UDAIPUR, INDIA, January 27, 2018 — If the producers of the James Bond franchise determine that a particular location helps to tell their story, travelers can be certain those destinations are guaranteed to be luxurious exotic places to visit. Though Udaipur, India might not readily roll off the tongue, Roger Moore’s portrayal of 007 in the 13th edition of the Bond series titled “Octopussy” (1983) takes our favorite British spy to the “Venice of the East” for scenery, romance and, of course, plenty of action.
Udaipur: The City of Lakes
Also known as the “City of Lakes” and the “Kashmir of Rajasthan”, Udaipur was founded in 1553. It became a British princely state in 1818, partially accounting for its elegant architecture and stylish atmosphere before gaining independence in 1947.
Centrally situated roughly halfway between Delhi, approximately 410 miles to the north, and Mumbai which is about 500 miles south, Udaipur is well connected by air, rail and road to make it a popular tourist destination, especially among natives.’
Udaipur is known for its history and five major lakes, but it also contains massive forts, palaces, museums, galleries, gardens, and temples.
Just the sort of place James Bond would be drawn to for his majesty’s secret service endeavors.
Udaipur: The Oberoi Udaivilas
As might be expected, if 007 travels there, Udaipur boasts of some of the world’s most famous hotels. The Oberoi Udaivilas, for example, was rated the best hotel in Asia in 2017 by World Travel Awards.
Situated on the bank of Lake Pichola, the Oberoi Udaivilas stands on the 200-year-old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar, the Indian ruler who founded Udaipur in the 16th century.
Today the grounds include a 20-acre wildlife sanctuary.
The setting alone for the Taj Lake Palace, where guests arrive by boat is beguiling enough, but when the elephants and other sculptures lining the exterior are added in, it’s little wonder that visitors are hooked immediately.
Once the 18th-century royals summer palace, the elegant hotel is made of glistening white marble.
Public transportation in Udaipur remains typically Indian with riders hanging from the sides, windows and clinging to rooftops of local buses, but it’s all part of the ambiance.
Udaipur is a traveler’s paradise.
Located on the east bank of Lake Pichola visitors encounter the City Palace, a vast series of palatial buildings dating through the centuries from 1550. Known The main entrance is a triple-arched gate.
Kesariyaji Temple features 52 pinnacles that make it visible from afar. It is lovingly dedicated to oft-forgotten Lord Rishabh Dev, the first Jain Tirthankara.
According to Jain, a Tirthankara is a rare spiritual leader and teacher who has conquered the samsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on his own and made a path for others to follow.
With numerous other temples and shrines, Udaipur requires a minimum of two days to take in all the attractions.
Udaipur: From Kipling to Bond
Rudyard Kipling used Udaipur as the birthplace of, his fictional panther Bagheera in the King’s Menagerie in the classic novel “The Jungle Book.”
The name may not be recognizable in the book at first. Kipling’s reference to Udaipur is “Oodeypore.”
Other sites include Sahelion ki Bari, a major garden filled with fountains, kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. A popular tourist attraction, the garden was built for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who came to Udaipur as part of a princess’ dowry.
In 2002, Vetern Sangh Pracharak. the Veer Shiromani Maharana Pratap Samiti began a project to provide more detailed information about Maharan Pratap, the founder of Udaipur.
The group purchased land at Tiger Hill in 2007 and built the impressive Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirtha with its main attraction being the 57-foot high metal statue of Maharana Pratap.
With sacred cows strolling through the streets, local riders clinging to the tops of buses and the typical chaos of humanity that is India all combined in a setting of exquisite beauty, Udaipur is a James Bond location that will definitely leave travelers “stirred but not shaken.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor that now focuses on writing about international events, people, and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime
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