Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jag Mandir, Island Palace

As a Christmas Day treat to ourselves, we booked tickets and took a boat trip on Lake Pichola to the island palace of Jag Mandir. With all on board (including some rather spoiled Indian children) wearing the required life vests, the boat’s motor began, headed towards the middle of the lake. Once on the lake, we had a great view of the beautiful buildings on the shore, as well as daily happenings occurring there. In areas where there were long steps leading down to the lake, people were washing clothes, beating clothing with what looked like a cricket bat, washing dishes, and even bathing. Far enough away from the wake caused by the boat, the shore waters created great reflections of the yellow City Palace. On our way to the Jag Mandir, we passed by the Jag Niwas, otherwise known as the Lake Palace. This royal retreat, built between 1734 and 1751, is now a posh (and very expensive) hotel, made famous by its inclusion in the James Bond movie Octupussy. (Hotels including ours held nightly showings of the movie).

A pleasant ride later, we docked at the Jag Mandir, island palace of Shah Jahan (before he became Mughal emperor) while he took refuge from his father after rebelling. Built in 1620, the buildings were very well preserved and contained elements of Mughal architecture I’d seen in Agra and Delhi, including the scalloped windows and domes. The well-manicured gardens were particularly inviting. Although the drinks were overpriced, they provided a great excuse to stay longer, enjoying the view through the curtained openings and watching some rather animated squirrels. It was fun to imagine what it must have been like for the prince as he stayed here, as well as giving us just a little sampling of what the travel experience must be like for the wealthy. Boarding another boat near one of the eight stone elephants, we headed back to shore, with the sun beginning to set on another wonderful day.


Bibi said...

I have several good shots of a chipmunk and some sort of an iguana from here, not to mention my gingerale and our other drinks...and the waiter! This was a beautiful place.

Melissa Enderle said...

A bit of nature's entertainment while we enjoyed our drinks. Such a lovely place to spend Christmas Day.