Sunday, March 1, 2009

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

Taj Lake Palace is a luxury hotel, of 83 rooms and suites featuring white marble walls, located on a natural foundation of 4 acres (16,000 m2) rock on the Jag Niwas island in Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India. The hotel operates a boat which transports guests to the hotel from a jetty at the City Palace.

It was built in 1743- 1746 under the direction of the Maharana Jagat Singh II (62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar) of Udaipur, Rajasthan as a royal summer palace and was initially called Jaginwas or Jan Niwas after its founder. The Maharana, ruler of Jaipur from 1628 to 1654, was very friendly with Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and encouraged his craftsmen to copy some of the glories of his incomparable buildings at Agra. The palace was constructed facing east, allowing its inhabitants to pray to the Sun god at the crack of dawn. The successive rulers used this cool haven as their summer resort, holding their regal durbars in its courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens.

The upper room of the palace is a perfect circle and is about 21 feet (6.4 m) in diameter. Its floor is inlaid with black and white marbles, the walls are ornamented with nich├ęs and decorated with arabesques of different coloured stones in the same style as the Taj at Agra, though the patterns are Hindu and dome is exquisitely beautiful in form.

n 1971, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces took over management of the hotel and added another 75 rooms. In 2000, a second restoration was undertaken. The "Royal Butlers" working in the hotel are descendents of the original palace retainers.







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