Several of Udaipir’s opulent palaces appear in James Bond classic in Octopussy. The residence of 007 himself, Shiv Niwas Palace sits within the City Palace Complex on the banks of Lake Pichola. Built during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh in the early 20th Century, it’s now a five-star hotel – just like Taj Lake Palace, which features as Octopussy’s home and is where Bond first catches a glimpse of the siren bathing in the pool. A former royal residence dating back to 1746, this exotic white marble ‘Floating Palace’ sits on an island in the lake. Stop here for a glass of Champagne on the terrace overlooking the lake and City Palace or book a floating spa treatment on the Jiva Spa, which boasts an onboard Jacuzzi and hammam.
Perched proudly atop another of Lake Pichola’s islands are Jag Mandir Palace and its iconic elephant statues, which also feature in the film; while Monsoon Palace, where Bond is held hostage by the evil Kamal Khan, stands high up on a hill overlooking the city. The hills surrounding the palace are the scene for the high-octane chases that ensue. Other Bond sights include the Vintage Car Museum, which houses the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II used in the film. Popular culture aside, take a romantic stroll through the Saheliyon-Ki-Bari ‘Garden of the Maids’, admire Jagdish Temple and Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple’s intricate Hindu engravings and uncover a rich history at Kumbalgarh Fort.
Udaipur is known for its traditional crafts and miniature paintings, as well as Rajasthan’s colourful wall hangings embroidered with sequins and jewels. The streets around the Clock Tower, Lake Palace Road, Bad Bazaar and Hathi Pol Bazaar are the main shopping areas to explore. Celebration Mall, on the outskirts of the city, offers Western brands including Biba and Adidas along with a cinema.
Lakeside palace views and candlelight combine to make Udaipur’s top restaurants a cut above the rest. Neel Kamal at Taj Lake Palace is the most resplendent, serving up a dinner-only menu of Indian delicacies. Aravali Lakeview at Radisson Blu, Ambrai restaurant and the rooftop restaurant at Udai Kothi also serve up fine dining with a view.
For the most romantic trip to this palatial city, contact our team and we’ll arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Udaipur, landing at Maharana Pratap Airport.