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History Restoration Chameli Bagh Many mysteries continue to surround the pleasure palace of Jal Mahal. It is known to be about 300 years old, but its precise date of construction remains undiscovered. Eminent historians Vibhuti Sachdev and Giles Tillotson write in Building Jaipur: The making of an Indian City, ‘Though sometimes dated as late as 1775, it is likely that this was constructed by Sawai Jai Singh II, around 1734.’ . But little else is known about this palace with no chambers ─ just a pavilion with a terrace garden, built in the Rajasthani tradition of ‘island resorts’ or ‘water palaces’ where royal families would seek their ‘pleasure’. Was this where the queen regent and her entourage lingered on lavish royal picnics? Or where generations of princes hosted duck-hunting parties? Did its corridors echo with music and dance, and the sky light up with elaborate fireworks? What other pleasures partaken at Jal Mahal have escaped recording by chroniclers of the times? Today, as Jal Mahal rediscovers its magic, it transforms into a pavilion of pleasure once again.
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