The Jal Mahal – architectural beauty
The Jal Mahal palace, also known as the “water palace” is a palace, located in the middle of the Man Sagar lake in city of Jaipur, the capital of the state Rajasthan, India. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in XVIII century by Maharaja Jai Singh II from Amber. The Jal Mahal palace was built by Madho Singh I, who gave it a statute of a summer residence. One of the hobbies of the ruler was to hunt ducks. Actually, this has specified the place where to be built the palace – and today the Man Sagar lake is home for many and varied birds.
Probably the most peaceful view among the chaos of the dynamic Jaipur is the beautiful Jal Mahal palace. This symmetrical palace, which once has been a hunting residence for a maharaja, is coloured in light sand, which is in bright contrast with the dark-blue colour of the water of the lake. The incredible island palace is very real, it has equally colourful and mysterious history.
Looking at the Jal Mahal palace a person has the feeling that this magnificent building barely touches the surface of the water. Actually, during the greater part of the year three floors of the wonderful building are immersed under the surface, so visible is only the top, fourth floor.
The Jal Mahal palace belongs to the list with the greatest and most popular landmarks in the region. The whole palace is as though embraced in magic – during the rain season it „floats” in the lake, and when the dry days come, it emerges above the surface, since the water of the lake runs dry.
The Jal Mahal palace is considered for architectural beauty, built in the architectural style of Rajput. From the palace is opened a picturesque view to the lake, as well as to the surrounding hills Hahargarh (in translation „inhabited by tigers”). The palace is built with material from red sandstone. On the terrace of the palace is built a garden with curved passages. At every corner of this palace are built semi octagonal towers with an elegant cupola. Each arch, each balcony and entrance door is decorated with marble wood-carvings, which denote the kingdom, together with the 20 posts, which are the cenotaph of the royal family of Raja Jai Singh. In the yards the visitors can enjoy the peaceful garden with view to the lake, in which is scattered fragrance of hyacinth and jasmine.
The restoration works, carried out in the palace, turned out to be unsatisfactory and an expert in the field of similar architectural restoration works of the palace in Rajastan carefully examined the projects, which show the initial appearance of the palace before the last construction works. On the grounds of this conclusion, is undertaken restoration works, at which are used the traditional materials for plasters. Unfortunately, the original garden, which used to exist on the terrace, is lost. Therefore is built a new terrace, the idea about which is borrowed from a similar roof garden, which existed in the Amer palace.
The government of Jaipur puts enormous efforts in order to improve the palace and the lake around it. In less than 10 years the Jal Mahal palace represented abandoned ruins, and the lake was a polluting spring for waste waters. Thanks to strenuous activities today the wild nature goes round the water of the lake and the place returns to its former fame.
The Jal Mahal palace comprehensively attracts many tourists, which is due not only to its unusual location and its complex and beautiful architecture, which is a stunning example of the Indo-Mongolian architectural style. The tourists, who look at the Water palace from the shores of the Sagar lake, often do not know the technological and designer achievements of the ancient palace. To the Jal Mahal palace leads an especially built road. The visitors have the unique opportunity to enjoy the view to the lake and the surrounding hills, called Hahargarh, from the beautifully carved balconies of the floor, which is situated above the water during the whole year. The Jal Mahal palace, looked at from a distance, is especially impressive in the dark, when the whole of it is poured in lights, reflected in the calm surface of Man Sagar.
Jal Mahal is situated at 4 kilometers Northward from Jaipur, on the main road Amer-Jaipur. Most of the visitors of Jal Mahal combine the visit with the Amer fort, since both tourist attractions are at the same side of Jaipur. The typical visit in Jal Mahal takes not less than 30 minutes, enough time in order several pictures to be taken. In the past there used to be gondolas, by which were carried out romantic rows on the lake, but unfortunately this is not offered today.
A rickshaw can be hired from Jaipur to Jal Mahal as the one-day tour with rickshaw includes the Amer fort, Jal Mahal and the temple of the monkey. There is a bus line between the Jal Mahal palace and Jaipur.