History of Aina Mahal
Aina Mahal was created by the artists Ramsingh and Gaidhar Devshi in the period of Maharao Lakhpatji (1752 - 1761). Maharao was clever enough to realize that the Mughal Empire would decline and was still recognized as the court of honour. In 1757, Rao Lakhpatji visited the shadow emperor Alamgir who was reigning in Delhiat that time. He emphasized to the emperor the services rendered by the Kutch state to the Haj pilgrims embarking for their voyage at Kutch ports and also presented him with the famous breed of Kutch horses.
In return, Rao Lakhpatji obtained the royal title and emblem of Mahi Maratib which was the premiere decoration of the House of Timur. Ramsingh had learnt to master the art in Holland for 17 years and he received training in the techniques of making clocks and tiles, canon fabrication, enamelling, and architecture. When he returned to India and went to Kutch, Rao Lakhpatji did not take time to recognize his genius and skill over the work. Thus finding Ramsingh capable of materializing his plans and ideas, Rao Lakhpatji appointed the former to take on the mirror work, tile work and fountains at Aina Mahal.
Architecture of Aina Mahal
The palace is unique and extraordinary in terms of interiors and architecture. Many water bodies and fountains are overwhelmed in the interiors of the palace, forming a variety of patterns that charms the viewers. Spread over two floors, the building features Darbar Hall, a hall of mirrors and suites belonging to the various members of the royal family. Content and the architecture of the palace are associated with the life story of its architect, Ramsingh Malam, who was rescued by the Dutch when he got shipwrecked at the East African Coast.
Years later when Ramsingh came back to Kutch, the ruler of Kutch- Rao Lakha gave him an opportunity to display his skills. The Aina Mahal was thus ornamented with Venetian-style chandeliers, silver objects, clocks-all made locally under the Ramsingh’s direction. Wonderful local craft like scroll paintings, jewelled swords, ivory inlaid doors and paintings depicting processions are displayed in the palace. Museum is also a part of Aina Mahal which exhibits displayed in the museum include paintings, photographs, royal possessions and finest samples of the Kutch embroidery.
Visiting Information of Aina Mahal
Bhuj can be easily reached by all the common modes of transport. Two daily express trains, the Bhuj Express and the Kutch Express, go from Bhuj to Ahmedabad (8hrs) and on to Mumbai (16hrs.) There are two flights connecting Mumbai to Bhuj. There are regular overnight buses from Ahmedabad, Rajkotand other parts of Gujarat.
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