Chasing Octopussy on a Sunset Boat Ride in Udaipur

by Sandra Foyt on September 14, 2012

in Travel Ideas

My daughter is a HUGE James Bond fan. She’s seen all the movies, read most of the books, delved into the history, and made a study of the subject at the spy museum. When Kayla learned that Octopussy, the 1983 James Bond classic starring Roger Moore, was filmed in Udaipur, well, she had to go looking for the film setting in the City of Lakes. Octopussy takes poetic license with geography, placing James Bond in sight of the City of Lakes from a vantage point in the Taj Majal. And yet, the connection is not so far fetched. Supposedly,  Emperor Shah Jahan lived in exile for some time, and was inspired by the white marble beauty of Jag Mandir. Sunset Boat Ride on Lake Pichola

Lake Pichola

According to legend, Lake Pichola  was built in 1362 AD by a gypsy “Banjara” tribesman who transported grain. Later Maharana Udai Singh constructed a dam extending the lake and creating the city of Udaipur on its banks. Lake Pichola is one of several contiguous lakes, hence Udaipur’s nickname, the City of Lakes. Today, visitors can tour the lake – and the island palaces – on a one-hour boat ride departing from City Palace throughout the day, or for an additional fee, they can go on the Sunset Boat Ride. Jag Mandir - Udaipur, India

Jag Mandir

In the spring, Jag Mandir hosts some of the most opulent royal weddings, easily able to handle up to 5000 guests. But on the evening that we visited, we practically had the courtyard garden to ourselves. After circuiting the lake, the ferry dropped us off at Jag Mandir, telling us that a ferry would be by very 20 minutes so that we could hop aboard and finish the boat ride at our leisure. Some visitors use that opportunity to dine at Jag Mandir, but we just took advantage of the restroom facilities and the photo opps. I couldn’t remember if the life-sized elephant sculptures were visible in Octopussy, but if not, they should be. Since Kayla couldn’t remember either, I took full advantage to suggest that James Bond had been there.

Jag Mandir elephant

Jagniwas – Taj Lake Palace

If I had realized that we could have stayed at the Taj Lake Palace Hotel – on the very site where Octopussy was filmed – I might have booked a room for the night. As it was, visitors are only allowed if they’re staying at the hotel or dining onsite. We weren’t able to arrange either option. Instead, we spied on other visitors arriving at the landing dock enroute to the island palace.

Taj Lake Palace dock

And we had a pretty good view of the Taj Lake Palace exterior from our Sunset Boat Ride.

Taj Lake Palace - Udaipur, India

It wasn’t enough for Kayla. She has vowed to return someday, just to stay at the Octopussy island. And I’m grateful that our family travels have inspired her to keep on traveling.

| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email:, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

Steve September 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm

You might want to be careful though. If she’s going to start following James Bond around the world there could be issues. Moonraker for one.
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Sandra Foyt September 16, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thanks for your concern, Steve, but I’d be more scared for the arch villains. Kayla is a tough cookie.

Lisa September 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I don’t know anything about James Bond but the views from that boat ride look spectacular – would love to get to India someday!
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Sandra Foyt September 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Lisa, I highly recommend visiting Udaipur if you do go to India!

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