Deeg Palace

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Coordinates: 27°28′15″N 77°19′45″E / 27.47087°N 77.32907°E / 27.47087; 77.32907

Deeg Palace is a palace 32 km from Bharatpur in Rajasthan state in India built in 1772 as a luxurious summer resort for Indian rulers. The palaces were used by the maharajas till early 1970s.[1]

Deeg, Gopal Bhawan or Water Palace LACMA M.90.24.70

Deeg was the capital of the Jat kings before they shifted to Bharatpur. Badan Singh, who came to the throne in 1721, built a palace here but due to its strategic location and proximity to Agra, Deeg had to face repeated attacks by invaders. It was then that his son, prince Suraj Mal, began the construction of a fortress around the palace around 1730. The fort had massive walls and a deep moat to keep away the raiders."[1]

Deeg was a site of a legendary battle between the Jats and a combined Mughal and Maratha army of 80,000 men. Emboldened by his victory, Suraj Mal began making forays into enemy territory. After eight years of success in his forays, Suraj Mal captured Delhi and plundered the Red Fort carrying away masses of valuables including an entire marble building, which was dismantled and numbered. The palace was then reconstructed at Deeg.[1]

The Jat rulers were influenced by the magnificence of the Mughal courts of Agra and Delhi. The design of the gardens has been inspired by the Mughal Charbagh. The palaces form a quadrangle with a garden and walkways at it's centre. Decorative flowerbeds, shrubs, trees and numerous fountains which cool the place considerably during summer. Two huge water tanks, Gopal Sagar and Rup Sagar, on either side also helped to bring down the temperature.[1]

Elaborately filigreed gates, stone slabs, ornate beams, and marble jaalis from Mughal constructions have been used in various parts of the palace. A fine marble swing, rumoured to have belonged to Nur Jahan, was also brought here as a war trophy from the Mughal court. The swing stands at a vantage position overlooking the gardens.[1]

Keshav Bhawan, the monsoon pavilion is a single-storeyed baradari placed on an octagonal base, it stands right next to the Rup Sagar tank. The edifice has five arches along each side which seem to divide it in to several parts. An arcade runs around the interior of the pavilion over a canal with hundreds of fountains. The walls of the canal are pierced with hundreds of minute water jets. Bullocks were employed with large leather "buckets" to draw water to the tank through a complex pulley system.[1]

In festivals such as Holi, colours are added to the water. Small cloth pouches with different organic colours were manually inserted into the holes in the reservoir wall. When the water flowed out through them passing along an intricate network of pipelines, the fountains begin spouting coloured water.[1]

The spray of water from the fountains and the jets create a monsoon-like ambience which is enhanced further by a unique technique that produces thunder-like sound all around the pavilion. Hundreds of metal balls placed strategically on the channel surrounding the roof are set rolling with the water pressure which results in a thunderous effect. The ambience in a desert town must have been quite significant for the Jat kings and their queens.[1]

King's bedroom contains an enormous black granite bed of the Maharaja. It had once served as a part of Parsi death rites, functioning as a platform for washing dead bodies.[1]

Open 9 am to 5 pm except on Fridays The nearest airports are at Agra (70 km) and Delhi (200 km). The nearest railhead is Bharatpur junction (35 km). Deeg is five hours by road from Delhi, two hours from Agra and one hour from Mathura.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j PODDER, TANUSHREE. "Summer symphony". TIME OUT. The Hindu. Retrieved 19 October 2013.