Aina Mahal – Glass Palace

The name intrigued me.  Given the task to figure out places to visit in Bhuj, this was top on my list owing to its nomenclature and closeness to our hotel.

First a bit about where I am. 1st January, 2018. We landed in Bhuj, a small town in the state of Gujarat, India. Unassuming, infamous for its earthquakes , this place is scarcely populated and serves as a pit stop for Rann Utsav Tourists. For us, it was a night halt and thus we had a day to explore its past.

Began our journey with Aina Mahal or Glass palace.

This is what it is:

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And much more.

Our auto rickshaw (3 wheeler ride) jostled through the Bhuj territory, and finally brought us to the entrance of a huge area which served as the owner of Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal.

Below are the glimpses of Prag Mahal – constructed in Italian Gothic style architecture.

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We skipped this and went straight to Aina Mahal:

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As the palace bore the brunt of 2001 earthquake, what you are going to witness is not an artist’s creation but a structure which withstood nature’s fury and still tried its best to retain the old world charm. The entrance bore a testimony to this fact.

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Post entry ticket, you enter a hall which houses the antiques, likes of which I have never seen before.

Like this Chinese cupboard

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or the weighing scale

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True to its name, this hall also had a huge palanquin in laid with mirror work. A sample of same:

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Next was the best.  Fountains in the center and chandeliers on the wall, this was a place for musical concerts.

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An apt retreat for a stressed soul.

They have also tried to preserve some musical instruments from the bygone era.

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As you proceed further, you are greeted with more chandeliers, blue pottery tiled flooring and MASTAANI.

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This palace is a treasure trove of rarest art forms like reverse glass painting and litho painting.

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And a photographer’s delight:

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This proves the fine taste these rulers had for art and technology alike. I was delighted.

The inclination towards collectibles was visible in ornate and intricately carved doors.

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Arms and Ammunitions:

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As well as king’s chambers.

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This definitely reminded me of Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, albeit in a miniature fashion.

The entire palace with its galleries and chambers houses mirrors in all shapes and sizes, and with its celing adorned with chandeliers, it truly does justice to its name.

The palace gardens now house small shops which sell local handmade items like Kutch brass bells, Bandhini clothes, and mirror work bags.

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Though the property is not well maintained , it is definitely worth a visit for its exquisite collection and glass galleries.

And while you are there, don’t forget to ask: “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the most intelligent of all”. That’s you 🙂 .

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