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What is the history of Jal Mahal?

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Jal Mahal has a fairly fascinating and enigmatic history to it. Seemingly afloat on Man Sagar Lake, it was Udaipur Lake Palace that was the inspiration behind Jal Mahal’s creation sometime in the 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Its main use was as a venue for royal duck/migratory bird-shooting sprees or at least that’s what the popular legends will have you believe. Ironically, while the palace has been abandoned, today it’s home to a large number of migratory and native birds.

Spreading to four floors, only the top floor of Jal Mahal is visible and above the lake’s waters. Rest of the four floors are completely submerged and under water. Known as the palace with no chambers, Jal Mahal has long evoked the curiosity of historians. Despite having been studied by eminent historians the likes of Giles Tillotson and Vibhuti Sachdeva, very little has been able to be uncovered about Jal Mahal.

Built of red sandstone with a fusion of Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture, Jal Mahal has a lush terrace garden, Chameli bagh. While the original garden, possibly the site of endless royal picnics and soirees, was lost to steady neglect, the new Chameli bagh is equally lush and resplendent.

The palace and the lake underwent considerable deterioration before restoration work was undertaken in 2001 for the restoration of both, palace and the lake. Today much of the palace has been restored to its former glory and with the lake being spruced up a number of its feathered visitors are returning back and you can spot them fluttering around the palace and the taking leisured dips in the lake.

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