Jahaz Mahal Overview

Enticing a heavy influx of tourists each day, Jahaz Mahal in Delhi is the real definition of extraordinary beauty. Situated in New Delhi’s Mehrauli area, this excellent monument features amazing engineering and outstanding architecture. Constructed during the reign of the Lodi dynasty, Jahaz Mahal manifests minute detailing and delicate Islamic art.

The very term “Jahaz Mahal” implies “Ship Palace” and this beautiful name is inspired by the placement of the monument near a lake known as Hauz-i-Shamsi. The monument renders a mesmerizing reflection on this lake’s clear waters, which apparently looks like a beautiful ornate ship sailing in the sea.

Built between the years 1453 and 1525, Jahaz Mahal was also popularly known as ‘Sarai’ in the bygone times. This is for the reason that the monument was constructed for the purpose of providing an accommodation facility to the pilgrims and travelers flocking to Delhi from places such as Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Arab. It is also believed that the real reason behind the construction of this monument was for creating a comfortable summer resort for the royal Mughal rulers and their families. 

In present day, Jahaz Mahal is visited by a host of tourists from all over the world. Housing a pretty little mosque within its premises and surrounded by lush gardens, this monument attracts pilgrims, history buffs, peace seekers, and photo fanatics. Although a few parts of this structure are in ruins now, yet Jahaz Mahal continues to impress and leave its visitors spellbound with its elegance and charm.

How To Reach

The closest airport to Jahaz Mahal is Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi Airport) which is located about 12 Km from Jahaz Mahal and it takes 30 mins approximately via Vasant Kunj Marg to travel between the places. You can take a bus or avail metro to reach Jahaz Mahal from Delhi Airport at minimal cost.

Either by bus or metro rail it will cost you approximately Rs. (50-80) and will drop you at Jahaz Mahal in about 1 hr. 30 mins. If you want to reach faster and comfortably, there is online cab service that will cost you around INR 480 and drop you at your destination in about 12 minutes.

Best Time To Visit

The months between February-June and August-November is ideal for visiting Jahaz Mahal and go sightseeing at the nearest places of interest. Delhi experiences scorching summers and foggy winters which makes it extremely difficult to tour around the historical sites. The place remains open for tourists round the year.

The best time of the day to visit the Jahaz Mahal is between 8AM- 11AM when there are fewer crowds of tourists. Summers in Delhi are scorching while winters are nearly freezing. In both these extreme climatic conditions it is difficult to travel round the palace and see it at length.

Other Essential Information

-Location: Talaab Lane, Khandsa Colony, Mehrauli, Delhi-110030

-Timings: 9AM -6PM

History of Jahaz Mahal: 

The Jahaz Mahal was built sometime between the late 15
th century and early 16th century  (1452-1526) A.D. during the end of the Lodi dynasty and the beginning of the Mughal Empire. In Urdu “jahaz” means ship and “mahal” refers to palace. So, the name of the palace connotes to its unique location on the edge of the Hauz-i-Shamsi.

It is a massive water tank at Mehrauli in South Delhi which was dug out by the then emperor Sultan Iltutmish in 1230. When the reflection of the palace falls on the reservoir water the structure looks like a floating ship on a vast water expanse. Although there are many stories revolving this historical palace, the exact purpose behind its construction is yet to be discerned by the historians. 

According to some chroniclers, Jahaz Mahal was initially built as a mosque for serving the visiting
hajis (pilgrims) of Delhi. Some other view states, one night Sultan Iltutmish dreamt of Prophet Mohammad visiting him on a horse and instructing him to build a reservoir on that place. Next morning when Iltutmish visited the location he could find hoof marks of the Prophet’s horse.

Following the divine command, the
sultan started digging an oversized tank spreading over a whopping 4.9 acres in area which was ultimately completed in 1230.The Jahaz Mahal is also the venue for the annual flower exhibition named “Phoolwalon ki Sair” aka Sair-i-Gulfaronshan which was initially started by Emperor Akbar Shah in 1820 and later popularised Emperor Bahadur Shah II. 

Architecture of Jahaz Mahal:

The beautiful palace stands as a stunning specimen of Mughal architecture and a hotspot for history buffs with its splendorous architecture and colourful detailing. The most striking feature of Jahaz Mahal lies in its intricately carved structure with an imposing cenotaph ornamented with blue tiles. As you enter the palace, you will hit upon a rectangular courtyard with impressively arched chambers on all sides.

The courtyard which overlooks nature outside the mansion is the most coveted area of the palace and is frequented by locals and tourists for sightseeing and relaxing after a tiring tour. Flight of stairs that once led to the main entrance of the palace from the southern end by a wooden bridge has long disappeared and now the entrance is through the eastern side. The moat which once surrounded Jahaz Mahal is now covered up to give access to its entrance.

The beauty of the façade at the main entrance on the eastern side of the palace is completely diminished due to several encroachments on its structure.
However, the presence of a mihrab on the western wall of the Jahaz Mahal point toward the existence of a mosque before the construction of the palace.
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