Jal Mahal or "Water Palace" is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, India. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber. "The Jal Mahal palace has got an eye-popping makeover. Traditional boat-makers from Vrindavan have crafted the Rajput style wooden boats. A gentle splashing of oars on the clear lake waters takes you to Jal Mahal. You move past decorated hallways and chambers on the first floor to climb all the way up to the fragrant Chameli Bagh. Across the lake, you can view the Aravalli hills, dotted with temples and ancient forts, and on the other side, bustling Jaipur.
Flora And Fauna:
The flora is dictated by the subsidiary Edaphic type of dry tropical forests in the catchment; the total forest area of 9.01 square kilometres (3.48 sq mt) comprises dense forest cover of 6.45 square kilometres (2.49 sq mt) area, degraded forest of 0.95 square kilometres (0.37 sq mt) and encroachment of 1.61 square kilometres (0.62 sq mt). The dominant floral specie found in the area is Dhauk (Anogeissus pendula), which has lean foliage. The low vegetation cover and steep gradient of the hills causes substantial erosion and the eroded material flows into the lake. On the western side, beyond the urbanized area, the Nahargarh hills on the western side are also denuded, which has reduced its moisture retaining capacity.
The reserve forest area of the lake catchment has several wild life species such as Deer, Jungle cat, striped hyena, Indian Fox, Indian wild Boar and leopards. The lake used to be a bird watcher's paradise in the past and was a favorite ground for the Rajput kings of Jaipur for royal duck shooting parties during picnics. The lake was natural habitat for more than 150 species of local and migratory birds that included Large Flamingo, Great Crested Grebe, Pintail, Pochards, Kestrel, Coot, Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, Herring Gull, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Grey Wagtail, but their numbers declined with the deterioration of the lake. Now, with restoration works undertaken, the birds have started visiting the lake again, though not to the same degree as in the past. The other birds seen now are the grey heron, white-browed wagtail and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters.
The Jal Mahal palace is considered an architectural beauty built in the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture (common in Rajasthan) providing a picturesque view of the lake, and the surrounding Nahargarh (abode of the tigers) hills. The palace, built in red sandstone, is a five storied building out of which four floors remain under water when the lake is full and the top floor is exposed. The rectangular Chhatri on the roof is of the Bengal type. The Chhatris on the four corners are octagonal. On the terrace of the palace, a garden was built with arched passages. At each corner of this palace semi-octagonal towers were built with an elegant cupola.
The Jal Mahal palace within the Man Sagar lake is accessible from the Jaipiur-Delhi National Highway No 8, over a road distance of 4 kilometres (2.5 mt)) from Jaipur. Delhi is a further 273 kilometres (170 mt)) away. Jaipur city being centrally located in Rajasthan, the National Highway No.8 not only links to Delhi but also to Mumbai. NH No.11 is a road link of 366 kilometres (227 mt)) from Bikaner to Agra via Jaipur. The lake is 8 kilometres (5.0 mt)) from Amer palace on the Amber - Mansagar dam road to the north. The Jal Mahal palace is now open to visitors for the first time having undergone dramatic transformation. Visitors can contact the site managers, Jal Tarang to inform them of their visit.
Jaipur is well connected by rail to all the major cities and towns of India. Jaipur is on the broad-gauge and meter gauge network of the Indian Railways and has direct trains on the broad gauge network to all major cities in Rajasthan and India. The city is also connected with a metre gauge rail route with Sri Ganganagar, Churu and Sikar within the state. One of India's most famous and luxurious trains, The Palace on Wheels, originating from Delhi also makes a scheduled stop in Jaipur.