Photographer's Note

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 urban lake gets filled up during the rainy season; over the years, once the reservoir became full during rainy season, it got covered with Hyacinth. During this period the red stoned palace became approachable only by boat and through a causeway, and presented a spectacle on the way to Jaipur city from Delhi. The lake got polluted due to sewage flow from the Jaipur city. The palace remained uninhabited, was not maintained and hence not visited by tourists. To remove the ecological damage caused to the lake due to indiscriminate pollution from the city sewage, restoration measures were undertaken, since 2001, after a detailed study by the Government of Rajasthan. But serious efforts were initiated only in 2004 through a very large restoration project undertaken through a joint-venture company called the Project Development Company Limited, Jaipur, a private enterprise, in association with the Government of Rajasthan, with institutional support provided by the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, a parastatal organization of the Government of India, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The basic objective of the project is conservation and management of the lake in regard to ecological development, sustainable fisheries development, and wildlife development. The purpose of the project is also to cater to the tourist industry, because Rajasthan attracts the largest number of tourists every year; 650,000 national and 175,000 international tourists are said to visit the state every year. Tourism in the state of Rajasthan is generally monument-centric, particularly in Jaipur and in this context Jal Mahal has an important role. n 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 Ajmer 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, is about 300 metres (980 ft) long and 28.5–34.5 metres (94–113 ft) in width. It is provided with three sluice gates for release of water for irrigation of agricultural land in the down stream area. 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, Kanak Vrindavan Valley were also built in the vicinity of the lake. All these places are now linked under a tourist corridor of road net work.

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Additional Photos by Valter Palone (bayno) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1350 W: 297 N: 2584] (18344)
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