I came across information related to the Mariam Mahal ruin almost 2 years ago & ever since then I wanted to explore this place.I have been trying to find the Mariam Mahal ruin for last one year in the jungles around Jaipur but it seems I haven’t been too lucky. But the Quest for elusive Mariam Mahal continued….
But before that… Prelude!!
Maharajah Man Singh I, the ruler of Amer is one of the famous personalities in Indian history. He was one of the Navratana (nine gems) in the court of Mughal king Akbar, fighting as a general for the Mughal rule. He fought many wars from Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, bringing all these areas under the Mughal rule.
While almost everyone in India has read about Maharajah Man Singh I in the history books, hardly anyone has heard about his eldest son Yuvraj or Kunwar Jagat Singh who also fought many wars along with his father.
He built a palace for his lover Mariam located far away from famous the Amer Palace. It was called Mariam Mahal. (Mariam was name of the lover and Mahal means Palace in Hindi). Yuvraj Jagat Singh died at an early age of around 32-34 due to excessive drinking habit. Mariam continued to live in this place till her death. The daughter born to the duo got married to the Mughal ruler Jahangir,who’s son Shah Jahan built the World Famous Taj Mahal. Her name was Koka Kumari. She was the 22nd wife of Jahangir; much famous Nur Jahan was 25th.
Mariam Mahal is in idyllic surroundings amidst dense forest. Even though there is no confirmed records popular belief is that this palace is 400-450 years old. The floods of 1981 caused extensive damage to the Mariam Mahal. It’s located far from a road head and it can only be reached by trekking through the thick forest growth.
In old times, a road paved with heavy stones used to exist, but now it’s hidden under the thick foliage. The palace overlooks valley constructed on the edge of a hill. The drop from the edge is at least 170-225 feet.
There are some structures in the valley forming part of the palace, which looks like the entrance gate and place marked for security guards.
The ramparts are gone, visible in barely few places. In the palace section, living quarters barely exist. A small section of a dwelling unit is all that remains now apart from the base of a turret.
It’s really sad that this piece of history will be gone in barely few years, escaping the attention of conservationist and authorities.
Coming back to the main story of finding this palace, it wouldn’t have been possible to find Mariam Mahal without the help of a local who live in the vicinity. We met him by chance during one such exploration. His ancestors have continued to live in the same place for almost 400-500 years. He has heard few incidents and stories from his ancestors related to the prince who used to live here, although he has no idea about the name of this prince. He pointed out a broken path through which the prince would arrive riding on a elephant or horse.
It’s a dense jungle where finding your way is very difficult apart from the danger of encountering wild beasts. It’s almost impossible to reach this place on your own.
We heard many incidents & habits of panthers who live in these jungles from the local who accompanied us along with the visit to one of panthers hide outs -Den! The quest finally ended!
Don’t forget to check out write up on Jagat Shiromani temple
The trail to Mariam Mahal is one of the best trekking places in Jaipur.