Explosivefashion Logo
 

UDAIPUR CITY PALACE MUSEUM

JASMEEN DUGAL  (click here to know more about this blogger)

The House of Mewar is the torchbearer of the Living Heritage movement in India and The City Palace is a testimony to this — beautifully showcasing both tangible and intangible heritage. A shining example is City Palace Museum, which preserves the cultural heritage and time honoured traditions of Mewar. It is awe-inspiring because of the painstaking devotion to detail; each of the galleries in the museum showcases different aspects of life in Mewar. Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Maharana Of Udaipur built distinct galleries to keep alive, preserve and share the magnificence of Mewar… not as a lost relic of the past but as an affirmation of its living culture. This cannot done in a hurry! There is so much to see that, if you spent an entire day appreciating each object on exhibit, you would see only a percentage! So it is wise to focus on two-three galleries each day and let it seep into your soul. I spent an day touring the museum during my trip to Udaipur and emerged with a wealth of knowledge. Let me try to document it here!

 

Amar Mahal Gallery: Splendour of Silver is the only silver gallery in Asia dedicated to the finest silver workmanship dating back to 743 AD. From the grand silver wedding mandap of Shriji’s daughter Princess Padamja Singh Mewar and many other items from the personal collection of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Maharana Of Udaipur, the gallery houses silver heirlooms of the royal family. I was fascinated by a 1939 custom-made buggy that was part of Shriji’s late mother’s dowry. The works on display illustrate the result of the historical relationships between the House of Mewar and both the Rajput courts and the Mughal establishment, as well as showcasing artisan techniques. The Mughal influence is seen in items like the gulabpash (rose water sprinkler) and the surahis (decanters). Most other techniques are local, including pierced work and cladding, where silver sheets cover the contours of wooden objects. It includes silver artefacts used in rituals such as Ram Rewaris i.e. portable shrine for religious deity, magnificent traditional royal transport like the haudah used for mounting elephants in religious, state and military processions to royal buggies and palanquins. It is a “live” museum gallery as many silver items would still be in use today… another example of Living Heritage.

 

Bhagwat Prakash Gallery. Photography Exhibition — Long Exposure: The Camera At Udaipur is dedicated to  selections from the pictorial archives of the Maharanas Of Mewar, which gives us an invaluable history lesson. In 2008, photographic material at the Pictorial Archives Of The Maharanas Of Mewar was digitised and archived. The Bhagwat Prakash Gallery was established the following year. The exhibits provide a photographic overview of the reign of five successive Maharanas of Mewar, from Maharana Swaroop Singh (r. 1842 – 1861) to Maharana Bhupal Singh (r. 1930 – 1955); altering the visual depiction of a ruler from a distant leader to a more approachable figure. The collection of photographs is available for research to the scholarly community. My favourite? A hand coloured photograph of Maharana Bhupal Singh which is part of exhibit Hand Coloured Photographs. Hand coloured or painted photographs were popular in the 19th century and Mewar particularly saw the emergence of artists-turned-photographers who adapted their skills to colouring photographs. Although this art receded with the advent of colour photography in the 20th century, artists continue to brush in colours, albeit for their conservative rural clients.

 

Fateh Niwas Gallery: Mewar Miniature Painting Exhibition is a stellar attraction. The Mewar school of painting is one of the most important schools of Indian miniature painting of the 1600s and the 1700s, in the Rajasthani style developed in Mewar.  The earliest dated examples of these are a series painted in 1605 in Chavand. In the early1700s a Mughal style became more evident. The Mewar school continued into the 1700s and 1800s and although religious themes were popular, more and more paintings focused on portraiture and the life of kings. During the reign of Maharaja Sajjan Singh, European influence and the entry of photography challenged the traditional art works, which eventually became secondary as visual documentary records. Today this gallery exhibits 200 paintings grouped under categories such as nobles, court life, festivals, processions, animal fights, hunting scenes, places of pilgrimage in Mewar!

 

Fateh Niwas Gallery — Palace Calendar Exhibition. Since 1987, the palace of Mewar has been following the ritual of publishing its annual themed calendar, all of which collectively are exhibited in this gallery.

