noted theatre personality, described the palace during his visit in the 1950s as "totally deserted, the stillness broken only by the humming of clouds of mosquitoes."

Bhagwat Singh decided to convert the Jag Niwas Palace into Udaipur’s first luxury hotel. Didi Contractor, an American artist, became a design consultant to this hotel project. Didi’s accounts gives an insight to the life and responsibility of the new maharana of Udaipur: "I worked from 1961 to 1969 and what an adventure! His Highness, you know, was a real monarch – really like kings always were. So one had a sense of being one of the last people to be an artist for the king. It felt the way one imagines it was like working in the courts of the Renaissance. It was an experience of going back in time to an entirely different era, a different world. His Highness was actually working on a shoestring. He wasn’t in dire straits, mind you, but when he came to the throne he inherited big problems like what to do with the 300 dancing girls that belonged to his predecessor [Maharana Bhopal Singh]. He tried to offer them scholarships to become nurses but they didn’t want to move out of the palace so what could he do? He had to keep them. They were old crones by this time and on state occasions I remember they would come to sing and dance with their ghunghats [veils] down and occasionally one would lift hers to show a wizened old face underneath. and he had something like twelve state elephants. and he had all these properties which were deteriorating. The buildings on Jag Niwas were starting to fall down and basically the Lake Palace was turned into a hotel because it seemed the only viable way that it could be maintained … It was really a job of conservation."

In 1971, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces took over management of the hotel and added another 75 rooms. Jamshyd D. F. Lam of the Taj Group was one of the key people involved in the restoration of the original property, bringing it to such high standards with his work and experience.

In 2000, a second restoration was undertaken.

The "Royal Butlers" working in the hotel are descendants of the original palace retainers.

Trivia


As both royal abode and luxury hotel, the Taj Lake Palace has captured the affection of the likes of Lord Curzon, Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier was an English actress. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire , a role she also played on stage in London's West End, as well as for her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark...

, Queen Elizabeth and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
The palace was a central feature in the 1983 James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film Octopussy
Octopussy
Octopussy is the thirteenth entry in the James Bond series, and the sixth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's title is taken from a short story in Ian Fleming's 1966 short story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights...

, as the home of titular character Octopussy
Octopussy
Octopussy is the thirteenth entry in the James Bond series, and the sixth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's title is taken from a short story in Ian Fleming's 1966 short story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights...

 (played by Maud Adams
Maud Adams
Maud Solveig Christina Wikström , known professionally as Maud Adams, is a Swedish actress, known for her roles as two different Bond girls: in The Man with the Golden Gun , and as the title character in Octopussy .-Early life:Adams was born Maud Solveig Christina Wikström in Luleå, Sweden, the...

) and also a central feature in the 1984 British television
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 series The Jewel in the Crown as guest house of the Nawab of Mirat.