INDIA – Udaipur, Jagmandir Island // Octopussy (1983)
When it comes to “Octopussy” everybody knows the luxury Taj Lake Palace on Jagniwas Island. But there is a second island – further south – which also played an important role in the movie.
Why Bond was here
James Bond (Roger Moore) travels to India to meet with the mysterious occultist Octopussy (Maud Adams). She resides on a small island on shimmering Lake Pichola, an artificial lake surrounded by the romantic city Udaipur. Octopussy’s island is populated exclusively by strong women – her own Indian version of the Greek Amazons. In reality the movie island is combined by two real islands: The interiors had been filmed in the exclusive gardens of the Taj Lake Palace hotel, while the exteriors are Jagmandir Island.
Entering Jagmandir Island is not too easy. Some tourist companies offer boat rides along Lake Pichola – but only one is allowed to anchor at the island. It is Gangaur Boat Cruise, that departs from the jetty near the City Palace. Since the palace area is privately owned, no other boat operators are allowed in.
To get into the palace complex, you have to pay a small entry fee – 30 Rupees – or you are free to roam, if you are guest of either the Taj Lake Palace hotel or the other Bond hotel from the movie, the Shiv Niwas Palace. Once inside, the jetty is down the road from Shiv Niwas Palace to the right. A boat ride in the morning is 400 Rupees, the sunset ride after 3 pm is 700 Rupees. You can exit at Jagmandir Island and board a later returning boat at any given time.
Good to know
The boat trip will circle Jagniwas Island, where the Taj Lake Palace is situated. Since the island is off limits for non-hotel guests, the boat trip is your best chance to take a glimpse. (Though we highly recommend one night at the Bond hotel!)
When you come close to Jagmandir Island, you will recognize its entrance from the movie: It is flanked by a row of enormous stone elephants. On the island itself is an ornate bluestone 17th-century tower, the Gol Mahal, and a lush park to take a nice stroll. Also enjoy the view at Udaipur and its mosaic of marble houses.
You want more then just a short visit? Jagmandir Island is a hot spot for lovers – and offers some small hide aways. There is a small hotel with just seven rooms, a nice restaurant and bar and also the Panghat spa open to visitors. The spa follows the tradition of 400 years of water treatment on the once royal island.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 1983 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)