INDIA – Udaipur, Jagdish Temple // Octopussy (1983)
Jagdish Temple is the heart of Udaipur, the spiritual and economic hub of the city. Bond only rushed through in a rickshaw chase – but you should take your time.
Why Bond was here
James Bond (Roger Moore) travels to Udaipur, India’s no. 1 honeymoon destination, to hunt down a smuggling enterprise run by wealthy Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) and mysterious occultist Octopussy (Maud Adams). Udaipur lies at the shore of Lake Pichola, a beautiful artificial lake that helped Udaipur earning the status of being “the Venice of India”.
Bond and Kamal Khan meet at the casino of beautiful Shiv Niwas Palace hotel and become enemies right away. When Khan sends his henchmen to kill Bond, he escapes with a rickshaw – a cat and mouse hunt in the small alleys around Jagdish Temple begins.
Jagdish Temple is both Udaipurs spiritual and economic hub. Believers come to lay down flowers, monks sit in the shades of big elephant statues and busy street vendors try to sell vegetables and garments nearby. The temple is part of the City Palace complex and can be found down Jagdish Chowk road coming from the royal palace. Rickshaws run from all parts of the city, but walking is also just fine – both the palace and the Gangaur Ghat riverside – where Bond arrived at in the movie – are just some minutes away.
Good to know
Jagdish Temple is a three-storied temple in Indo-Aryan style architecture. With its big stair it dominates the market square, marble elephants guard the entry. Inside, you will find beautifully carved pillars, decorated ceilings and painted walls.
Scenes of the rickshaw chase had been filmed in front of the temple – particularly one stunt, where Bond jumps over a camel with his rickshaw. Additional scenes had been staged at City Palace Road and Gadiya Devra Marg – the road, that leads from Jagdish Temple down to Gangaur Ghat. The action scenes with the fakir and the cheering crowd had been filmed at the square in front of the ghats ancient gate.
The whole area between Jagdish Temple and Gangaur Ghat is a touristic hub, the roads are filled with restaurants and cafés. As Octopussy had a big impact on the city, many rooftop cafés offer daily movie screenings after sunset. A good choice is “Shyam Café”, run by owner Kailash. From his rooftop every location from the movie is visible: be it the islands on Lake Pichola, the Jagdish Temple or the far away Monsoon Palace.
To get a glimpse of the daily temple life, go to the backside of the area. To the right is a small passage to the courtyard, where the Brahmin live and organize. They always invite you in for a tea and tell you about the temple past. But be polite to ask them before you take photographs.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3,4), © 1983 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)