|Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipurgocityguides.com|
|proposed model Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur.cgtrader.com|
Jal Mahal meaning "Water Palace" in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, the capital of Rajasthan, India is an inspiring place; it looks as if the entire palace is floating in the center of the lake. It is said the Maharajah used to stay here while on hunting trips to the near-by wooded areas. Jal Mahal was built by Sawai Pratap Singh of Amber in 1799 A.D. in the midst of the Man Sagar lake for pleasure and entertainment. It is interesting to note the Lake was formed by constructing a dam between two hills by Sawai Man Singh I. During winter months one can see a large number of migratory birds in the lake roosting. It is just 4 km to the north of Jaipur and is located on the main Amer-Jaipur road.
|Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur.|
Built in red sandstone, the palace needed major repair and restoration work due to partial seepage and wall damage caused by wetness and water logging. The Government of Rajasthan, under a restoration project took care of all the immediate repair work to preserve this heritage site. The palace has an impressive look, this being due to octagonal chhatris on the four corners, The rectangular Chhatri on the roof is of different type not native to this state but is native to Bengal.
The palace is off limits to the majority of visitors as repair and restoration work is going on besides some additions like roof-top terrace garden, fresh plastering of walls using traditional methods to give back heritage appearance, semi-octagonal towers with impressive cupola at each corner etc. It is to be transferred to a high class hotel in the near future. As for walls, the plaster consisted of old traditional building materials -partly organic material- a mortar mix of lime, sand and surkhi mixed with jaggery, guggal and methi powder. This reduced the seepage in the building considerably. De-silting was done in the lake in recent the past. The private party who took a long lease was busy restorating the building and had a plan to construct additional first class hotels in the future. A sum of Rs1.5 billion was spent several years back on the restoration project with support from the state government. The Jal Mahal palace, I understand, is not open yet to visitors because repair work is not finished so far.