Prag Mahal

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Clock Tower

The Prag Mahal is a 19th-century palace located next to the Aina Mahal in Bhuj, Gujarat, India.

History[edit]

Prag Mahal is named after Rao Pragmalji II, who commissioned it and construction began in 1865.[1][2] It was designed by Colonel Henry St Clair Wilkins in what the local tourist office describes as the Italian Gothic style,[3] although it would be better described as a Romanesque architecture twist on the Indo-Saracenic Revival style, and many Italian artisans were involved in its construction.[2] The palace artisans' wages were paid in gold coins.[4] Construction of the palace, which ultimately cost 3.1 million rupees,[2] was completed in 1879 during the regency of Khengarji III (Pragmalji II's son) following Pragmalji II's death in 1875.[1][5][6] The local Kutchi builder community (Mistris of Kutch) were also involved in construction of Prag Mahal along with Colonel Wilkins.[7][8]

Main Hall

Notable features[edit]

  • The palace is made of Italian marble and sandstone from Rajasthan.
  • The main hall, filled with decaying taxidermy[9]
  • Durbar hall, with broken chandeliers and classical statues[10]
  • Corinthian pillars[1]
  • Jali work depicting European plants and animals[1]
  • It has 45 foot high tower with a clock, from where you can see the entire Bhuj city.[1]
  • There is also a small temple in the courtyard behind the palace with nicely carved stonework.[3]

Restoration[edit]

The 2001 Gujarat earthquake severely damaged the palace.[11] In 2006, the palace was burgled, with thieves stealing antiques worth millions of rupees and damaging other items throughout the palace.[2] The palace was in a "ghostly", "forlorn" state.[10] However, the palace and the tower have been repaired, after Amitabh Bachchan took personal interest in restoration of palace.[11] and its tower and clock have been repaired and are now open for public viewing. The Darbar Hall of the majestic Pragmahal Palace was renovated by the Maharao Pragmalji-III at a personal cost of Rs 5 crore. Visitors may enter the main palace halls and ascend the bell tower, which offers views of the city.[1][3]

In popular culture[edit]

Scenes from the Bollywood blockbusters Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Lagaan, as well as a number of Gujarati films, were shot in the palace.[2][10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "All about Gujarat: Palaces". Gujarat State Portal.
  2. ^ a b c d e Haresh Pandya. "Burglars targeting Gujarat palaces". Rediff.com (4 September 2006).
  3. ^ a b c "Prag Mahal" Archived 2010-01-03 at the Wayback Machine. Gujarat Tourism.
  4. ^ K. S. Dilipsinh. Kutch in festival and custom. Har-Anand Publications (2004), p. 81. ISBN 978-81-241-0998-4.
  5. ^ K. S. Dilipsinh. Kutch in festival and custom. Har-Anand Publications (2004), p. 22. ISBN 978-81-241-0998-4.
  6. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, vol. 5. Government Central Press (1880), p. 254.
  7. ^ This palace was built for Rao Pragmalji II (1860-75) by the British architects and the Kutchi builders
  8. ^ Nanji Bapa ni Nondh-pothi published from Baroda, in the Gujarati, 1999. pp:5-7.
  9. ^ Jane Yang. Let's Go India & Nepal. Let's Go (2003), pp. 218-19. ISBN 978-0-312-32006-5.
  10. ^ a b c Joe Bindloss & Sarina Singh. India. Lonely Planet (2007), p. 760. ISBN 978-1-74104-308-2.
  11. ^ a b PTI (21 June 2010). "Prag Mahal to be renovated on Amitabh Bachchan's suggestion". DNA India. Retrieved 29 December 2018.

Coordinates: 23°15′17″N 69°40′06″E / 23.25479°N 69.66833°E / 23.25479; 69.66833