Staggering Jal Mahal palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Jal Mahal Palace,
proposed model Jal Mahal Palace,
 In Rajasthan, there are stunning palatial palaces built centuries ago by rich Maharajahs and some of them  are well embellished and get the attention of tourists. Built in Rajput -Mogul style, they are not only attractive, but also innovative, in particular, those with lattice windows -jallis that come up with fine geometric pattern and chhatris. Jal Mahal palace in Jaipur is a unique palace in the middle of a lake.- a nice place to relax in the hot tropical summer. An interesting feature is two thirds of its building is below the surface of the water.  The govt. is working on a grand plan to convert into a classic building without disturbing its heritage value.

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.
The Jal Mahal palace, built  in a typical Rajput- Mogul style of architecture (common in Rajasthan), has a fascinating  view of the lake itself with the back drop of  the surrounding Nahargarh ("tiger-abode") hills. It is a five-story structure of which four floors remain underwater when the lake is full, exposing the top floor. Though 4 stories of the building are under the surface of the water (depth of water in the lake is 15 feet) they  are  well into the bed of the lake. At Gaitore  across  the lake, Jai Singh II  built chhatris and cenotaphs over cremations platforms of the Kachwaha rulers of 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.