Saturday, 14 May 2016

200 year old palace - Rajwade, Indore

Interior of Rajwade, Indore. www.shutterstock.com
Since India was once ruled by innumerable rulers of many dynasties across the land, they had built palatial palaces suitable to their style, taste and affluence. Some are centuries  old and they are the windows on our  old Indian subcontinent and the early life style. Every one of them is unique in its own way and the monuments stand as immortal works of the  our skilled artisans of the past era.

Among the monuments of Indore, the historical palace of the ruling class the Holkar Family called  the Rajwada Palace  is a living example  and showcases how the town was once culturally rich and how the Holkers lived their royal life in tune with the prevailing time then, without losing their sensitivity to their aesthetic values and the deep-rooted Indian tradition. As many people may not be aware that the name of the city is  derived from one of the famous temples of the region -  "Indreshwar temple". Indore for long had been the seat of the Holkar dynasty. 


Rajwada Palace in Indore, India. en.wikipedia.org
This seven storied structure also called the Juna Rajawada or Old Palace, located near the Chhatris (near the Khajuri Bazaar)  is a lofty, seven-story structure built by Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar II about two centuries ago. The first three floors the Rajwade  are made of stone and the last three floors are made of wood. A rare feature one encounters among the Indian palaces.   

It dominates the skyline here, standing with royal grandeur and regal style. Surprisingly the structure, which is mainly a blend of Maratha and Mogul style of architecture, has two parts: one in the center of the city and the other in the old part. The part of the structure with  cylindrical bastions at the four corners was constructed in 1766 and  the southern part was rebuilt in the years 1811-1833 after  a fire mishap.

Rajwada palace,Indore city,beautiful balcony. www.alamy.com
Visitors first encounter beautiful  lofty archways with a sturdy
wooden door fixed with iron studs. The inner courtyard has a Ganesha temple and numerous Mogul-type balconies and windows. The galleried rooms and other features here catch our attention. Open and semi open areas in th building  along with covered areas accentuated by aisles and arcades along with  delicate niches, beautiful windows extoll the imagination of the designer and the talents of the skilled artisans,  who were mostly Muslims who took refuge in Malwa and had built several monuments for the Holker family.  Earlier they were with the Moguls.

Stone Carved Pillars in Rajwada, interior view, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India..www.alamy.com
The  7 story facade of carved stone and wood jails, jharokhas and chattries is presently under the control of  the ASI and serious efforts are foot to preserve and restore this historical palace which also combines French style of building.  However. restoration work has been going on for some time. The palace was damaged during the 1984 riots.
Detailed Carving on one of the Pillars at Rajwada, interior view, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. www.alamy.com
Within the palace  there is a temple of Malhari Martand, the family deity of the Holkars.  Across the square, is the Anna Chatra or  a building that provides free food for the poor. On the northern part  is the new Palace and garden, built in a classical manner with a French style pavilion roof.  Here one can see a blend of the French, Mughal and Maratha styles of architecture. The Maratha style of architecture is known for its simplicity suitable to tropical climate, rhythm, visual presentation of aesthetics and architectural grandeur, reflecting the local tradition.
Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajwada