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DON'T MISS: An evening at Jal Mahal

Last updated on: February 1, 2012 10:24 IST

DON'T MISS: An evening at Jal Mahal

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A Ganesh Nadar

A Ganesh Nadar visited Jaipur recently and came back impressed with the city's jewel --the Jal Mahal.

Jal Mahal is called the jewel of Jaipur. Jal means water and this palace is in the middle of a lake. The lake itself is surrounded by hills on all sides. It is very beautiful and scenic. On top of one of the hills is a huge fort.

It seems that no one used to stay in this palace. It was a place of leisure. The royals would come here only to pass their time.

Today though, the palace is open to ordinary folks like you and me. A boat in the shape of a swan takes you there. It's a short ride and the water is icy cold as it is the month of January. The depth of water wavers between ten to thirty feet. There is a dam in the vicinity that can be opened to adjust the level of water.

Some of the 'Pravasis' at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas held at the pink city from January 7 to 9 took time off to visit this beautiful place. The Rajasthan tourism board took us there. There were three trips a day -- at 11 am, 1 pm and 4 pm.


Photographs: Diego/Creative Commons
Tags: DON

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DON'T MISS: An evening at Jal Mahal

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The landing is on a wooden jetty which I guess goes up and down with the level of the water. The palace was lying in ruins for the past 150 years till a private entrepreneur decided to renovate it.

The renovation has been done very well though none of the old paintings that have been re-done by local artists look close to the originals.

The natural beauty of the place makes us overlook small faults. There are special rooms where the Maharajah must have sat and joked, listened to songs, watched his courtesans dance and drank wine and smoked his hookah.

There are also rooms where they must have bathed and frolicked with their concubines. It is a palace for pleasure.

You are taken directly to the first floor. The ground floor, they inform us, has been badly damaged by water.


Image: The swan boats that take you to and from Jal Mahal
Photographs: The Jal Mahal Project/Creative Commons
Tags: DON , Maharajah

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From the rooftop the surrounding hills look divine. Modern Jaipur city across the water is a sore spot that takes away the sense of history you feel inside this palace. The staircase leading to the terrace is very steep.

Why the king made it so steep is not known unless he did not want his old Queens up there. You can see a fort from this terrace. There are places to sit inlaid with marble. There is also a pond in the centre.

As the sun sets, the moon rises. It was a full moon day when we visited the Jal Mahal and the sight of the moon and its reflection in the lake was divine.

It isn't very often that one gets to see a sight as surreal as this. I spent some time watching it and soaked in the sounds of silence. Then I, like the others, took the swan boat and sailed back into reality.


Image: Jal Mahal takes you into a different world altogether
Photographs: Amit Pasricha/Creative Commons
Tags: DON , moon , Queens

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