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Jal Mahal (meaning "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 hills, dotted
with temples and ancient forts, and on the other side, bustling Jaipur. The most remarkable change is in the lake itself. The drains
were diverted, two million tonnes of toxic silt were dredged from the bottom, increasing its depth by over a metre, a water treatment
system was developed, local vegetation and fish reintroduced, the surrounding wetlands regenerated and five nesting islands created
to attract migratory birds.

Jal Mahal at night.

Jal Mahal - Palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city

Contents
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1Topography

2History

3Man Sagar Lake

4The Palace

5Restoration works

6Visitor information

7See also

8Gallery

9References

Topography

Aravalli hills in Jaipur

The lake, situated to the north of Jaipur city lies between Amer, the historic city and Jaipur, the provincial headquarters of Rajasthan
state. It has a water spread area of 300 acres (121 ha) and is enclosed by the Aravalli hills on the north, west and eastern sides, while
the southern side consists of plains that are intensely inhabited. There is the Nahargarh Fort (Nahargarh meaning home of tigers) in
the hills that provides a commanding view of the Man Sagar Lake and the Jal Mahal palace, in addition to a beautiful view of the city
of Jaipur. The lake was created by constructing a dam across the Darbhawati River, between Khilagarh hills and the hilly areas of
Nahargarh, in the 16th century. The drainage area of the lake is 23.5 square kilometres (9.1 sq mi)contributed by an urban area
accounting for 50% and hilly terrain accounting for the balance, being degraded Aravalli hills, which have added to the siltation
problem in the lake. A rain fall average of 657.4 millimetres (25.88 in) per year (90% of this rainfall occurs during the months of June to
September) in the catchment contributes to the storage in the reservoir. At the outlet end of the dam there is an irrigation system that
is supplied with water stored in the reservoir (obligatory water demand for this is reported to be 2,410,000 cubic metres during the five
months from November to March). Two large nalas (streams) that also drain the surrounding Nahargarh hills and Jaipur are the
Brahmpuri and Nagtalai, which bring in large amounts of untreated sewage, in addition to solid wastes. [1][2][3][4] The hills surrounding the
lake area, towards the north east of Jaipur, have quartzite rock formations (with a thin layer of soil cover), which is part of Aravalli hills
range. Rock exposures on the surface in some parts of the project area have also been utilised for constructing buildings. From the
north east, the Kanak Vrindavan valley, where a temple complex is situated, the hills slope gently towards the lake edge. Within the
lake area, the ground area is made up of a thick mantle of soil, blown sand and alluvium. Forest denudation, particularly in the hilly
areas, has caused soil erosion, compounded by wind and water action. Due to this, silt built up in the lake resulting in a raising of the
bed level of the lake.[4]
Geology and soils
The hills surrounding the lake area, towards the north east of Jaipur, have quartzite rock formations (with a thin layer of soil cover),
which is part of Aravalli hills range. Rock exposures on the surface in some parts of the project area have also been utilised for
constructing buildings. From the north east, the Kanak Vrindavan valley, where a temple complex is situated, the hills slope gently
towards the lake edge. Within the lake area, the ground area is made up of a thick mantle of soil, blown sand and alluvium. Forest
denudation, particularly in the hilly areas, has caused soil erosion, compounded by wind and water action. Due to this, silt built up in
the lake resulting in a raising of the bed level of the lake. [4]

History

Man Sagar Dam at the Jal Mahal Palace lake outlet

In the past, at the location of the lake, there was a natural depression where water used to accumulate. During 1596 AD, when there
was a severe famine in this region there was consequent acute shortage of water. The then ruler of Amer was, therefore, motivated to
build a dam to store water to overcome the severe hardships caused by the famine to the people inhabiting the region. A dam was
constructed, initially using earth and quartzite, across the eastern valley between Amer hills and Amagarh hills. The dam was later
converted into a stone masonry structure in the 17th century. The dam, as existing now (see picture), is about 300 metres (980 ft) long

and 28.534.5 metres (94113 ft) in width. It is provided with three sluice gates for release of water for irrigation of agricultural land in
the down streamarea. Since then, the dam, the lake and the palace in its midst have undergone several rounds of restoration under
various rulers of Rajasthan but the final restoration in the 18th century is credited to Jai Singh II of Amer. During this period, a number
of other historical and religious places, such as the Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Khilangarh Fort, and Kanak Vrindavan
Valley were also built in the vicinity. All of these places are now linked by a tourist corridor of roadworks. [4][5][6]

