List of Havelis and Palaces

Jahaz Mahal

The Jahaz Mahal Palace which means 'Ship Palace' is situated within the Mehrauli Complex in South Delhi and on the north-eastern corner of Hauz-i-Shamsi within the same complex. It is easily accessible by local taxis and auto rickshaws or alternatively if you fancy travelling by bus then you can just type 'DTC Bus Route' in any search engine and it will show you the Delhi Government website which you can visit for directions.

The Jahaz Mahal would create a beautiful reflection on the Reservoir Lake or tank named Hauz-i-Shamsi built during the Slave dynasty by Sultan Iltutmish giving it an illusion of a Ship floating on water and hence the name was inspired from this fact and originated. The Palace was constructed sometime between 1452 and 1526 towards the end of the Lodhi dynasty rule and the beginning of the Mughal Empire reign in Northern India. It was also called as the 'Sarai' or 'Inn' mainly for the purpose of housing travellers and pilgrims from far off places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Arab, Turkey and Morocco during their visits to different Muslim Shrines in Delhi.

While the Jahaz Mahal provided a temporary home to many pilgrims, some say that the real reason for building this Palace was to create a summer retreat for the Mughal Emperors and their Royal families in order to relax and seek respite from the scorching summer heat of Delhi tucked far away from the main Palace in Red Fort.

The Jahaz Mahal can be reached from the eastern side of the complex and has a large courtyard which was initially rectangular in shape but now deformed and hence looks more like a 'U' shaped courtyard that lies at the centre of this Palace. It also has six impressive Chhatris carved beautifully situated in the corners and at the centre with intricate contours seen in different chambers and its walls. Two Chhatris are seen with six pillars, the other two with eight pillars and the last two with twelve pillars. The central gate has a domed roof pavilion inlayed with blue tiles. The Palace also has its own private and small Mosque identified by a 'Mihrab' which means a niche or decorative panel seen on the western portion of the wall indicating the direction towards Mecca, the Holy Place of Muslims situated within its periphery.

A voluntary organisation established in 1984 named Conservation Society of Delhi or CSD is continually taking measures and promoting the need for conserving the Heritage monuments in Delhi and they have also identified the Jahaz Mahal as one of the Historical and unique monument that needs to be renovated and conserved by the responsible agencies who were awarded by the Government to protect and preserve historical sites in Delhi.

Since 1720 and up till the end of the Mughal reign in Delhi, the Phulwalon Ki Sair festival or 'Festival of Flowers' was elaborately celebrated within the Palace grounds every year when the flower sellers of Mehrauli would pay tribute to the Mughal Emperor by showering him with flowers of different species fully blossomed during spring season. Today, this festival is celebrated only within the Mehrauli Village and not within the Palace any longer by flower sellers from every corner of Delhi during the month of October every year.

The Jahaz Mahal can be visited by everyone and is opened on all days from morning up till late evenings. Entry is free and one can take ample photographs of this beautiful site without any charges.

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