Rajasthan is always visualized as a dry state, with prominence of desert like terrain, which breaks only to give space to the rocky landscapes where imposing forts and fortresses rise. In reality, however, the geography of the state is quite varied. It includes several water bodies, abundant vegetation, remarkable wildlife and much more. Don’t believe us? Well, here are three of the many evidential palaces of Rajasthan that will prove that it has really been the land of Kings. These ‘Lake’ palaces of the state were summer retreats of the erstwhile rulers, and now they’re the testament of the bygone prosperous era.
1. Jag Niwas, Udaipur
Royal palace cum luxury hotel, the Lake palace of Udaipur is situated amid Lake Pichola on an island named Jag Niwas. Originally, the palace itself was named Jag Niwas to honor the founder Maharana Jagat Singh II of Mewar, who had this splendid architecture built in the middle of the eighteenth century (1743-1746). The entrance of this marble palace faces east, making the sunrise a marvellous event for the inhabitants. This splendid summer resort has always appeared as a great place to stay. Even in modern times, when there is no dearth of awe-worthy architectural masterpieces, this 18th century building was enlisted as one of the most romantic hotels on the planet! Surrounded by the serene waters of Lake Pichola, the scenic beauty of the place has also earned it the title – ‘A floating vision in marble’.
2. Jag Mandir, Kota
Situated on an island amid the great Kishore Lake of Kota is an 18th century edifice- Jag Mandir. As the name clarifies, the place is but a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. It was built in the year 1740, on the recommendations of the erstwhile ruler Mahimahendra Maharao Raja Sri Durjan Sal Sahib Bahadur’s queen. The embellishing carvings and domes of the temple show the exemplary fusion of Mughal and Rajput architectural style, making it the central attraction of the scenic lake. The red sandstone structure of the building covers all the shores of island, while a substantial part is left for vegetation to grow, in middle of the architecture from where tall palm trees make their appearance evident. Apart from the natural vegetation, the interiors of the place are also adorned with numerous wall paintings, a great part of which depict Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
3. Jal Mahal, Jaipur
Jal Mahal of Jaipur is one of a kind palace in the Indian subcontinent. Unlike the former two royal buildings, it isn’t built on any island, but rather in the lake itself. This mysterious building has a total of five stories, out of which four are completely submerged in the waters of Man Sagar Lake. Only the topmost floor of the building is visible along with the prime dome, the design of which was inspired by the medieval temple of Madangopal Jiu in West Bengal. There are many mysteries associated with the building, the most obvious one being its construction. Since no records are found that may explain its inception, the only plausible explanation here could be that the place was constructed during the consequent years of famine.
While this statement clears up the mystery of its construction, it creates more cloud on the objective of the whole erection. An enigma that strengthens with the fact that there are no rooms or chambers in the whole building. There is but just a pavilion and a terrace garden. Though the twenty pillars, that are cenotaphs of the royal family of Jaipur, are parts of the monument, they are amendments added later to the building. Nevertheless, this red sandstone structure situated amid serene waters of Man Sagar Lake always inspires more awe than intrigue in the eyes of the viewers.