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The Durbar Hall Complex, Junagadh the architecture of the nawabs

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Introduction*:** ! Juna! stands! for! old! and! Gadh! stands! for! fort.! In! 1472:73! the! Sultan! of! Gujarat! Mohammed! Begra! defeated! the! Rajputs! and! took! over! the! control! of! Junagadh.! In! the! Mughal! era,! the! Mughal! General! Sher! Khan! Bari! ousted! the! existing! ruler! and! became! the!Nawab!of!Junagadh.!The!last!ruler!of!free!Junagadh,!who!was!the!direct!descendent! of! Sher! Khan,! was! Nawab! Mahbat! Rasul! Khanji! decided! to! join! Pakistan! during! the! partition! of! undivided! India! but! defying! the! atrocities! of! the! Nawab,! Junagadh! joined! Indian! Union! as! an! integral! part! of! Saurastra! and! Nawab! Mahabat! Khan! took! political! asylum!in!Pakistan.!After!the!reorganization!of!states,!in!1960!Junagadh!became!part!of! Gujarat! province.!Mohammad! Bahadur! Khanji! I,! who! assumed! the! name! "Zaid! Khan"! when! he! came! to! power! in! Junagadh,! was! the! founder! of! the!Babi!dynasty.! His! descendants,! the! Babi! Nawabs! of! Junagadh,! conquered! large! territories! in! southern! Saurashtra!and! ruled! over! the! state! for! the! next! two! centuries,! first! as! tributaries! of!Baroda,! and! later! under! the!suzerainty!of! the! British.! The! Nawabs!of!Babi!dynasty! ruled!as!follows:! •










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Pic 1 : Junagadh Nawabs and state officials, 19th century From the top: Mahabat Khan II, (centre) Bahadur Khan III, (bottom) Rasul Khan, (left) unidentified, (right) Baha-ud-din, a Vazir of Junagadh.

Architecture*of*the*Nawabs* In!the!mid:19th!century,!the!Nawabs!of!Junagadh!moved!down!from!Uparkot,!and!built! the! new! citadel! of! Junagadh.! The! Nawabs! depended! for! their! state's! development! on! assistance!from!the!British!colonial!rulers,!and!in!consequence!their!preferred!style!of! architecture! was! Venetian! Gothic,! as! can! be! seen! from! the! palaces! and! the! public! institutions,! clock! towers,! schools,! bazaars,! hospitals,! city! gates,! district! courts,! prison! and! most! of! all,! the! imposing! Bahauddin! College.! The! buildings! have! thick! walls,! carvings,!cornices!and!elegant!columns!outside,!while!the!interiors!have!wall!paintings! and!intricate!false!ceilings.!The!large!hall!of!the!Bahuddin!College!is!noted!for!its!wood! carvings! on! the! timber! roof,! the! galleries! and! the! carved! brackets,! the! Sardar! Bagh!

Palace!for!its!stucco!carvings!and!the!Rang!Mahal!Palace!for!its!fancy!canvas!ceiling.!The! ruler!of!Junagadh,!Nawab!Mahobat!Khan!II!(1851:82!AD)!undertook!the!beatification!of! Junagadh! and! patronized! the! construction! of! several! buildings! and! urban! design! projects! like! Aina! Mahal,! Circle! Chowk! with! clock! tower! and! Dewan! Chowk.! Other! important! buildings! of! the! Nawabi! period! are! Bahauddin! College,! Manoranjan! Guest! House,!Mahobat!Madresa!(Narsi!Vidya!Mandir).!The!most!interesting!structures!are!the! maqbaras! (musoleums)! of! the! Royal! Family.! The! group! of! maqbaras! represent! the! creative!and!eclectic!phase!of!Nawabi!architecture!of!Junagadh!(1878:1911!AD).!All!the! architectural!elements!are!phase!of!Nawabi!architecture!of!Junagadh!(1878:1911!AD).! * Durbar*Hall*Complex* One!of!the!best!examples!of!the!palace!architecture!of!the!Babi!period!is!the!City!Palace! which!dates!from!1870!AD!and!whose!Darbar!Hall!is!now!a!museum!which!showcases!a! recreated!glory!and!grandeur!of!19th!century!Nawab!and!sultans!of!Junagadh!who!have! ruled!there.!The!Durbar!Hall,!is!one!of!the!buildings!of!the!complex!that!was!initially!a! courthouse!where!cases!were!heard!and!was!later!converted!into!a!museum.!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Pic!2!:!External!perspective!view!of!the!Durbar!hall!museum!complex)!

! The! above! photograph! shows! the! external! facade! of! the! Durbar! hall! museum! as! viewd! from! the! Diwan! chowk.! Towards! the! top! left! one! can! also! see! a! faint! part! of! the! Aina! Mahal,! with! its! coloured! wall.! ! This! part! of! the! building! that! showcases! the! journey! of! architecture,!shows!the!later!influences!of!the!British!period,!and!makes!it!apparent!that! this!part!may!have!been!one!of!the!later!additions!to!the!complex.! !

