When I visited Jal Mahal, Jaipur in 1995, I was very disappointed to see the Man Sagar Lake in which it is situated was dry and dirty. The palace itself was not maintained well. I hoped that the place would get a face lift as it had lot of potential to attract tourists.
I got a pleasant surprise when I visited the place last winter (2009). The “palace in water” “Jal Mahal” looked splendid in the pristine waters of the freshwater lake with many water birds swimming past it.
The lake was created by constructing a dam across the Darbhawati River, between Khilagarh hills and hilly areas of Nahargarh, in the 16th century. The lake is spread over 300 acres and the maximum depth is 15 feet and lies between Amber, the former capital city and Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Aravalli hills surround the lake from three sides and one side is open to the plains. The view of the lake and the palace from Nahargarh hills is breathtaking.
Jal Mahal was built in 1799 and the lake was used for Duck shooting parties by the Maharajahs. In the 18th century Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber renovated the palace and enlarged the lake. The palace is a five storied building built in Rajput and Mughal architecture with red sand stone. When the lake is full, four floors remain under water. On the terrace is a garden with arched passages.
The forest around the lake is home to Deer, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Fox, Wild Boar and Leapords. The winged visitors to the lake comprises of 150 species like Large Flamingo, Grebe, Pintail, Pochards, Common Coot, Kestrel, Red Shank, Sandpiper etc.,
Opposite to the lake is Gaitore, which has Chhatris / Cenatophs of Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur.
Nearby places to visit are Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Khilangarh Fort and Kanak Vrindavan Valley
Type of Place: Palace in water
Situated: Jaipur, Rajasthan
Distance: 4 Km from Jaipur, 8 Km from Amber, 273 Km from New Delhi
Transport: Well connected by National Highway 8. Jaipur is well connected by road, rail and air
Facilities: A good lane is provided to walk by the lake; hawkers sell from food to trinkets; camel rides are available