An artificial lake was made as the setting for the famous Lake Palace. Its inclusion in the James Bond file Octopussy added to its fame. The palace was originally known as Jaginwas after its founder Maharana Jagjit Singh (r 1628 - 1654) who was friendly with Shah Jahan. The courtyards, fountains and gardens were developed as the setting for durbars and other celebrations. The palace is now a luxury hotel. In some years the lake is full. In other years it dries up. The courtyard gardens which form the heart of the hotel are lush but suffer from the need to accommodate the guests' taste for outdoor partying. The fretwork-pattern pools look wonderful in the old photographs. Now they are often boarded with decks. But in a hot, dry and dusty land there is no denying the charm of blue water, white marble and lush greenery. Visitors daunted by the rack rate for rooms can phone a day or two in advance to book lunch or dinner and see the gardens (this costs less than the entry fee to some European gardens).
Taj Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Udaipur - 313 001, India, Rajasthan