Relaxing at the Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

I didn’t regret my decision to stay at the Lake Palace because, wherever I turned to look, I could see paradise. In the James Bond film, Octopussy, where the world was falling to pieces, nothing reflected the sense of delicious tranquility I was surrounded with, and I wondered how the Maharajah could have given his permission for the shooting.

I was walking in a labyrinth of extreme beauty: serene interior gardens; shady, covered verandahs; cool, marble loggias. I’d climb up small towers and descend into yet another garden, where I ended up swinging on a sofa. On either side were a pair of marble urns with rose petals floating prettily in the water. They had been placed with such care and precision that one rose petal was not mixed up with another of a different colour.

The Lake Palace courtyard, Udaipur

The Lake Palace courtyard, Udaipur

I asked myself what would happen if I put my hand in the water and gave things a stir. Would the rose petals cry out in anger? Or would they remain calm knowing that, eventually, the hand of a gardener would be by to look after them?  I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, swinging all the while. With my second breath, the rose petals entered within me and I let their calming influence fill me. 

It was all so easy. A single moment in time had replaced five years of psycho-analysis. Later, I went to sit by the pool to write in my travel journal:  My World of Great Beauties. I began the chapter, but it wasn’t about the wonderful things I was discovering in India, but about the wonderful things I was discovering within myself. As I was writing, I noticed a bouganvillea next to me, whose flowers were falling into the lake: a most unusual sight...

An excerpt from the book: INDIA and my Persian garden

The Lake Palace, Udaipur

The Lake Palace, Udaipur

Barbara Athanassiadis