Monday, 2 April 2018

Naulakha Palace in Gondal - Why does it stand apart from other structures?

3-tier entrance gate. Naulakha Palace:Justdial 
Naulakha PalaceMy India Travel
 Among the Indian palaces and monuments you visit, some will leave a lasting impression on you that will linger in your mind for a long time. This kind of experience you do not get in highly embellished palaces or buildings. The reason is if some architectural decorations are overdone and repeated, it may cause irritation. The Naulakha Palace is different from conventional palaces. It's aura is unique and it's charm is quite tempting. 

The 18th century Naulakha Palace in Gondal, a city and a municipality in the Rajkot district of the Indian state of Gujarat is a famous palace best known for its   "sculpted facade".  How does ii differ from other palaces of this region of that particular time? 

Constructed in 1748, it forms a part of the Darbargardh fort complex and is near the Gondal river.   The main access to the complex is through a curved gateway structure with a clock tower which rises in three tiers above the gateway. This kind of gateway is unusual and rare. The palace is at the far end from the gate and is fronted by a rectangular forecourtSince the total cost of this complex was Rs. 900000.00 (nine lakhs), it id also known as "Navalakaha" The palace, just 38 km from the city of Rajkot and is being visited by lots of tourists.

The Naulakha Palace,Gondal Traveljee
An interior view of the Naulakha Palace. en.wikipedia.org
The Naulakha Palace, a three storied  structure with an open arcade and  stone carvings on the first floor flanked by towers,  is believed to  be the oldest palace in  the capital city of a Jadeja Rajput clan. it is a nicely ornamented place of royal residence characterized by well-made  inspiring jharokhas" (balconies), a pillared courtyard, delicately carved arches, rich Dubar hall (audience hall) and a unique winding spiral staircase. The eye-catching feature is the presence of eaves above the stone fittings on this floor  that are carved with sculptures of real and mythical animals. They are very much similar to gargoyles in the European structures. The adjoining Zanana (exclusive quarters for the royal family women) is in ruin. Invariably the Zanana is self contained in many palaces. 


Naulakha PalaceTripAdvisor
Among the parts of this old palace the most impressive one is the well embellished large chandelier-lit "durbar" hall (court / audience house)  with fine gilt wooden furniture, stuffed (taxidermied) panthers,  and antique mirrors.  It is still being used by the present descendant of the Maharajah. 

The functioning of a "private palace museum"gives thrill to those visitors interested in antique stuff. The exhibits include  an array of silver caskets which were in the services of carrying messages and gifts for the Maharajah Bhagwat Sinhji on his silver jubilee as ruler of Gondal. Also on display are artifacts personally collected by the Maharajah such as   a large number of toy cars, pictures, a library of books, trophies and so forth. In the side room of the palace there are  interesting exhibits  of kitchen ware. Of particular interest to the visitors is a  pair of huge weighing balance. What has it  got to do in a royal place like this? Surprisingly, on some important or special occasions like ruler's birthdays, etc., it was was used to weigh in gold equal to ruler's weight and it will be distributed among the poor. This kind of charity among some Indian rulers was common in those days.
Near-by attractions are the Hazoor palace, Orchard palace and Riverside palace.

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