It seemed only fitting that my tour of royal Rajasthan ended at the 5-star luxury hotel, Taj Lake Palace. Yes, it's a palace, or once was, and is floating in the middle of Udaipur's Lake Pichola with a full, expansive view of The City Palace. It was built in 1746 by the young ruler and prince Jagat Singh II. The Maharana built this as his own pleasure palace to stay away from the prying eyes of his day to day court. And pleasure it provides in spades.
When you get off the beautiful cherry wood boat, you're showered with rose petals from the sky. No, seriously. Roses cascade down from the top of the building on to you and your luggage. Guards then escort you under a sequin umbrella to the entrance for a refreshing fruit filled beverage.
Then there's the room. It was hard to leave with its cozy sitting nook overlooking the water, but then there are many other lovely areas to explore around the Taj Lake Palace. Everywhere you look there's different forms of water - the pool, a pond and the lake. It's hard not to relax here.
There's a nice sitting area around the spot that James Bond made famous in Octopussy. And of course there's the rooftop deck too for drinks and more fabulous views.
Seeing as we arrived in Udaipur at the end of our trip, we were all ready for some lighter fare, though the Thali served was exquisite with all the spices we had grown to love. We had great fun cooking alongside the chef's at the Taj Lake Palace. But on an evening off, the clear broth with chicken and vegetables was the most comforting dish I had seen in weeks. It hit the spot.
We did manage to tear ourselves away from the Taj Lake Place to go to the City Palace, the one we had been staring at all day. The City Palace took a scant 400 years to build, and reflects the successive kings of Mewar that added to it with different styles and architecture. It's a large complex that holds 2 hotels, a museum, school and to this day, the royal family actually still uses it as a summer house. We even got a quick sighting of a few family members during our visit.
There's a tragic story and subsequent room built because of it regarding the daughter of the ruler. She had dueling suitors who were both threatening war if she didn't marry them. She ended up drinking poison and ending her life.
In better news, there's some nice spots on in the City Palace Center to shop for handmade goods and gifts. You can even get measured for a custom fitted piece that comes together in hours or overnight.
Udaipur and the Taj Lake Palace were both a fitting end to my tour of Royal Rajasthan, but I still have one more stop in India. I couldn't leave without seeing the Taj Mahal now could I? Well, I almost did, but fear not, the grand finale Taj is up next.
Want to catch up on the rest of my trip through India? Have a look.