! The!Durbar!hall!is!a!part!of!the!City!Palace!of!the!Nawab,!which!comprised!of!different! blocks.!The!main!entry!to!this!palatial!complex!was!from!the!Circle!Chowk!as!the!name! suggests!is!a!semicircular!plaza!for!the!palace!enclosed!on!one!side!by!the!palace!complex!

! (Pic%3%:%The%two%grand%entrance%gates%to%the%Palace% Complex,%viewed%from%Diwan%chowk%and%vision%axis% ! passing%through%the%Circle%chowk.)% !

(Pic%4%:%The%circle%chowk%clock%tower,%with%the%crescent% shaped%double%storey%commercial%complex.)% %

the!clock!tower!opposite!it!and!flanked!by!two!grand!entrance!gates!on!either!side! (above! left).! The! clock! tower! block! is! a! large,! arcaded,! two:storey! crescent! with! a! central! clock! tower!and!an!engrailed!entrance!arch,!capped!by!domes!and!minarets!(above!right).! !!

The! circle! chowk! traditionally! is! a! community! space!where!the!folk!dance!of! Garba! was! performed! on! important! occasions! and! festivals.! Some! important! state! functions! were! also! held! here,! and! regal! parades! passed! through.! Hence! the! important! quarters! were! facing! this! place! with! projected! balconies! and!

(Pic%5%:%The%main%entrance%of%the%Palace%Complex,%viewed%from%the% Circle%chowk)%

jharokas!from!where!the!royalty,!especially!the!women!could!view!the!happenings.!The! windows,! jharokhas! and! other! openings! facing! this! side! are! highly! decorated! and! ornamental! in! nature.! All! intricate! work! dome! in! stone,! is! a! speciality! of! the! stone! architecture!of!Junagadh.!The!carved!brackets,!composite!column!capitals!influenced!by! the!Indo:gothic!!architecture,!the!carved!jharokhas,!and!windows!make!a!fine!specimen! that!almost!catalogues!the!transitional!development!of!architecture!of!this!period.!! ! Pic%7%%

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Apart!from!the! exquisite!stone!work! that!is!a! characteristic!of!the! state,!the!place!is! also!famous!for!its! woodwork!that!is! amply!seen!as!a! harmonious!part!of! the!interior! architecture.!!


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The!carvings!and!decorations!also!show!here!the!coexistence!and!amalgamation!of!the! Indian!motifs!and!patterns!interspersed!with!elements!from!the!gothic!architecture.! The!main!hall!of!the!Durbar!offers!an!insight!this!period!of!Nawabi!ruler!in!Junagadh!with! silver!plated!thrones,!beautifully!designed!fine!carpets!and!huge!sparkling!chandeliers.!!! ! Pic%13%


! ! ! ! ! ! ! Right! behind! the! main! hall! is! collection! of! howdahs! and! palanquins,! the! prize! exhibit! being! an! exquistely! carved! silver! plated! howdah! with! silver! mermaids! at! the! corners! and! a! silver! tiger! guarding!the!velvet!cushioned!seats.!!! ! To! its! right! is! the! exhibit! of! the! royal! portraits! and!paintings!that!speak!of!the!delectable!taste!of! the!rulers.!The!oil!painting!of!the!Nawab!with!his! dogs! is! one! of! the! main! attractions! of! this! museum.!!


In!another!room,! Pic%16% 17% the! carpets! and! other! textiles! make! an! impressive! spectacle! :! there! is! a! red! silk! carpet! set! with! diamonds! like! stars!of!a!crimson!sky,!and!some!carpets!lavishly!embroidered!with!gold!thread.!! The! royal! armoury! exhibits! showcases! the! different! arms! and! weapons! used! during! the! times! of! the! Nawab.! Kukris! from! Nepal,! armour,! Sabers,! turtle! shell! shields,! swords,! daggers! of! various! shapes! and! sizes,! medieval! weapons,! rifles! and! period! hand! guns! are! some! of! the! items!on!display.!


! The*Aina*Mahal* The!Aina*Mahal!means!the!palace!of!mirrors!and!is!a!part!of!the!City!Palace!Complex.!!! !Pic%19%


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This part of the complex is situated on the top part of the palace and has a beautifully coloured external facade that is partially visible from the street side. The blue and red of the walls stand out starkly against the crème colour of the entire palace.

