Jal Mahal ("Water Palace") is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, India. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber.
The lake, situated to the north of Jaipur city lies between Amber, the historic city and Jaipur, the provincial headquarters of Rajastan state. It has a water spread area of 300 acres and is enclosed by the Aravalli hills on the north, west and eastern side, while the southern side consists of plains that is intensely inhabited. There is the Nahargarh Fort (Nahargarh means home of tigers) in these hills that provides a commanding view of the Man Sagar lake and the Jal Mahal palace, in addition to a beautiful view of the city of Jaipur.
Jal Mahal was built by Sawai Pratap Singh, the ruler of Jaipur from 1778 to 1803. Sawai Pratap Singh also built the famous Hawa Mahal.
It is indeed a water palace, being situated in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. The palace, built in redsandstone, is a five storied building out of which four floors remain under water when the lake is full and the top floor is exposed. palace has a garden at the terrace. The palace was a picnic spot and was used for royal duck shooting parties.
The Jal Mahal palace is considered an architectural beauty built in the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture (common in Rajasthan) providing a picturesque view of the lake (from the Mansagar dam on the eastern side of the lake that acts as a vantage point for viewing the lake and the valley), and the surrounding Nahargarh (abode of the tigers) hills. The rectangular Chhatri on the roof is of the Bengal type.
The Royal family cenotophs
At Gaitore, opposite to the lake, there are Chhatris or cenatophs erected over cremation platforms of some of the Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur. They were built by Jai Singh II within landscaped gardens. The cenotaph monuments are in honour of Pratap Singh, Madho Singh II and Jai Singh II, among others. Jai Singh II's cenatoph is made of marble and has impressive intricate carvings. It has a dome with 20 carved pillars.
Man Sagar Lake
The area surrounding the Man Sagar Lake is a beautiful place to spend the mornings and evenings. It is equally popular with the city residents as well as the tourists. The place around the lake has been developed with platforms to get close to the lake and get a good view. The open space at lake and the surrounding hills present an exquisite view and the cool breeze soothes and invigorates you. It is a man made lake, about 400 years old, built as a dam to store water for the city’s population. One can see the dam at the far end from the lake periphery near the main road. The dam is about 300 meters long and 30 meters wide. There are three gates for release of water. The lake covers an area of 300 acres and has a maximum depth of about 3.5 meters. It is surrounded by Nahargarh Hills. Important palaces like Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort are situated close to the Man Sagar Lake. Man Sagar Lake is a good place for watching birds as a lot of migratory birds visit the lake. An annual birding fair is held in the month of February at Man Sagar Lake to improve the conditions and make it more hospitable for the birds.
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