Sunday, 21 January 2018

Sher Garhi Palace, a historical structure in Kashmir


Sher Garhi, the Maharja's Palace,Srinagar,Kashmir. Indiatimes.com
Sher Garhi Palace (meaning Tiger Fortress) is a historical multistory palace complex taking us back to several centuries and is a major tourist place in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the northern most state of India. In the winter, this place will be snow-bound and in the Summer, the weather is cool and congenial, hence tourists come here in large numbers. Converted into 'Old Secretariat', the former palace in Srinagar was built  in 1772 by the then Afghan Governor, Jawansher Khan. It is located on the banks of Jhlelam river and offers a magnificent view of the surrounding area and its strategic location in the southern most part of Srinagar was of great value to the rulers of this region. No doubt, it remained a seat of power  for a long succession of rulers. The one that ruled this region for a long time was that of the Dogra Dynasty. They occupied the palace and ruled this region until J & K became part of the Indian union subsequently after India's independence in August 1947. Former CM late Sheikh Abdullah put the old palace to little use as it happened to be the symbol of Dogra Dynasty.

The former rulers of Kashmir, in particular, the Maharajahs (Dogra Clan) used this palace as administrative headquarters of their kingdom as well as  their residence. On account of  a fire mishap in the  past, the treasures in the palace were severely damaged. Still referred to as Old Secretariat, since the accident, new buildings had been added to accommodate more departments and employees of the state government. The buildings in this palace complex bring out the best of Dogra culture and civilization native to this region. The buildings built in quadrangular  plan are made  entirely of stone with wooden door, windows, ceilings and roofs. The architecture is a blend of English and Kashmiri style.


During Bakshi Ghulam Ahmad' period major shifting of government departments took place. In April  2015 under the administration of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a decision was taken to restore Sher Garhi Palace as part of his program to conserve heritage sites and buildings. After restoration,  there is a proposal to use part of the palace complex for administrative purposes and, it is likely, some state government departments may move back to Sher 

Sher Garhi,Srinagar, Kashmir, europeana.eu
 
Above image: Kashmir , India The Sher Garhi, Palace of the Maharajah of Kashmir and Jammu at Srinagar , showing the Royal Barge in the foreground 4 December 1924 | Central News ................


Garhi. Of particular interest is the Darbar Hall which is similar to the House of Commons in England.

For any  Indian state, undertaking  conservation and restoration of heritage building and sites is a significant step in the right direction as it  helps create a connectivity between  the present generation with their cultural, historical and political past. The past events can not be ignored for their relevance to the present. In this regard, Sher Garhi palace still represents the legacy of Dogra Dynasty.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/govt-to-restore-18th-century-sher-garhi-complex/story-4HxBoZkKrj3zpHlCqYuJjN.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sher_Garhi_Palace