Jai Vilas Palace Gwalior

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2020

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1. Side view of palace, has this huge fountain in the centre. It was built by Maharaja Jiwaji Rao in 1874 at a cost of Rs 99 lakhs. The architect was an Italian Michael Filose. Parts of the palace were converted into a Museum in 1964.

2. Next to ticket counter is this old pic of the palace. There is a waterbody behind, not to be seen today. Album covers Jaivilas Palace, family temples of the Scindias, Maharaj Bada area. “Jai Vilas is an Italianate structure which combines the Tuscan and Corinthian architectural modes.”

3. Family tree of the Sinde-showing part. Bottom is Daulat Rao Sinde who fought the Battle of Assaye in 1803. It was between British General Arthur Wellesley & Daulatrao Sinde/Raghuji Bhonsle. Wellesley defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. When asked once of which of the many battles he fought was his toughest, he gave a simple one-word reply; ‘Assaye’.

4. Enroute to Durbar Hall is this hall. It is known for the world famous silver train with cut glass wagons which served guests as it tugged around on miniature rails on the tables.

5. A television close by shows a video of food moving on the track. This video seems a recent addition, did not see it in 2008.

6. The word Durbar is where King would address his subjects. Indian Durbar means traditional royal Maratha court as it existed in the past. U see 8 settings, used to be 29 earlier, 12 on king’s right and 17 on the left.

7. This is the Scindia logo, note the snake in the centre.

8. Puja room has a crystal jhoola. Peacock images next to mirror are a recurrent design of Jaivilas Palace. Peacock feathers are symbolic of Sri Krishna who sits atop the swing. Paintings of Shiv Parvati was by Raja Ravi Varma.

9. Crystal jhoola, notice peacocks on either side of mirror and Sri Krishna sitting on the swing.

10. This crystal fountain was made by Osler Company around 1874. It is 17 feet tall, consists of 291 crystal pieces, assembled in 27 layers.

11. Crystal fountain. The base is a ribbed band surmounted by 8 upright spikes. An elegant 3 piece neckpiece holds an upside down basin which conceals eight lights beneath. Next are two tiers of crystal light bulbs which are finally topped by one large bulb.

12. Table in the same big dining hall which had a train in pic 4. Compared to 2008 the palace is better maintained. Was told Jyotir Raje Scindia’s approach is every property must pay for itself, he will not put in personal money to maintain palace. Good policy but Rs 300/ per ticket is a bit stiff.

13. This Belgian chandelier is as the entrance. The steps that you see take you to the Durbar Hall. It weight 1,000 kgs and has 100 bulbs.

14. Durbar Hall – see two huge Belgian chandeliers each of which is 3,500 kgs 250 bulbs. These were purchased in Paris & assembled here. Post-independence this Durbar Hall became a drawing room.

15. It is said that ten elephants stood on the roof of the Durbar Hall to check if the ceiling could take the load. Pic by Ashish Chauhan, who runs a super event management company in Gwalior.

16. Ceiling of the Durbar Hall. 560kgs of gold were melted and used in the Durbar Hall. Carpet took 12 years to weave and is said to be the largest in Asia.

17. Vertical view of ceiling and chandeliers. Wish the place was better lit or may be should go in the morning.

18. Ceiling – super work.

19. Background is centre of palace. Small cannon in front, right is museum. Very well maintained.

20. Royal Carriage late 19th century. It has a wooden and metal frame and has 50 kgs of silver on it. Upholstery is done with velvet laces and golden brocade.

21. 4 sit on Royal Carriage. It is used on important occasions like Dussehra and royal weddings.

22. This is dining hall, Indian style. Plates and glasses seem to be of silver.

23. This room is dedicated to late Shriman Madhavrao Scindia.

24. Silver chariot made of molded silver above a wood structure. Commissioned 1923. It was a sacred ceremonial object & seen to transport divine power. Maharaja Madhav Rao I commissioned the chariot in memory of his beloved mother Maharani Sakyaraje.

25. Room where sofas etc are displayed.

26. Bedroom of Maharani Chinkuraje Scindia. She was daughter of Sardar Mohite, the 5th Sardar of Gwalior State. She had a sharp mind, took an active interest in affairs of the state. She ran a Rani Durbar and was first wife of Madhavrao Scindia I.

27. Maharani Gajra Raje’s Drawing Room. She was second wife of Madhavrao Scindia I. Most of the furniture was imported from Europe.

28. Looks like the logo, please help with details.

29. Rani of Jhansi’s original shield is what you see.

30. You see Mahi Maratav with Surya Devata or Sun God in the centre. This was placed on the elephants when they went in procession.

31. Palace area is huge. This is backside entrance, close to the chhatris.

32. Close up are Chhatris entrance. There are two sets of chhatris, this is one.

33. This is dedicated to Radha and Krishna if I remember correctly. Design is chhatri in front (made of marble) with temple behind. There are 3 temples and four chhatris.

34. This is a typical chhatri.

35. You see Town hall, Maharaj Bada.

36. Jiwaji Rao Scindia close to town hall.

37. Entrance to Gorkhi Mahal (now lots of shops), first residence of Scindia state and temple that you see in next pic.

38. Devghar of Scindia parivar.

39. Inside devghar. Kuldevta is Gopal Krishna and Sant Mansur Shah dwara di gayi Roti rakhi hai.

40. Entrance to Mandre ki Mata Mandir. Temple made by Scindias. Notice the Deepsthamb ie typical Maratha style that I have seen in Kolhapur-Maheshwar and other parts of Maharashtra.

41. Pranams to Shri Tulja Bhavani. She is the Kuldevi of the Scindia Royal Family. The one in Maharashtra is about one hour’s drive from Sholapur.

42. Old Mahal is where the Scindias stayed before moving to Jaivilas Palace, now locked.

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