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Amar Mahal Palace Museum- A Monumental Heritage

Young Bites. Dated: 7/9/2018 11:19:51 AM


Amar Mahal, located in Jammu, is a palace depicting grandeur of an erstwhile era.The Amar Mahal Palace in Jammu is a landmark of sorts in the exotic landscape of Jammu. This erstwhile palace stands tall as a testimony to the grand French architecture. This palace has now been converted to a museum. This architecture was built in the nineteenth century for Raja Amar Singh, a Dogra king. This palace was an official residence of the Dogra dynasty and also shelters a number of ancient paintings and a collection of antique portraits of the royal family. The palace was contributed to the Hari-Tara charitable trust by Dr. Karan Singh for use as a museum. This place was built by a French architect, which aped the architecture of French cellar.
The architecture of this marvelous palace resembles the grand Chateaus of France. The beautiful palace of Amar Mahal is made of red sand stone which is a real visual treat. The scenic background of the place enhances the beauty of this palace manifolds. The stunning sight of River Tawi flowing below and the Shivaliks in the north will surely make your heart skip a beat or two. Dr. Karan Singh donated this palace to the charitable trust of Hari-Tara. At present, this trust is responsible for the maintenance of this palace. In fact, Amar Mahal Palace at present has been transformed into a museum. It also plays host to a well stocked library.
The design, architecture and construction of this palace is very distinct and uncommon. It is built with red bricks and red sandstone and is ideally placed on a hillock which oversees the Tawi River. The striking building has long channels on three sides, which are covered by sloping ridged tin roofs. The passages are sustained on columns with wooden framework. The first floor and the top floor of the palace building have French windows with connected balcony and a bay window, respectively. Classical Greek architectural style is evident in the windows which portray triangular projections. The palace was the last official residence of the Dogra dynasty, and a large collection of portraits of the royal family are also on display in the Museum.
It was at the behest of Dr. Karan Singh, that this palace was converted into a museum to promote young artistic talent. He voluntarily surrendered the Privy Purse paid to him by the Government of India as a former ruler of Jammu, one of the Princely state of India, and used the finances to set up this museum named in reminiscence of his parents. Late Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, inaugurated the museum on April 13, 1975. In order to promote and adhere by the objectives with which the museum was established the Trust arranges guided tours, book readings, lectures, film shows and hobby classes and other visitor friendly activities in the Museum.
. The museum houses some of the rare work of famous painters like M.F. Hussain, J. Swaminathan, G. R. Santosh, Bikash Battacharjee, Ram Kumar and Laxman Pai. At the entrance gallery, is the Durbar hall, which displays the family portraits of the Dogra rulers. Hindu epic scenes from the Mahabharata and epic stories like Nala Damayanti are depicted in the paintings of this museum. This museum is also an abode to the golden sofa of the Dogra rulers, weighing 120 kg in pure gold, entrenched with golden lions at the corners. It is placed in a hexagonal room in the museum, which is viewed only through a glass covered window panes as the main door is kept locked for security reasons. There is also a library in the first and second floors of the museum, which stores a distinctive collection of antique books on political science, fiction, religion and philosophy.
The striking building has long channels on three sides, which are covered by sloping ridged tin roofs. The passages are sustained on columns with wooden framework. The first floor and the top floor of the palace building have French windows with connected balcony and a bay window, respectively. Classical Greek architectural style is evident in the windows which portray triangular projections which are fitted over ornate false columns. . The Hari Niwas hotel is at a stone’s throw distance from this palace and if you choose this hotel as your accommodation, travelling to the Amar Mahal Palace will be only a few minutes affair. Only four rooms of the palace are open depicting Pahari paintings of Mahabharata epic scenes and royal memorabilia. A golden sofa of the Dogra rulers, weighing 120 kg in pure gold, embedded with golden lions at the corners, is housed in a hexagonal room in the museum, which is viewed only through glass covered window panes as the main door is kept locked for security reasons. The art works of some of the renowned Indian artists like M.F. Hussain, J.Swaminathan, G. R. Santosh, Bikash Battacharjee, Ram Kumar, Laxman Pai are also on display in the museum. In one of the galleries, paintings of Hindu epic stories such as of Nala Damayanti (a set of forty-seven miniature paintings) are depicted. Modern version of the Dashavatara paintings (ten avatars of Hindu god Vishnu) are also displayed in a separate ante-chamber in the Museum. These are unusual modern art set of paintings. Family portraits of the Dogra rulers of Jammu and Kashmir are on display in the Durbar Hall at the entrance gallery. In the first and second floors, a few chambers house the library, which has a collection of rare antique books (25,000) on religion, philosophy and political science to fiction.
A good collection of portraits of the royal family are on display but the living quarters of Maharani now conserved, The golden throne ,120kg by weight is preserved on the back side in a hexagonal chamber & locked for security reasons. Visitors can only peep in through the glass panes. Pahari paintings of Mahabharata.
It is learnt from one army personnel on duty that the location was selected here that the Rajas could glimpse the Bhawan of Vaishno Devi Mata on the Trikuta hills from the palace.
To have a basic knowledge about this palace, one has to touch upon the history behind this great monument , the last official residence of the Dogra Rajas. Gulab Singh was the founder of the Dogra Dynasty & became the first Maharaja of the princely state J&K. A statue of Gulab Singh can be seen in front of the Amar Mahal Palace.

 

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