Why is Jal Mahal closed? I am often asked. The reason why Jal Mahal is closed is because of an imminent lawsuit.
The Government of Rajasthan under congress party line in 2003 invited bids for the Jal Mahal project which includes Lake Mansagar and Jal Mahal. The project involved cleaning and developing the area, restoring the Jal Mahal Palace and building two hotels along with a craft market. The subsequent government under the BJP rule contested the award of the contract to the tenderer. The reason cited was awarding the contract at a value much lower than its value and tax evasion. There are many opinions about this decision. Some cite reasons such as politics and favoritism, among others. Visitors are not allowed to enter Jal Mahal until the court rules on the case.
History of Jal Mahal
It is strange that not much is known about the history of the Jal Mahal. Numerous sources state conflicting information. One theory claims that Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, built the Jal Mahal. Another mentions Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the king who commissioned Hawa Mahal & Brij Nidhi Temple. I believe the first theory must be true based on several confirmations. Therefore, it was probably completed in 1740 AD.
Why was Jal Mahal built?
Many theories have arisen due to the lack of reliable information. The most popular is that this was a bird hunting site for the Maharaja. Another game Jal Mahal was built as a monsoon palace or maybe it was used as a pleasure garden. Hence, it is implied that Jal Mahal is the place where the Maharaja spent his time with an entourage of Maharani or queens. Well, who knows?
Visiting Jal Mahal
Tourists and locals both ask the same question. What does the Jal Mahal look like inside? Since visitors are not allowed in Jal Mahal, the details regarding the beauty of Jal Mahal are not readily available.
I had a chance to visit and follow the Jal Mahal inside tour some time ago. I share the photos in this blog on Jal Mahal.
The gallery on level 1 has been restored and currently displays paintings by local artists. These paintings depict scenes of Jaipur from days gone by.
Some of the scenes presented in this exhibition are the Teej festival, the king and queen playing Holi in Jaipur, women enjoying the monsoon season on swings and so on.
Chameli Bagh is the crowning glory of the Jal Mahal. This refers to the garden on the terrace with a fantastic view of the surroundings. Not sure why they call it Chameli Bagh as I could only use the ? champa flower.
The current garden may differ from the original one as this whole place has been restored. The restoration work was done by Mitchell Crites. He directs Saray design and specializes in the restoration of Indian and Islamic art and architecture. Apart from the garden, there are pavilions or Chhatris on all four sides along with Tibaris. Tibari or Tibara as some people call it is an important architectural element of this region; it essentially refers to a structure with walls on three sides.
A raised platform in the center looks beautiful in white marble. The terrace garden concept is derived from the Mughal garden, similar to the one in the Amer Fort.
There are four Tibaris or Tibara, depending on what it is called on the terrace. More details later in this post.
The beauty of Jal Mahal | architecture
Jal Mahal is built in Rajput-Mughal architecture style. The building includes a roomless terrace garden flanked by pavilions.
There is a corridor on level 1 that runs along the sides. This has now been converted into an art gallery and displays works of art with glimpses of the past, as mentioned above.
There are four Tibaris on the terrace. Each of these has now been given a different name.
The main feature of Anand Mahal Tibari is floral designs. Reminiscent of the Mugal art forms, floral patterns and designs come in gold, red and blue in color.
Anand Bihari Tibari’s restoration is inspired by some parts of the Jaipur City Palace.
Badal Mahal represents monsoon clouds and recreates the elements one witness and experience in monsoon-like swirling clouds.
Krishna continues to be the inspiration behind the decorative elements of Raas Bihari Tibari. The ceiling has a painting of Krishna and gopis in raslilac in a garden. Also painted on the ceiling are City Palace Chandra Mahal, Kanak Vrindavan Garden and Jaigarh Fort. These are prominent places in Jaipur.
Gulabi Tibari is so called because it has pink stucco.
The Fragrance Room consists of a space where one can experience the scents and scents of the royal court with “Ittaror perfumes. This is one of five current themed exhibitions. Other themes for the exhibits include Monsoon Unfolding, Joys of Jal Mahal, Mela Unfolding and Gardens of Pleasure.
Restoration of Jal Mahal
It is difficult to imagine the Jal Mahal without water. But a few years ago, before the restoration of Jal Mahal started, there were periods when the lake had no water. The wastewater was diverted to Mansagar Lake and killed the local ecology and the lake. The building was also in disrepair. Things got better after the restoration project started. Currently, the lake supports a variety of birdlife.
People repeatedly ask about Jal Mahal boat costs. Unfortunately it is not allowed at the moment. That will certainly be the case in the future.
Jal Mahal Timings
Jal Mahal is currently closed to visitors.
The Jal Mahal hotel project is called JalTarang. It is a unique project in Jaipur. Unfortunately, the project is being held up for certain reasons.
Location- Where is Jal Mahal?
Jal Mahal is close to Kanak Vrindavan Garden on the road connecting Jaipur to Amer Fort and Nahargarh Fort. It is located half way between Johari Bazaar and Amer Fort.
Places to visit near Jal Mahal
Among the places one can add to a visit to Jal Mahal are Amer Fort and Nahargarh Fort. Those interested in unusual explorations can visit Natwar Ji Temple and Radha Madhav Temple, not far from Mansagar Lake.
Also worth exploring are Gaitore, Garh Ganesh Temple and Maharani Ki Chhatriyan.
Birdwatching in Mansagar Lake
Unknown to most tourists, the Mansagar Lake that surrounds Jal Mahal is home to many birds such as the cormorant. During the winter season, migratory birds from Mongolia and Russia can be spotted in Mansagar Lake. Pelicans have been spotted regularly in recent years.
The boardwalk in front of Jal Mahal is a popular spot for pre-wedding photo shoots and morning walkers. It is a popular sunrise point in Jaipur. Even if you can’t take a tour of Jal Mahal, I highly recommend a walk on this promenade. Here’s a picture of the boulevard.