Jal Mahal, or the Water Palace, is situated at the centre of a lake called the Man Sagar Lake in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan. It was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh and restored by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the 18th Century. Thousands of tourists visit this palace every year to enjoy the exquisite view and natural beauty. From the edge of the lake, one can hire the Rajput-style boats built by the boat makers of Vrindavan, and gently sail to the palace.
History and Architecture
In the 16th Century, the area of the lake was a natural depression where water used to accumulate. Later on, the onslaught of a harsh draught led the rulers to build a dam on the area to preserve and restore water. Thus, the lake was formed and the palace was renovated to give it back its original look.
The palace of Jal Mahal reflects the confluence of the Mughal and Rajputana styles of architecture. This five-storeyed building is made of red sandstone, out of which only the top floor is fully exposed and hence visible, while the others are submerged in water. The well decorated hallways and huge chambers on the first floor will delight tourists before they climb upstairs to see the most beautiful part of Jal Mahal. The roofs and walls contain paintings that narrate tales of the Rajput kings. There is a rectangular chattri on the roof, done in Bengali-like architecture, whereas the chattris on the corners are semi octagonal in shape, built with elegant cupolas. On the top floor, there lies the crowning glory of the palace: the aromatic, lush terrace garden called the Chameli Bagh, with marbled passages for the visitors to roam around, as well as carved platforms where they can rest and enjoy the serenity of the place. The four quadrants of the garden contain raised flower-beds having exotic flowers. Water cascades down the walls of the flower-bed and merges with the fountains to impart a fresh look to the garden. The central octagonal marbled platform is specially meant for performing arts under open sky and the flowery infrastructure can seat almost 250 guests. There are almost 150 varieties of trees and shrubs, like Aravalli plants, ground covers, ornamental plants, a wide variety of white flowers like Mogra, Juhi, Chameli and Champa, and a few Peepal and Bargad trees which are more than a century old. The palace also encompasses the Badal Mahal, the Gulabi Tibari, the Raas Niwas Tibari and the Anand Mahal Tibari. For the last few years, the palace has witnessed several restorations being carried out by the Government of Rajasthan. Water seepage was a major problem in the palace, but modern renovation methods have been able to stop that to a great extent. The walls are restored and pillars are reconstructed so that more paintings depicting the heritage of the Rajputs could be crafted on them. The government also plans to open luxury hotels, craft bazaars, a convention centre, and several food-cum-beverage outlets for the convenience of the travelers.
The best time to visit Jal Mahal is from October to March as the weather is favorable. The rest of the year is very hot, and foreign visitors will have a tough time coping with the sweat and heat. The official timings of Jal Mahal are from 9 a.m. To 6 p.m. but usually people are not allowed to remain inside for more than two hours to reduce waiting time.
Entrance Fee :
The entry fee for Jal Mahal is Rs. 10 per person for Indian nationals. For foreign nationals the entry fee is Rs. 50 per person. For camera and video recordings, charges are extra.
Jal Mahal is located about 6 km from the city of Jaipur.
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