There is THE Jahaz Mahal in Mandu, in the State of Madhya Pradesh, a place I have never been able to visit yet. That one is famous as the setting where the famous love affair of Baz Bahadur and Rani Rupmati was played out, and it is said that the best time to visit Mandu is during the rains but that's another story.
There is another Jahaz Mahal in Delhi, in Mehrauli village behind the Qutb Minar, and as its name suggests, it was meant to be seen like a ship on water, being a palace surrounded by a lake.
The structure is now, right in the middle of human habitat. The outlying buildings have all but vanished. Major portions of the lake which was called Hauz i Shamsi or the Shamsi Talao, have been reclaimed ..
|The U courtyard, originally rectangular|
Notice the variations in the pavilions on top. Built before the Mughals, the pavilions were lined with blue tiles. The building was definitely some kind of a resort or resting place for the later Mughals and could have been a Serai or inn for Central Asian visitors before that, in the 15th century
Boys playing cricket in the grounds that were definitely part of the Shamsi Talao, and the ruins of outlying buildings. The annual fair, Phool walon ki Sair is held in these grounds in the month of October every year when a procession offers flowers at the Yogmaya temple and then presents chaddar at the dargah of the saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The festival also hosts cultural programmes so the efforts in conservation could perhaps, have been on a much higher scale
The water level really seemed down at the pavilion on the other side of the Shamsi Talao. These three gentlemen actually pleaded with me for something to be done about the general state of affairs, for the Jahaz Mahal has weathered the elements for seven centuries, they said ..
I was anxious to visit the dargah for light was fading fast, and it was already half past four when we came upon the Jahaz Mahal on foot, and invitations for tea and pakora had to be politely declined. When we found the dargah, it was quite dark but it was interesting to see another building, Zafar Mahal alongside, stated to have been the residence of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last of the Mughals. Another time then, another day!