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Jagmandir

Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It is also called the "Lake Garden Palace". The palace is located in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Its construction is credited to three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar kingdom. The construction of the palace was started in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh, continued by Maharana Karan Singh (1620–1628) and finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628–1652). It is named as "Jagat Mandir" in honour of the last named Maharana Jagat Singh. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. The palace served as a refuge to asylum seekers on two separate occasions. Jag Mandir is situated in one of the two natural islands in the Pichola lake (named after the village Picholi nearby), on its southern end. The lake was initially created in the 15th century by a local banjara tribal chieftain for carrying grain across the streams. During the reign of Maharana Udai Singh II, in 1560, the lake was substantially enlarged by constructing dams across two streams. At that time, the Maharana also built the Jag Mandir and the Lake Palace (Jag Niwas Hotel) on separate islands in the midst of the lake. Udaipur city with its City Palace and other monuments and temples were built on the periphery of the lake. Jag Mandir's history begins with the Maharana Karan Singh's benevolence shown to Emperor Shahjahan (1605–1627). Shahjahan, before he was crowned as Mughal Emperor, was known during his young days as Prince Khurram. As Khurram, he rebelled against his father Emperor Jahangir in 1623, because he wanted to be the heir to the Mughal throne. Faced with the danger of getting thwarted in his campaign, he sought refuge in the Mewar Kingdom at Udaipur where he was given safe haven by the then Maharana Karan Singh (it is said that this courtesy was extended because Khurram's mother was a Rajput Hindu lady). He was initially kept 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, as a safe refuge, in the midst of the lake (this place since then has also been called Khurram's Palace). Gul Mahal is a domed pavilion that was specially built for Khurram by Maharana Karan Singh. It was later enlarged by his son Jagat Singh into a huge palace and named as the Jag Mandir Palace. Khurram remained under Mewar's protection during 1623–1624. The palace had such an impact on Prince Khurram who later became Emperor Shah Jahan that it went on to become the inspiration for one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. The irony of this act of hospitality shown by Karan Singh to Khurram is that his father Maharana Amar Singh had been defeated in the war in 1614 by Khurram. Later, prince Karan Singh had acted as an envoy to the Mughal court, and cordial amity developed between the two rival kingdoms of Mewar and the Mughals. This relationship helped Khurram who was in 1623 given refuge in Jag Mandir by Maharana Karana Singh. Following the death of Jahangir in 1627, Khurram ascended the throne of the Mughal Empire. It is said that Khurram was bestowed the title of Shah Jahan at the Badal Mahal in Udaipur before he left Udaipur for his crowning as the Mughal emperor. As an act of reward, Khurram not only restored six districts to the Mewar kingdom, which had been earlier annexed by the Mughals, but also presented a unique ruby jewel to Jagat Singh, son of Rana Karan Singh. After Karan Singh's death in 1628, Jagat Singh (1628–1652) became the Maharana. He was responsible for many additions to the Gul Mahal and called it the Jag Mandir, after himself. For building this remarkable structure, Maharana Jagat Singh was hailed as one of the best architects of the Mewar dynasty. Khurram, after becoming Emperor Shahjahan, particularly favoured the Maharana of Udaipur, which enabled the Mewar kingdom to regain its past glory. Following the unusual friendship between the Mughals and the Mewar kingdom, peace prevailed, except for occasional threats posed by Aurangzeb. However, the real threat, which almost decimated Mewar kingdom for many years, came from the marauding Marathas. The hope of survival revived when in 1817, the British came to their rescue with the "Treaty of Paramountcy" promising restoration of all the hereditary territories and protecting the state from any future invasions. Thereafter, peace and prosperity ensued in Mewar Kingdom. The pride and glory of Sisodia Rajputs were fully restored. During the revolt in 1857, Maharana Swroop Singh (1842–1861) saved a number of European families, mostly women and children from Neemuch, which were given refuge in the Jag Mandir Palace. The revolt was popularly known as the Sepoy Mutiny, and was also called the Indian Mutiny, (or the first War of Independence) against the British Raj. After the Independence of India from the British rule, on 15 August 1947, at the initiative of Maharana Bhupal Singh, the Mewar kingdom merged with the Indian union in 1949 along with other princely states of Rajasthan.

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