Man Sagar Lake

Panoramic view of "Jal Mahal in Jaipur"

Status of water quality


In recent years, with the urbanisation of Jaipur city and areas surrounding the lake, the ecological system of the lake and its vicinity
deteriorated drastically. It became heavily silted thereby reducing the surface area of the lake. The silt deposited (estimated to be
about 2,500,000 cubic metres) was contaminated with effluents (untreated sewage) from the city's drainage system causing
intense eutrophication. The ground water surrounding the lake was also found to be highly contaminated and created serious health
hazards. The rainwater combined with sewage water flow from the city resulted in the lake water giving off a foul smell. Water samples
collected from the lake were tested and found to clearly show that the water quality was not uniform. It was extremely poor in
southeast, south and southwest due to the influent nalas. The water quality parameters of BOD and total nitrogen recorded were
20 mg/L each. BOD values indicated high levels of organic matter. COD showed a very high level of oxidisable
chemicals. Nitrate and phosphate content were excessive. Coliform counts was more than 500 times the norm. The Chloride content
was found to be fatal to plants and fish.[2][3]

A view of the Nesting Islands along the banks of Mansagar Lake, Jaipur

Hydrology
The fresh water draining into the lake is seasonal during the rainy months of July to September. This flow originates from 325 small
and large streams that drain from the hilly catchment of the lake. The two municipal nalas from Jaipur city contribute a perennial flow
to the lake. The volume of water in the lake has been assessed as 3,130,000 cubic metres at the maximum water level. During the dry
season, from October to June, it is said to be about 360,000 cubic metres. The depth of water at the deepest location in the lake is
recorded at a maximum of 4.5 metres (15 ft) and a minimum of 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). In addition, the stored water is also used for
irrigation at the downstream end of the lake during the summer months resulting in a drying up of the lake during these months. [3][4]
Flora and fauna
The hills surrounding the lake area, towards the north east of Jaipur, have quartzite rock formations (with a thin layer of soil cover),
which is part of Aravalli hills range. Rock exposures on the surface in some parts of the project area have also been utilised for
constructing buildings. From the north east, the Kanak Vrindavan valley, where a temple complex is situated, the hills slope gently
towards the lake edge. Within the lake area, the ground area is made up of a thick mantle of soil, blown sand and alluvium. Forest
denudation, particularly in the hilly areas, has caused soil erosion, compounded by wind and water action. Due to this, silt built up in
the lake resulting in a raising of the bed level of the lake. [4] 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 mi) comprises dense forest cover of 6.45 square kilometres
(2.49 sq mi) area, degraded forest of 0.95 square kilometres (0.37 sq mi) and encroachment of 1.61 square kilometres (0.62 sq mi).
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
urbanised area, the Nahargarh hills on the western side are also denuded, which has reduced its moisture retaining capacity.[4]

Flamingo
Common moorhen

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.[4]
The lake used to be a bird watcher's paradise in the past and was a favourite 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[disambiguation needed], kestrel, coot, redshank, marsh sandpiper, ruff, herring gull, redbreasted 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. [2][7] In order to attract attention
to the lake's condition, a private initiative of holding an annual birding fair was started in 1997. It is reported that the common
moorhen, a resident species has started breeding in large numbers at the lake. [5]The other birds seen now are the grey heron, whitebrowed wagtail and blue-tailed bee-eaters.[3][6] The lake was also home for a large species of the aquatic ecosystem such as fish,
insects, microorganisms and aquatic vegetation.[2]

The Palace[edit]

