Sunday, December 27, 2015

Vadia Palace, Rajpipla - The Taj of Gujarat - in its heyday in the 1940s.....and now. Restoration of this priceless heritage should begin in 2016

Vadia Palace, also known as Indrajit-Padmini Mahal, was built on a 150-acre estate by the last ruler of Rajpipla, Maharaja Vijaysinhji, between 1934 and 1942. Often referred to as the Taj of Gujarat, it is the final symbol of the 600-year rule of the Gohil Rajput dynasty over this principality lying in the lap of the western Satpuras, and hemmed in by the rivers Narmada and Tapti. 

Despite decades of neglect, the majesty of this iconic monument is still evident. It's potential is enormous in these days of liberalisation and globalisation, of the awareness to preserve heritage, of the keen interest in history, and of the endless possibilities for promoting tourism.

One of the last palaces to be built in India, and one of the most expensive at Rupees 4,00,000, a huge sum in the 1930s, it was centrally air-conditioned, a novel concept in those days. Exquisitely designed with great taste in Indo-Saracenic style, the grand palace was built using the finest Italian marble and Burma teak. There are beautiful frescoes on the walls by the Italian painter Valli. 

It is expected that work on the restoration of this great heritage will begin in early 2016, It is planned to put the property to appropriate use by setting up an international class resort therein.

It should, hopefully, not be long before the world begins to marvel once again at this work of art, at the same time enjoying the enchanting natural beauty of Rajpipla. The wheel does come a full circle sometimes.