The! main! parts! of! Aina! mahal! include! a! large! room! with! a! beautifully! carved! wooden! ceiling,! and!the!doors!of!room!are!panelled!with!square! mirrors.! The! room! opens! up! onto! a! small! patio! which!leads!to!other!rooms.!The!elevation!of!this! room! is! painted! blue! and! red! with! colourful! doors!and!is!adorned!with!mirrors,!some!on!the! columns! (picture! right)! and! others! used! decoratively!on!the!walls!enhancing!the!carvings! or! on! doors! as! decoration.! Sometimes! even! the! fanlights! above! the! doors! also! panelled! with! mirrors!instead!of!being!glass!paned.! The! patio! also! has! a! canopy,! the! inside! part! of! which! is! adorned! with! stucco! and! mirror! work! along! with! some! carvings! that! is! found! on! the! inside!of!the!spandrels.!! In! other! parts! of! the! Aina! Mahal,! one! sees! the! use!of!a!lot!of!coloured!glass!works!on!doors!and! windows.! In! one! of! the! rooms,! the! frieze! is! panelled! with! framed! mirrors! that! reflects! the! beautifully!painted!canvas!false!ceiling.! The!door!leading!to!the!jharokha!of!this!room!is! also! decorated! in! mirror! work! that! is! now! pained! over.! While! open,! it! must! have! reflected! beautiful! patterns! in! the! room! along! with! the! mirrors!of!the!panelling.! !

Though!Aina!Mahal!is!literally! known! for! its! Mirror! work,! but! it! has,! equally! beautifully! done! glasswork! as! well.! The! coloured! glass! panels! in! the! doors! are! a! mixture! of! plain! plate! glass,! transparent,! translucent! or! coloured! in! varying!degrees,!and!some!are! even!beautifully!textured!with! a!self!inbuilt!design!on!them.! The! Aina! Mahal,! is! now! accessed! through! what! once! would!have!been!a!rear!entry! to!the!palace!and!opens!into!!a! beautifully!landscaped!garden! and! courtyard! complete! with! a!fountain.!!! The!facade!of!the!building!that! faces! the! garden! side! is! also! not! left! unadorned! but! is! rendered! in! the! same! treatment! as! the! streetfront! facade.! The! pillars! have! one! round! mirror! each! on! them! held! in! place! by! a! frame! of! plaster.! The! windows! facing! this! side,! have! coloured! glass! as!window!panels!on!the!first! floor!of!the!building!that!must! have!been!used!by!the!royals.!! Aina! mahal! though! is! famous! for!its!mirror!and!glass!work,! it!also!has!an!exquisite!level!of! carving! in! stone! and! wood.! The! stark! difference! in! the! decoration! style! in! certain! areas! of! the! palace,! one! can! know!the!parts!that!have!been! later! additions! to! this! 19th! century!regal!residence.!!!

The! Durbar! hall! complex,! is! the! heritage! building! that! consolidates! the! entire! historical!journey!of!the!city!of!Junagadh.!It! not! only! serves! now! as! a! museum! that! houses! the! royal! articles! and! preserves! those,! but! also! is! a! living! catalogue! of! the! architectural! development! during! the! period.! Right! from! the! rule! of! the! Nawabs! that! were! the! patrons! of! traditional! Indian! crafts,!and!strong!presence!of!Indian!motifs! and! architectural! elements,! such! as! the! mughal! arches,! the! jharokhas,! floral! carvings! used! in! mughal! architecture! and! the! likes,! to,! the! clear! foreign! influence! of! the! Gothic! style! of! architecture! and! its! variants,! such! as! the! use! of! typical! arches,! use! of! pure! geometry! in! derivation! of! forms,! and! the! trademark! flying! buttress! used!in!the!faรงades.!Examples!are!also!seen! of! a! conscious! attempt! that! experimentation! with! the! architectural! style! and! stylization! vis:a:vis! the! adorning! of!the!structure!with!carvings.!The!classical! orders! in! architecture! have! been! modified! as! per! the! needs! of! the! aesthetics! of! the! host!location.! Though! a! lot! has! survived! over! the! years,! but!the!exquisite!royal!palace!is!now!being! used! in! parts! as! a! museum,! a! government! records! office,! a! nationalised! bank,! etc.! Contrary!to!the!belief!that!a!building!in!use! deteriorates! slower! than! the! one! locked,! this! particular! one! is! in! serious! state! of! neglect,!both!by!the!authorities!in!question! who! are! using! it,! and! the! ones! supervising! it.!! Unfortunately,! one! of! the! other! buildings! that!was!a!part!of!this!19th!century!historic! complex! called,! the! Rang! Mahal,! was! the! Nawab's! palace! that! was! destroyed! in! a! tragic!accidental!fire!in!February!2007.!This! place!was!famous!for!its!beautiful!ceilings.!!

! Bibliography*:** ! Internet!resources!:!!! news/archivefullstory.php?newsid=224277&creation_date=2007:02:27!!! ! Photo!Credits!:!! Pic!1!:!'s_and_state _officials,_19th_century.jpg! All!other!Photographs!courtesy!Prof.!Bishakha!Shome!and!Ms.!Karen!Rodrigues!

Research Paper  

The Durbar Hall Complex - The Architecture of the Nawabs of Junagadh, Gujarat.

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