Jal Mahal Palace after renovation

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 (from the Man Sagar Dam on the eastern side of the lake that acts as a vantage
point for viewing the lake and the valley), 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. [6] The
rectangular Chhatri on the roof is of the Bengal type. The chhatris on the four corners are octagonal. The palace had suffered
subsidence in the past and also seepage due to water logging, which have been repaired under the restoration project undertaken by
the Government of Rajasthan.[8] The hills surrounding the lake area, towards the north east of Jaipur, have quartzite rock formations
(with a thin layer of soil cover), which is part of Aravalli hills range. Rock exposures on the surface in some parts of the project area
have also been utilised for constructing buildings. From the north east, the Kanak Vrindavan valley, where a temple complex is
situated, the hills slope gently towards the lake edge. Within the lake area, the ground area is made up of a thick mantle of soil, blown
sand and alluvium. Forest denudation, particularly in the hilly areas, has caused soil erosion, compounded by wind and water action.
Due to this, silt built up in the lake resulting in a raising of the bed level of the lake. [4] 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. [9] The restoration works
done in the palace in the past (1015 years back) were not satisfactory and an expert in the field of similar architectural restoration
works of Rajasthan palaces carefully examined the designs that could decipher the originally existing designs on the walls, after
removing the recent plaster work. Based on this finding, restoration works were redone with traditional materials for plastering. The
plaster now used consisted of an organic material of a special mortar mix of lime, sand and surkhi mixed
with jaggery, guggal and methi (cummins) powder. It was also noticed that there was hardly any water seepage, except for a little

dampness, in the floors below the water level. But the original garden, which existed on the terrace had been lost. Now, a new terrace
is being created based on a similar roof garden existing on the Amer palace. [6]
The Royal family chhatris and cenotaphs
At Gaitore, opposite to the lake, there are chhatris and cenotaphs erected over cremation platforms of some of the Kachwaha rulers of
Jaipur. They were built by Jai Singh II within landscaped gardens.[10] The cenotaph monuments are in honor of Pratap Singh, Madho
Singh II and Jai Singh II, among others. Jai Singh II's cenotaph is made of marble and has impressive intricate carvings. It has a
dome with 20 carved pillars.[8]

Restoration works
In the year 2000, Government of Rajasthan entrused to IL&FS the task of finding a permanent solution to the development
requirements of the Man Sagar Lake and the palace. In 2001, Government of Rajasthan initiated a project for the 'Ecological
Restoration of Man Sagar Lake' and the palace in its midst to its past glory and to enhance the tourism potential of the precincts,
through the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) as the nodal agency. It was also recommended that private developers should also
be involved in this effort. In the year 2002, the Ministry of Environment and Forests sanctioned through its National Lake Conservation
Programme (NLCP), Rs247.2 million (about US$5 million) and released Rs173 million (about US $3.46 million) as grant-in-aid with
the proviso that the balance amount shall be raised by JDA. JDA initiated steps for restoration and completed 2 kilometres (1.2 mi)
tourist trail and a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long promenade, apart from other works.[5][11]
In 2004, the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation took matters in its hands and decided to try and restore the monument to its
original glory. They signed an agreement with Jal Mahal Resorts, granting it a 99-year lease to develop 100 acres along the Man
Sagar Lake (in the middle of which Jal Mahal stands) and the palace. [12] The 99-year lease was given out to a business tycoon,
Navratan Kothari. For the past 9 years, he has worked on the cleaning of the lake and restoration of the Palace. Now there are many
inhabitants of the area and it has created a great job opportunity for the people of Jaipur and Rajasthan. For the future, Navratan
plans to build a few hotels around Jal Mahal and make it a very popular tourist destination.
Joint sector project

Jal Mahal palace in its restored beauty in 2011.

