Jal Mahal (Water Palace) in Jaipur is a spectacular structure that seems to be floating on the lake’s surface. An architectural marvel in itself, it is an embodiment of the engineering prowess of the Rajput period. The palace, which was built as a hunting lodge for the Maharajas of Jaipur, has now become one of the prime tourist attractions in the city. While planning your trip, don’t forget to book your hotels in Jaipur such that you have easy access to this magnificent palace and other forts and historical attractions in the city.
Jal Mahal, Jaipur: History
Jal Mahal, one of the top places to visit in Jaipur, doesn’t have any recorded history about who built it or when. However, it is popularly believed that Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh constructed Jal Mahal in 1799 to serve as a hunting lodge during his duck shooting trips. Some people also credit Maharaja Madho Singh I for the construction of this palace and date its origins back to the 1750s. Regardless of who built the palace, it was never meant to be used as a regular palace for living.
Later, the palace was renovated by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber in the 18th century. Over the years, the structure suffered subsidence due to partial seepage of lake water and waterlogging issues. After several years of deterioration and neglect, renovation works were carried out in the early part of the 21st century to restore the palace into its former glory. Though the palace and many of its features have been restored, its original terrace garden could not be salvaged. Plans are on to create a new terrace garden modeled on the rooftop garden of the famous Amer Palace in Jaipur.
Jal Mahal Architecture
Jal Mahal stands in the middle of a lake that has a maximum depth of 15 feet and a minimum depth of 4.9 feet. It is a five-storied structure built in the Rajput style of architecture, with influences of the Mughal architectural style. While four of its stories remain under water, only the top story remains visible, giving you an impression that the palace is floating on the waters of the lake.
Jal Mahal has been constructed out of red sandstone. Four elaborate chhatris designed in octagonal shape adorn the four corners of the palace. A huge Bengal-style rectangular chhatri also exists on the roof of the palace. In its heyday, the terrace garden of Jal Mahal was decorated with arched passages.