Think ‘Lake Palace’, and you think of Udaipur. However, not many know that Jaipur too has a lake palace – the Jal Mahal.
Jal Mahal is located on the Man Sagar Lake. On one side are the mighty Aravallis, dotted with ancient temples and forts. On the other side is the bustling city of Jaipur. The Jal Mahal was built in the 18th century, by Jai Singh II. It is a simple structure, with just a pavillion and a terrace garden, which was probably used by the royal family to enjoy the cool breeze on the lake.
Interestingly, what you can see of the palace is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The palace is said to be five storied, with four floors remaining underwater when the lake is full!
The lake itself is much older. At one time, it was just a depression where water used to accumulate. Then, around 1596AD, a famine led to an acute shortage of water. The then ruler of Ajmer built a dam between the two hills, thus forming the lake as it is seen today.
Over the years, the palace was ignored and forgotten. The lake turned into a dumping ground for effluents and the palace lay in ruins. Then, in 2005, the government of Rajasthan okayed the plans for restoration, and over the next six years, the lake has been cleaned up and the palace restored to its former glory. The terrace garden once again blooms, and visitors can enjoy the cool breeze and the wonderful view from over the Man Sagar Lake. The palace now plays host to exhibitions and photography enthusiasts, and may soon become just as famous as the Lake Palace at Udaipur!
The Jal Mahal palace is a must-visit on a trip to Jaipur. You can include a visit to the Jal Mahal on a day trip to Jaipur, while enjoying the royal comforts of the Club Mahindra’s Roop Vilas Palace Resort in Nawalgarh, 140Kms away.