Jag Mandir also known as the "Lake Garden Palace" is an enormous palace built on the southern island of lake Pichola in Udaipur city of Rajasthan. The palatial structure is three storeyed and built in yellow sandstone and marble. The construction of this palace is credited to three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar kingdom. The construction was started by Maharana Amar Singh in 1551 which was continued by Maharana Karan Singh and the final completion work was carried out by Maharana Jagat Singh I. Hence the palace was named Jagat Mandir in the honor of Maharana Jagat Singh.
The history of Jag Mandir can be drawn back to the year when Maharan Karan Singh Gave this palace as hiding place to Prince Khuram, popularly known as Shahjahan before he was crowned as the Mughal Emperor. Prince Khuram rebelled against his Father Emperor Jahangir in 1623 as he wanted the Mughal throne. Faced with the danger of getting thwarted in his campaign, he sought refuge in Mewar kingdom at Udaipur. As prince Khuram was born to a Rajput mother Maharana Karan Singh gave a safe haven. he was initially in the city palace along with his wife Mumtaz Mahal and his two sons Prince Dara and Prince Aurangzeb. Later they were shifted to the Gul Mahal in the midst of the lake. Gul Mahal is the domed pavilion that was specifically built For Khuram. It was later enlarged by Jagat Singh into a huge palace and named as Jag Mandir.
Today Gul Mahal is the most interesting part of this palace as it is made in the Islamic style of architecture, which indicates that Maharana kept in mind the Taste of Prince Khuram. The hall is intricately decorated with Muslim crescents and amazing interiors. A mosque was also constructed inside this palace.The courtyard is another attractive construction with its black and white tiles. The Mahal is surrounded by a roomy circular apartment with murals and beautiful paintings considered an uncommon feature in Rajput architecture. Jag Mandir is the main palace which incorporates the Gul Mahal. The towers are octagonal in shape and are topped with cupolas. A labyrinth of reception halls, residential suites and internal courts are built in the palace which has an amalgamation of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The western end contains the Kunwaar Pada ka Mahal i.e. the Palace of Crown Prince. Bara Parathon Ka Mahal was made out of twelve solid marble slabs as the name suggests and the Zenana Mahal was for the royal ladies. The palace has beautiful gardens adorned with roses, palm trees, jasmine flowers and bougainvillea.
Every visitor of Udaipur must visit this magnificent palace and check out the museum which depicts the history of this palace. above all you would be mesmerized and in awe after seeing the eight life sized elephants carved out in white marble giving us an impression of being the guardians of this beautiful Island Palace