Rajasthan is often known as the land of Kings for its rich royal history and cultural heritage. Despite being opulent, this desert land does not enjoy the luxury of water. A constant issue and cause of toil for its kings and people, water and its sources are of great value. A tour of the innumerable forts, palaces and areas of this vast and aesthetic state gives one a clear idea of how great measures were taken by the erst rulers to resolve the problem of the scarcity of water. Jaipur was founded when the king of Amber shifted his capital to meet the problem of the paucity of water resources. Similarly, all around this otherwise colorful state, the then kings of the many territories built water reservoirs and artificial lakes.
Balsamand Lake of Jodhpur, built in 1159 by Balak Rao Parihar, was designed to meet the water needs of the people of Mandore, which was previously the clan’s capital. Located 5 kms away from Jodhpur on the Jodhpur-Mandore Road, the lake is 1 kilometer long, 50 meters wide and 15 meters deep. The lake is a classic example of the craftsmanship and architectural know-how of the people of the by-gone eras, surrounded by gardens from all sides. These gardens house groves of trees like mango, papaya, pomegranate, guava and plum. Next to the lake stands the Balsamand Palace, an artistic eight-pillared palace with three entrance gates.
One can see and explore this beautiful lakeside palace which was built originally by Maharaja Sur Singh as his summer retreat. This has now been converted in to a heritage hotel. It exemplifies traditional Rajputana architecture. Built out of special Jodhpur red sandstone, the palace is complemented with antique and traditional furniture and medieval Rajasthani style tapestries and floor coverings. The embankments of the lake, in front of the palace, have domed structure that offers fabulous views of the lake, enchanting tourists and visitors with the cool breeze blowing through the lush greenery around it. Upon visiting the place one can see how the artificial waterfall which originates from the reservoir supplies water to the garden. The peaceful surrounding of Balsamand Lake and palace gives a sense of tranquility from the otherwise crowded city.
Keshavdas must have been close to Balsamand Lake or stayed in the heritage hotel, when he wrote the lines about November in his Baramasa: “Rivers and ponds are full of flowers and joyous notes of hamsas fill the air, this is the month of happiness and salvation of the soul.”