|Jahaz Mahal,Delhi Alamy|
At a distance of 18 km from New Delhi Railway Station and 2.5 km from Qutub Complex, Jahaz Mahal located on the northeastern corner of Hauz-i-Shamsi in Mehrauli, Delhi was built in the late 15th / early 16th century during the transition period in political history of India - last phase of the Lodi dynasty rule and the beginning of the Mughal Empire in Northern India. It is said to have been built during the Lodi Dynasty period (1452–1526) as a pleasure resort, Sarai or an inn. The building came up between 1451 AD and 1526 AD, before Babar's invasion and the beginning of Mughal rule in Delhi.
What does the name Jahaz (ship) Mahal imply? Standing on the banks of Hauz-i-Shamsi, the structure appears in its reflection in the lake as if it was floating like a ship on the surface of the vast lake. Jahaz Mahal was built to provide transit accommodation to a large number of pilgrims visiting Delhi from other places around and beyond far off places.
Set in a quiet place with rectangular courtyard in the center and domed chambers on the side, Jahaz Mahal is well decorated and ornamented with eye-catching designs. Intricately carved chhatris (six of them with different number of pillars 6,8,12, etc)
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and domed pavilion ornamented with blue tiles enhance the beauty of this historical place.It is believed that there was a moat around it and later it became dried up. A flight of stairs on the southern end probably will lead to Jahaz Mahal via a wooden bridge. Presently the entrance to this building is through the Eastern side which is a make-shift passage built by covering up the moat with dirt, etc. Earlier, a flight of steps on the south side would give access to the building via a wooden bridge made of planks. Now, the wooden planks are gone. Like many historical monuments of India, encroachment all around them is a menace and it mars and spoils the ambiance as well as the majesty of them. Jahaz Mahal is no exception; the illegal encroachment has affected the facade of the main entry on the east. Presence of a Mihrab on the western wall of Jahaz Mahal suggests that this part of the building was indeed a mosque.
Jahaz Mahal has been the venue of annual colorful festival called Phool Walon Ki Sair or Sair-i-Gulfaroshan held in October. It is a 3-day festival marked by various cultural programs at the Jahaz Mahal. There will be a procession by flower vendors carrying flower bedecked pankhas (fans) made It starts from Mehrauli at the Hauz-i-Shamsi tank, called Jharna, stops at the Yoga Maya Temple for the first offering of the flower fan as mark of reverence, moves to the Jahaz Mahal and finally ends at the famous dargah of Hazrat Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki for the presentation of the fans and chaddar at Kaki's dargah. The festival has historical significance as it was started by Emperor Akbar Shah II in 1820. Later Emperor Bahadur Shah II continued the tradition. There was brief hiatus after 1942 and in 1961 late PM Nehru revived this colorful function.