 

Fateh Niwas Gallery — Coat of Arms Exhibition displays a collection of the Coats Of Arms from various princely states of India along with Coats Of Arms from 22 erstwhile princely states of Rajasthan and Coat of Arms of 14 princely states which spread throughout the country after originating from Mewar.

 

Gokul Niwas Gallery — The Mewar Regalia Textile and Costume Exhibition showcases the rich royal textile collection of Mewar dating back two hundred years. As a fashion editor, it was an invaluable insight. It was fascinating to view the recreation of a bedecked royal bride’s farewell from Udaipur to her marital home. What exquisite design! Other exhibits in this gallery will focus on innovative embroideries, trims, woven fabrics and distinct garments as worn at festivals, religious ceremonies and during various rites-of-passage ceremonies at the court of Mewar.

 

Jas Prakash Gallery — Architecture and Conservation Exhibition showcases the architectural styles, trends and influences of contemporary development in the architectural evolution of this magnificent structure.

 

Raj Niwas Gallery — Taam Jaam and Palanquin Exhibition.

Long before automobiles and vehicular chaos, the royal family of Mewar used Thakats and Palanquins to traverse. This gallery exhibits palanquins since seventeenth century Mewar, made for various ceremonial or bridal occasions.

 

Som Niwas Gallery: Divine Gesture — The magnificence of Mewar spirituality preserves the finest collection of religious sculptures. Repeated invasions and the destruction of temples in the past was one of the reasons why these sculptures came under the custodianship of the Maharana of Udaipur. It presents a fairly representative history of the stone sculptures from in and around Shree Ekling ji temple, which follow the Gurjara Pratihara style of temple building. This gallery exhibits 47 sculptures classified under four thematic sections: Gods, Surasundaris, Goddesses and animal motifs or memorial stones.

 

The royal family of Mewar has always provided patronage towards the continuation of the age-old traditions of music. The Maharanas themselves were passionate lovers of music, art and literature. Saraswati Vilas Gallery –– A Royal collection of Musical Instruments showcases a variety of musical instruments including a 200-year-old Tanpura with a painted base! The gallery comprises 39 donated instruments belonging to The House of Mewar. It would be most important to mention here that all instruments on display belonged to members of the royal family, some of which are over hundred years old. This makes the collection unique as it is indicative of their personal interest in music and preservation of these musical instruments. Yet another shining example of ‘Living Heritage’.

 

The Crystal Gallery houses glass artefacts created by F. & C. Osler, the foremost manufacturers of monumental cut glass luxury objects in and after the Victorian era. The exquisite crystal items include dining table, table, sofa set, washing bowl, goblet, tray, decanter, to perfume bottles, candle stands, crockery and even beds. Yes, all in glass! The highlight of the gallery is a crystal Royal punkah i.e. manually operated fan.
 

Som Niwas Gallery
 
Som Niwas Gallery
 
Som Niwas Gallery
 
Saraswati Vilas Gallery
 
Saraswati Vilas Gallery
 
Saleh Khana Gallery
 
Raj Niwas Pallenquin Gallery
 
Raj Niwas Pallenquin Gallery
 
Gokul Niwas Gallery
 
Gokul Niwas Gallery
 
Gokul Niwas Gallery
 
Fateh Niwas Gallery, Palace Calendars
 
Fateh Niwas Gallery, Palace Calendars
 
Fateh Niwas Gallery, Painting Gallery
 
Bhagwat Prakash Gallery
 
Amar Vilas Gallery
 
Amar Vilas Gallery
 
Amar Vilas Gallery
 
Amar Vilas Gallery
 
07-APRIL-2016
 
Share us on :
Join us on:  
 
0 Comments
 
Post a Comment
 

MORE BLOGS BY JASMEEN DUGAL

 
2016-04-03 16:25:02 RANG
 
2016-03-28 14:39:40 CITY AND LAKE VIEW TRAIL THROUGH CITY PALACE UDAIPUR
 
2016-03-26 13:43:22 HOLIKA DAHAN
 
2016-03-26 07:07:48 CHAMBORD: THE RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURAL GENIUS
 
2016-03-25 14:13:15 CITY PALACE UDAIPUR HOSTS GOUT DE FRANCE
 
2016-03-25 09:36:26 WORLD LIVING HERITAGE FESTIVAL: ORAL TRADITIONS