Octopussy-ville

UDAIPUR
Part of the James Bond movie “Octopussy” was filmed in Udaipur, India, in 1983. Filmmakers must have been impressed with the city’s crowd jewel, the Taj Lake Palace, a true architectural gem that sits out on beautiful Lake Pichola. I wasn’t surprised: it really is a stunning sight, one that causes an initial reaction of “woah” followed by about 30 seconds of snapping photos.

Today, the inclusion of the palace in a Bond film is a point of pride for the locals. Almost every hostel, hotel, restaurant, bar and public venue shows the film on a nightly basis, usually around 7 or 7:30 p.m.

The palace is off limits to tourists, but at $880 to as high as $3,000 a night I wouldn’t want the camera-totting masses ruining a calm evening on the lake either. And so I photographed it from various shore locations and a few times on the lake by boat.

At night, the palace shined like a pearl on glassy waters, tempting those on shore. I was content with my tiny lake-side haveli and room with a view — although I did do a quick check of my financials to see if a night at the palace was possible (it wasn’t).

MORNING GLOW: I arrived by train in the wee hours of the morning. It couldn’t have been a better time: the morning light was perfect for taking photos of the lake shore


HAVELI HOME: The haveli I stayed in sat right next to the lake and provided a stunning view. The hollowed out interior was nice too


BACK AGAIN: Yet another Guy Fawkes sighting


CLOSE TO SHORE: A Jain temple next to Lake Pichola


SCRATCHING AN ITCH: A cow scratches his head on a motorbike


NIGHT DESCENDS: As the sun set, it cast a farewell glow over the lake


SAND MASK: Dressed like a bandit, this biker wore a rag around his face to keep out the dust blowing around Udaipur


THE PEARL GLOWS: Taj Lake Palace as seen [with envious eyes] from shore

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