Floating like a white ship amid the turquoise water of the Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace, built of white marble and located on the man-made island of Jag Niwas, is one of the most romantic and picturesque palaces In the world. Stretching across the four-acre island and built between 1743 and 1746, the magnificent marble palace, with its long courtyards, pillared terraces, gardens and fountains was designed and constructed by Jagat Singh II, the Maharana of the Mewar Kingdom, who succeeded his father Sangram Singh II. Built as a summer palace and initially named as Jag Niwas after the name of the Maharana, the magnificent palace was constructed facing east, the direction of the rising Surya, the Sun God in Hindu mythology, from which the Sisodiya clan is said to have descended.
It is said that the palace was constructed by the Maharana to invite the beautiful amoral young ladies of Udaipur in moonlit picnics, as a palace in the centre of a lake would offer a lot more privacy than the City Palace.
However, the successive rulers used the palace as their summer resort and hold their royal court or durbar in its courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens, since during the scorching summer days of Rajasthan, the Lake Palace offered a naturally cool atmosphere.
According to popular legend, as Sangram Singh II put a stop to his son’s moonlight picnics with the ladies of his Zenana Mahal, Jagat Singh II constructed his own pleasure palace, the Lake Palace, the foundation of which was laid in 1743 and inaugurated in 1746. The gracefully attractive view of the lake and the presence of the awe-inspiring Aravalli Range on a side add to the dignified beauty of Lake Palace, creating a dreamlike impression. While the long courtyards, pillared terraces, gardens and fountains, even every nook and corner of the palace evidence royal pomp and splendour, the intricate stone works, arches and pavilions inlaid with stone, gilt moulding and mirrorsadorning the palace accentuate its charm.
The walls of the Lake Palace, complete with beautiful niches, are made of black and white marbles and are adorned by semi-precious coloured arabesques stones, while the dome is exquisitely beautiful in form. Strangely, although the design of the palace followed the Mewari style of architecture, its walls, made of black and white marbles, were ornamented with glasswork and stonework in Arabic style.
Like many other palaces around the world, the Lake Palace is also equipped with several special rooms, known as Khush Mahal, Bada Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, Dhola Mahal and Phool Mahal. All those royal rooms are richly adorned with aesthetically carved arches, paintings, crystal work, stained glass work, inland stones of pink and green lotus leaves.
After serving many generations of the royal family, the eighteenth-century Lake Palace, a real-life jewel in Lake Pichola, was turned into a hotel following the orders of Bhagwat Singh in the 1960s, who engaged Didi Contractor, an American artist, as a design consultant to the hotel project. The new Lake Palace Hotel with its 5 star rating was managed by Maharana Mahendra Singh till 1971, when it was taken over by the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.
Set in the middle of the lake and equipped with 65 rooms and 18 suites, the luxurious Lake Palace hotel in Udaipur, under the chain-line of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, is one of the romantic hotels in the world, offering world-class amenities to its guests. The guests are ferried from the mainland by private boats and taken to the elegant interiorwith immaculate hospitality.
Apart from the premium hotel, the palace also houses a museum, displaying a fine collection of royal artefacts and antiques.