Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
The Jal Mahal: Jaipur's Royal Pleasure PalaceMany mysteries surround the Jal Mahal or “Water Palace,” one of Rajasthan's most ethereal palaces. Constructed in the 18th century by Jai Singh ll, the pale sandstone pavilion stands in stark contrast to the deep blue waters of Mansagar Lake, which it seems to float on, 4km north of Jaipur. A magnificent blend of Mughal and Rajputana craftsmanship, it was allegedly a pleasure palace for royal families, especially in the hot Rajasthani summers. But what did the royals do there? Was the Jal Mahal a site for royal picnics and lavish banquets? Did ladies of the court gossip the day away while their princes hunted game in the Nahargarh Hills that border the lake? Scholars can only speculate. What we know is that the enchanting palace is part of a massive renovation project that aims to preserve its magic for future generations. Combine a visit with one to the Amber Fort, also on the main Amer-Jaipur road.