It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun was shining bright but we were always on the lookout for the sudden downpour. Our past few days in Jaipur had proved that the weather was quite unpredictable, not that we are complaining. We quite loved the showers as they cooled the weather down.. This particular day we were on the road since 9am. We had just visited the Gaitore and were heading towards Nanhargarh fort and had plans of exploring few other places around. On the way, we spotted the Jal Mahal Palace on our right. It was beautiful.
A palace of sorts in the middle of the large water body surrounded by nothing but water, mountains and emptiness. Wow. Our cab driver told us this was once the summer palace of the Raja as the main palace would get very hot.
Jal Mahal (literally translates to "Water Palace") sits majestically in the middle of the Mansagar Lake. The palace and the lake around it went through a renovation sometime in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber. He also made the palace bigger, by adding more rooms and halls. Traditional boat-makers from Vrindavan were brought in to craft the Rajput style wooden boats.
As I look oh yonder, all I see are the vast Aravalli hills dotted with temples and forts and on the other side is the bustling city of Jaipur. When the renovation took place, the lake went through the biggest transformation. The drains were all diverted, about 1-2 million tonnes of toxic sludge was removed, new eco system was created and local vegetation & fish were introduced back into the waters. The wetlands around also welcome migratory birds every year.
Since it was a Sunday, the whole world and sundry were there. There were children running around, street performers who were being chased away by cops, hawkers selling camel leather products and little trinkets and then ofcourse the men standing with a small table selling jhal muri.. The entire place was alive and buzzing... It was nice, but I did wish for some peace and quiet...
Suddenly we heard a commotion and noticed that all the street hawkers were being asked to leave by the cops! They were all rushing to pack their stuff, and leave the area before the Cops got to them.But there was no sign of the crowd moving away from there. In fact, we saw quite a few go near the edge of the water and throw chips and biscuits and sev at the fish... We left there wondering what a lavish life the Royal must have led back in the days!!
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