The 18th century is the mother of the historicity of the city of Jaipur for it gave birth to the very city that is Jaipur. An attractive and unique part of this historic city is the lake palace known as Jalmahal. Jalmahal, once the leisure palace for the kings of Jaipur became victim to the clouds of ignorance and decrepitude but thanks to the efforts of a committed restoration project Jaltarang, Jalmahal was brought back to life and its medieval glory for the city’s inhabitants. A beautiful red bricked pavement was built on the corners of Mansagar Lake, if one now tours Jalmahal, one gets the feel of an establishment set up near a beach for the enjoyment of tourists and pleasure seekers. To reach Jalmahal, boats have been organised by the caretakers of the current Jalmahal project and a bridge has been constructed on the western edge of the palace where the passengers can descend from the boat and enter the palace. Standing statuesque and tall right in the middle of Mansagar Lake this yellow monument of pleasure defies the saying that things seem rosy at a distance, for the palace is equally breathtaking up close as it is from afar. In fact, as one goes near Jalmahal, one realizes it is no less than heaven on earth to be inside this royal palace of leisure and entertainment.
History of Jalmahal
When the capital of the Kachwaha kings was Amber, then this portion of land encircled by the Aravalli hills lay untouched for all to encounter. During the rain season, water from Nahargarh and Kishangarh forts used to collect in this area and assimilate in the Garbhavati river. Later to provide for the city’s water needs a dam called Mansagar was built on this water. It is said that after performing the Ashwamegha yaga Maharaja Jaisingh II got the palace built here to have his post pooja bath. This palace was constructed on the basis of Mughal and Rajput architecture. As it was surrounded by water on all sides, it came to be known as Jalmahal or Water Palace in English. Later it became a leisure palace for the royalty in Jaipur. At present the restored monument has been given its new look b the unceasing and tireless effort of the Jaltarang committee and the hundreds of artisans employed to keep dead arts of Rajasthan alive in the state. The Mansagar Lake stretches to approximately 23 and a half kilometres in breadth and is about 4 and half metres deep, one can estimate the size of Jalmahal standing between this beautiful ecosystem once one reaches there.
Rebirth even more divine-
To keep Mansagar Lake clean, a water treatment system is used and to maintain an ecosystem around Jalmahal, five nesting islands have been created to increase the traffic of birds around the lake. To promote greenery around the pavement, trees have been planted all along the pathways. Special breeds of fish have been put in the waters of the lake to promote cleanliness and hygiene conditions of the water. The boats utilised to reach Jalmahal have been designed in the Rajput tradition. From the colours of the palace to the details of the walls, everything has been carefully chosen keeping in mind Jaipur’s valuable cultural heritage. Jalmahal has emerged even more beautiful in its new avatar. One can easily say that the restoration has successfully maintained the palace’s beauty while enhancing its status and splendour.
The insides of Jalmahal are situated below water. The walls of the palace depict stories of the royalty in Jaipur and their pleasure trips to Jalmahal besides reflecting on everyday activities. The etching and carving on the palace walls is done minutely by skilled artisans. Some walls have even been painted in 22 carat gold to lend authenticity to the craft of the traditional forms of painting existing in Jaipur. All things collected within the palace have been done keeping the royal tradition of comfort and luxury in mind and one can see this
display to the fullest at Jalmahal, at its best in full glory whenever one wants to. An unmissable itinerary on a visit to Jaipur!