Water Palace, Deeg
Photographer: Deen Dayal, Lala (1844-1905)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Gopal Bhavan at Dig in Rajasthan, taken by Raja Deen Dayal in the 1880s, from the Curzon Collection: 'Views of places proposed to be visited by Their Excellencies Lord & Lady Curzon during Autumn Tour 1902'. Deeg in Rajasthan, a small town which was once the summer retreat of the rulers of Bharatpur 22 kms away. It was developed by the Jat chieftain Badan Singh (r.1722-55) as the capital of his newly founded Jat kingdom forged by uniting the members of an agricultural caste in the Mathura region. The greatest of the Jat rulers was Suraj Mal (r.1755-63) who shifted the capital to Bharatpur while filling Deeg with pleasure palaces.
The Gopal Bhavan is one of four main pavilions in the18th-century garden palace at Deeg, built by Suraj Mal (r.1733-63). The pavilions are arranged around a formal garden laid out in the Persian-Mughal tradition of the char bagh, flanked by two large reservoirs or tanks. These supply its innumerable fountains and other water features designed to evoke the romance of the monsoon season. The garden is divided into four parterres by water channels filled with fountains running from each of the pavilions to an octagonal pool in the centre. The Gopal Bhavan (c.1763), the principal pavilion, is built of yellow sandstone and lies on the western edge of the garden. It is a rectangular building with a projecting central range containing a single-storey hall, flanked by double-storeyed wings. The façade has arcades of cusped arches beneath deep projecting double eaves or chhajjas. This is a view looking across the Gopal Sagar reservoir towards the west façade.