The Lake restoration project of the Man Sagar Lake area with an estimated investment of Rs1.5 billion (considered as one of the
largest and unique such projects in India) has evolved a plan that has diverse project components. [1] Consequently, there are many
project stakeholders and beneficiaries. The project stake holders are: the Government of Rajasthan and their subordinate
organizations such as the Public Works Department (PWD), Rajasthan Urban Development Authority (RUIDP), the Jaipur
Development Authority (JDA the nodal agency for implementation of all aspects of the project), the Department of Tourism,
Rajasthan Project Development Fund (RPDF) and the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) and an Empowered
Committee on Infrastructure Development (ECID); the Central Government organizations associated for planning and financing are
the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOE&F) through its National River Conservation Program (NRCP) and ILFS. [1] The Private
Sector Developer (PSD) appointed was M/s KGK Consortium. Under the publicprivate sector partnership model approved by the
EICD, PDCOR had prepared the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the restoration of Man Sagar Lake, Jal Mahal restoration and lake
precincts development. The total project area for restoration and development approved by ECID was 432 acres (175 ha) comprising
the lake with 300 acres (120 ha) water spread, the lake precincts area of 100 acres (40 ha), which subsumed 15 acres (6.1 ha) of
submerged land) for tourism development under joint sector cooperation and 32 acres (13 ha) for lake promenade and tertiary
treatment facility and related works.
Unique features of the project
The studies indicated two approaches to tackle the environmental degradation that had occurred in the lake, namely, dealing with
natural catchment area and concurrently addressing the serious problem of municipal sewerage emerging from large scale
urbanisation or human settlement. Keeping this broad planning approach in view, under the lake restoration project, the works
undertaken involved were: the re-alignment of city drains, de-silting of the lake, construction of artery road from Amber to Man Sagar
Dam (about 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi)), construction of check dam in a 100 metres (330 ft) length with silt removed from the lake,
creation of three nesting islands for migratory birds, lake front promenade in1 kilometre (0.62 mi)), afforestation and treatment of

forest area portion of lake catchment, plantation to stabilise the slopes of bank formation. Afforestation envisaged plantation of local
plant species such as Acacia arabica (desi babool) and Tamarix indica (planting close to the water edge where they can grow
well), Terminalia arjuna(arjun) poplar, neem and all species of Ficus, which would provide diversity in vegetation and also better
habitat diversity for feeding by birds and wild life.[4][11]
In addition, to remove eutriphication of the lake water and improve its water quality, in-situ Bioremediation process with 140 diffusers &
5 air compressors to aerate and create inversion of the lake bed and stored water was also envisaged. The city sewage, which
supplied 7.0 MLD of untreated sewage was treated with Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) and then led to the lake to maintain its
water level, after due removal of nutrients through tertiary treatment. This process involved diversion of the Brahampuri Nala into the
Nagtalai Nala by a lined channel to its south. This was then lead through a treatment plant on site to generate secondary level
effluent, which was then discharged into an artificial wetland through a hyacinth channel. For this purpose, a Physico Chemical
Treatment Plant was also envisaged and the effluent from this plant was taken through artificially created wetlands in an area of 4
hectares (9.9 acres)) (not only to treat the water but also to serve as natural habitat for birds) and through this process the entire ecosystem is being re-generated. Vegetation generated in this process is disposed in a composite pit near the lake. [4]
It is also reported that about 500,000 cubic metres of silt was removed from the lake. This silt was then put to use for strengthening of
embankment and building of islands as wintering grounds for migratory birds. [14]
After the above initial restoration works of the lake and its feeder system were mostly completed by the JDA, during 2003, private
sector developers were invited to develop identified tourism components on the land adjoining the lake. After following the due
process, a joint sector undertaking called the PDCOR was formed between the JDA of the Rajasthan Government and the consortia
of private developers with lead provided by M/s. KGK Enterprises. The project for tourism development was entrusted to this joint
group. The tourism project entailed development of Convention Centre and Art Gallery, Multiplex and Entertainment Centre, Craft
Bazaar, Arts and Craft Village, Resort Hotels, restaurants and food courts, public park and gardens including responsibility for
restoration and maintenance of the Jal Mahal.[1]

Visitor information
The Jal Mahal palace within the Maan Sagar Lake is accessible from the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway No 8, over a road distance of
4 kilometres (2.5 mi)) from Jaipur. Delhi is a further 273 kilometres (170 mi)) away.[4] 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 mi))
from Bikaner to Agra via Jaipur. The lake is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi)) from Amer palace on the Amber Man Sagar Dam road to the
north. The Jal Mahal palace is not open to visitors.[12][15] But it was open to delegates at large on the occasion of Pravasi Bhartiya
Divas held from 7-9 January, 2012 in Jaipur with the purpose of attracting investment for the restoration of the palace.