Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jal Mahal in Narnaul

About two years ago, I had an occasion to visit Narnaul in Haryana in the Mahendragarh district. The town has had a rich history and there are several historical sites worth visiting. Due to paucity of time, I could manage only the Jal Mahal, which is situated outside the town. 

The Jal Mahal was built by the local Mughal governor as a pleasure palace in the middle of a water tank in the late 16th century. In the reign of Akbar the Great. It has a central chamber with four smaller chambers at the corners and four staircases that go up. As you can see, the building is surmounted by one big dome and four smaller domes on cupolas, and is accessed by a causeway with sixteen arches.

Jal Mahal, Narnaul
The lower chambers have now been sealed off, but I think the water must have been made to flow into the lower chambers, perhaps surrounding a central platform and four chambers as in the upper floors. Perhaps there was music and dance in lamplight, with floating earthen lamps on the water. 

That is pure imagination of course, and the tank is now completely dry. And there was complete silence with nary a soul in sight. The structure stands alone, a throwback to the past amid a rural and rustic landscape. Far from the bustle, far from the madding crowd.


  1. I think the activities you imagine taking place at the Jal Mahal might have occurred there at one time. Look up the Saltair palace on Widipedia; this 1893 pavilion (built by the Mormons in Salt lake City) is similar in structure to the Jal Mahal and was surrounded by water and used as a "dance hall" in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Scroll down and look at the picture taken circa 1900 and it looks almost exactly like what was built in India 300 years earlier!
    Interesting post, Soumyendu.

    1. Thanks Rita, for the Saltair story. Should hope you don't carry a truck with that church, though

      Looking forward to your posts!

  2. From vibrant performative arts to centuries of history, from handicrafts to stately jewelery everyone desires, Jaipur offers all and more. If you are heritage lover, then you should definitely visit to the Pick city. Click here to know about Jaipur Tour Packages details.

    1. Thank you anjali, but I think I would have it my own way