The Jal Mahal

Posted by Freddy on Dec-26-2010

Jal Mahal of Jaipur is a pleasure palace built in the 18th century. It was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD in the midst of the Mansagar Lake as a pleasure spot. It is situated amidst the picturesque Mansagar Lake, the palace has the Nahargarh hills forming its backdrop. It is an intrinsic example of Indo-Mughal architecture, stands like a vigilante of peace in the serene and quiescent waters of Man Sagar Lake. With first four floors inside water, the majestic palace stands tall with its top floor outside the water arena. One can enjoy the tranquil waters of the lake while sitting under the elaborately modeled and exquisitely carved balconies and arched roofs, thinking about the royal menus of the duck shooting parties.

The Jal Mahal palace is considered an architectural beauty built in the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture providing a picturesque view of the lake and the surrounding Nahargarh hills. The palace, built in red sandstone, is a five storied building out of which four floors remain under water when the lake is full and the top floor is exposed. The rectangular Chhatri on the roof is of the Bengal type. The Chhatris on the four corners are octagonal. The palace had suffered subsidence in the past and also seepage due to water logging, which have been repaired under the restoration project undertaken by the Government of Rajasthan. On the terrace of the palace, a garden was built with arched passages. At each corner of this palace semi-octagonal towers were built with an elegant cupola.

The restoration works done in the palace in the past were not satisfactory and an expert in the field of similar architectural restoration works of Rajastahn palaces carefully examined the designs that could decipher the originally exisitng designs on the walls, after removing the recent plaster work. Based on this finding, restoration works were redone with traditional materials for plastering. The plaster now used consisted of an organic material of a special mortor mix of lime, sand and surkhi mixed with jaggery, guggal and methi powder. It was also noticed that there was hardly any water seepage, except for a little dampness, in the floors below the water level. But the original garden, which existed on the terrace, had been lost.

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