Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It is also called the "Lake Garden Palace". The palace is located in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Its construction is credited to three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar kingdom. The construction of the palace was started in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh, continued by Maharana Karan Singh (1620–1628) and finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628–1652). It is named as "Jagat Mandir" in honour of the last named Maharana Jagat Singh. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. The palace served as a refuge to asylum seekers on two separate occasions.
Jag Mandir is situated in one of the two natural islands in the Pichola lake (named after the village Picholi nearby), on its southern end. The lake was initially created in the 15th century by a local banjara tribal chieftain for carrying grain across the streams. During the reign of Maharana Udai Singh II, in 1560, the lake was substantially enlarged by constructing dams across two streams. At that time, the Maharana also built the Jag Mandir and the Lake Palace (Jag Niwas Hotel) on separate islands in the midst of the lake. Udaipur city with its City Palace and other monuments and temples were built on the periphery of the lake.
Gul Mahal was the first structure built in 1551, during the reign of Maharana Amar Singh, which was further developed during the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh to house the Mughal prince Khurram. It was initially a small sandstone (yellow sandstone) palace with an imposing dome (which gives the appearance of a crown). The crescent of Islam is fixed on top of this dome. The Gul Mahal has three circular domed chambers, one above the other. Entry to these chambers is from a columned hall.
Jag Mandir is the main palace, which incorporates the Gul Mahal. The towers of the palace at the corners are octagonal in shape and are topped with cupolas. A labyrinth of reception halls, residential suites and internal courts were built inside the palace, all in Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. The Zenana (residence of royal ladies chambers) adjoins the palace. The Kunwar Pada ka Mahal (the Palace of the Crown Prince) is located at the western end.
The pavilion at the entry to the palace is an impressive white colonnade of cusped arches. The landing jetty is also located for docking of boats arriving from the jetty of Bansi Ghat on the main land near City Palace in Udaipur. The cruise is through the Pichola Lake. The pavilion is decorated with large elephants carved in stone, four on each side of the entry steps. They face the Lake Palace. The trunks of these elephants were damaged and replaced with polystyrene. The pavilion marks the perimeter of the island in the scenic backdrop of the Aravalli hills.
The flower garden in the palace complex is set up in the large Garden Courtyard. It has yew bushes, jasmine, frangipani trees, bougainvillea, palm trees, nasturtiums, verbena and moss rose. The courtyard itself is covered with black and white tiles. Fountains and water pools, crisscrossed by walkways with low marble handrails, bedeck the garden surroundings. The present Maharana hosts lavish parties here and also rents the place for private parties.
Darikhana is on the northern side of the palace, which is an open sided terrace built with marble columns. This place is now run as a restaurant by the present Maharana.
Bara Patharon Ka Mahal:
Bara Patharon ka Mahal is located at the eastern wing of the main palace. Mahal is so named because twelve solid marble slabs have been used in its construction. Hence, it is also known as the "Palace of the Twelve Stones".
The Jag Mandir is approached only by boat from the Bansi Ghat jetty next to the Lake Palace in Udaipur. Udaipur is well connected by road, rail and air links with the rest of the country.