Reliving the past at Shiv Niwas Palace

At Shiv Niwas Palace, luxury comes cherried with unforgettable experiences, never experienced before riches, hospitality worth a million smiles, comfort worth longing for and an enviable view of Lake Pichola. The crescent shaped Shiv Niwas palace, built in the early 20th century, in the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh, is one of the two courteous hotels on the banks of the Lake Pichola. The hotel is clothed in authentic royal charm; a big palatial door leads you to the lobby area, with a cobbled path on the right leading you to the imposing City Palace and the left to an area where heritage rooms are decked up. The Shiv Niwas Palace was used as a royal residence and guest house for some time before being opened as a hotel by Maharana Bhagwat Singh in 1982. The hotel shot to fame not long after, being shot in the James Bond movie Octopussy. Bond stayed there on his way to Octopussy’s island. Fans will not have a tough time recognizing the magical patio area with the swimming pool where James Bond was shown relaxing in the movie.

FatehBagh Palace

The grandeur of the FatehBagh Palace evokes a subtle romanticism

I was lucky to be invited for a travel trip to Udaipur by the HRH group and stayed in one of their suits at Shiv Niwas Palace. A long winded road takes you to the entrance gate of this royal charm. The hotel has bagged three National Tourism Awards for best heritage hotel in the “Heritage Grand” category. A look at the hotel and you know your stay here, will be finely etched in your memory lanes. Shiv Niwas Palace takes you to the eras gone by.  It’s a time travel, living the romantics of those ages. Continue reading


Still shots Moving lives…

This June a short film called ‘The Mountain’ became the most viewed HD video on vimeo. It was probably our travel world’s first serious tryst with Timelapse photography. With 18 million views, it showed how easily still frames can wrangle thoughts, images and lives.  In India, we haven’t detoured on these paths of TimeLapse a lot, leaving aside some names and films and for obvious reasons some promotional videos. Courtesy to our hospitality partner Shiv Niwas Palace, HRH Hotels, Udaipur, we got a much needed space and reason to attempt our timelapse video on Udaipur.

Lake Palace, Udaipur

Lake Palace, Udaipur

TimeLapse Photography is a cinematography technique in which the frequency at which film frames are captured is much lower than the normal. Thus when the shot is replayed at normal speed, time seems to be moving faster and thus lapsing. Usually in TimeLapse photography, every second some 30 frames are captured, thus, a 2 minute video, would have around 3000 frames. Today timelapses are used throughout the world as a medium to present & showcase stories on a city, machinery or organisation within small duration of time.

Like any good photography technique, TimeLapse depends entirely on right timing and frame. I remember, having gone to the Karni Mata temple in Udaipur for three consecutive day, to get the right frame. And the prize was a nice sequence of shot of an evening scene of the Pichoula Lake with the Fateh Sagar palace in the background and the orange sky creating a mosaic silhouette. The shot was well complemented with a shot of the city in the fading twilight from the city palace, shot the next morning.

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Udaipur – where history still lives


I was in the regal city of Udaipur, a romantic destination, set amid lakes and dotted with palaces. The city, in its first look, appeared to me a regal creature of fashion. Living in the shadows of the largest palace in Rajasthan, the city displays a facade of colours, its busy touristy streets still live the dream of munificence of Mewar and culture has refused to die in the kaleidoscopic panorama, ramparts of history create here.

From the beginning the omens for this detour were good; packing the little known-about of the city, I headed towards my royal residence for three days – the Shivniwas Palace. Shiv Niwas palace built from 1559 A.D. onwards on the shore of the same lake is grandiose in style. I had a relaxed schedule of three days to stick to, with the hotel having charted out all my travel plans. The hotel was clothed in luxury; a big palatial door leads you to the lobby area, with a cobbled path on the right leading you to the imposing City Palace and the left leading you to an area where heritage rooms are decked up. The rooms offer a scene worthy of the sweetest prose—browns, rusts, Persian and olive merging on one rustic, earthy canvas that’s worth endless detours and revisits. The architectural features of the palace, pentagonal towers, splendid balustrades, decorative brackets, frilled arches and kiosks give it a royal look. I was sure, my hotel stay, was going to bring me royalty felt at home. Continue reading