If you’re looking for an ethereal place, one that seems unreal, then you need to visit Jal Mahal or the Water Palace. It is in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur and is a very unlikely place for a palace. Most people wonder why and how this is possible, read on to find out.
The History of Jal Mahal
Built by Maharaj Madho Singh in 1750, it was never meant to be a grand palace, all the Maharaja wanted was a simple lodge for himself when he went duck hunting. During the 18th century Madho’s son, Madho Singh II decided to enhance the beauty of the building by adding courtyard grounds and making changes to the exteriors.
This palace is a great example of the Rajput style of architecture and owing to its location, it is also a great place for phenomenal views. You get a great view of the lake from the palace; you get a great view of the palace from the Nahargarh (“tiger-abode”) hills and the Man Sagar Dam.
As red sandstone is native to Jaipur, the palace was built using this. It is a five-storied building, and the interesting part is, 4 out of the 5 floors remain underwater when the lake is full, only the top floor is exposed. You’ll also notice Chhatris on the palace. Chhatris or umbrellas are a typical feature of the architecture of that time, it is like a small pavilion that marks the corners and roof of the entrance of important buildings. Here in the Jal Mahal, the main rectangular Chhatri on the roof is unlike the rest of the palace as it is built using a Bengal style of design. The other chhatris on the four corners are octagonal. On the terrace of the palace, there was a beautiful garden with arched passages, now though, it no longer exists. Check out this video to explore the palace more –
Interesting facts about the Jal Mahal Palace
- Considering the age of the palace and the fact that it is surrounded by so much water, it is interesting to note that the palace had hardly any damage to it in all these years. There was only a little bit of water seepage over the years.
- The lake depth is 15 feet!
- The solid stone walls around the palace are built so well that they have been able to hold back millions of litres of water for over 250 years! The special lime mortar used has prevented water seepage too.
- When restoration work was carried out in the 2000s, they decided to use traditional materials for plastering, like what was first used. These organic materials were a mortar mix of lime, sand and surkhi mixed with jaggery, guggal and methi powder.
- As the original terrace garden is lost, there is a new one being created in its place. This terrace is based on a similar roof garden like that of Amer Palace.
- As of now, business tycoon, Navratan Kothar has a 99-year lease to use the Jal Mahal and 100 acres along the Man Sagar Lake. He is working on cleaning the lake and restoration of the Palace. He is also developing luxury hotels around the lake. This has boosted the economy around the area and provided plenty of employment.