Have you ever imagined a palace floating on the waters of a serene lake?
Well, hold on to your hats folks, because that’s exactly what you’ll find at Jal Mahal, the Water Palace in the heart of Jaipur. This architectural gem is a perfect example of the engineering brilliance of the Rajput era and a must-visit attraction during your trip to the Pink City.
Jal Mahal, situated in the midst of the picturesque Man Sagar Lake, is a five-story structure that has been built in the Rajput style of architecture with a touch of Mughal influence. Despite its lack of recorded history, it is widely believed that it was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh as a hunting lodge.
It was later renovated by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber in the 18th century, but after years of neglect, restoration works were carried out in the early 21st century to bring back its former glory. Today, it serves as a heritage hotel, but entry to the palace premises is restricted to the public.
While four of its stories remain submerged in the lake, the top story is visible and gives the illusion that the palace is floating on the waters of the lake. The walls of the palace are made of red sandstone and are adorned with four elaborate chhatris in an octagonal shape at the corners and a huge Bengal-style rectangular chhatri on the roof. The only way to reach the palace is by boat, and every evening, it is illuminated, presenting a stunning sight against the dark waters of the lake.
But, there’s more to this floating marvel than just its stunning appearance. The palace has been designed in such a way that its stone walls hold back millions of litres of water, and the specially designed lime mortar prevents water seepage, keeping the palace safe for more than 250 years. And who knew that this beautiful palace was once home to various migratory and local birds like flamingos, great crested grebe, and blue-tailed bee-eaters. Unfortunately, as the quality of the lake declined, so did their numbers. But with the restoration work, some birds can once again be found at Man Sagar Lake.
Jal Mahal is located on the Amer Road, and you can combine it with your visit to the iconic Amer Fort. Timings for the palace are from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and trust us when we say, you don’t want to miss this floating marvel during your trip to Jaipur.