Created in 1362, centuries before Udaipur was established, the freshwater Lake Pichola is surrounded by beautiful old palaces, temples, and homes, many dating back hundreds of years. The whitewashed Lake Palace that is situated on an island in the north part of the lake is now a hotel run by the luxury Taj Group.
Lake Pichola sits at the heart of old Udaipur, and is accessible from various points along its shores. There are four islands within the lake, including the island where the Lake Palace is located; Jag Mandir, with a palace of the same name; the tiny Mohan Mandir; and Arsi Vilas. Virtually all city tours pass by the lake, and many feature boat rides or sunset cruises on their itineraries.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Lake Pichola is a must-visit for photographers and history lovers.
- Remember insect repellent, sunscreen, and a hat.
- Boat rides may not be wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Lake Pichola sits at the heart of Udaipur's old town, and it's impossible to avoid seeing it if you're visiting major attractions such as the City Palace, Jagdish Temple, or Chand Pol Bazaar. Those who can afford it may want to consider spending the night at the Taj Lake Palace Hotel, which is on a small island right in the middle of the lake and is accessible only by boat.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Udaipur is between November and February, when temperatures are lower. However, if you can stand a bit of heat and humidity and want to see Lake Pichola at its fullest, September is the best month to visit, just after the monsoon rains have subsided. The hottest months are May and June, while the monsoon from late June through August can make the city feel gloomy.
James Bond in Udaipur
Lake Pichola is perhaps best known as one of the shooting locations for the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, which is screened regularly in restaurants across Udaipur to this day. The Lake Palace figures prominently in the film, and it’s here that Octopussy’s lair is purportedly located.