Naulakha Palace – Gondal | Palaces in India – Gujarat

The Naulakha Palace, the oldest extant palace
in Gondal, India, dating back to the 18th century (1748),
with a “sculpted facade”[1] is a part of the Darbargardh
fort complex. It is named “Navalakaha” meaning rupees “nine lakhs” (Rs 900,000) which was the cost of
building it at that time.[2] It has stone carvings with “jharokhas” (balconies), a pillared courtyard, delicately
carved arches, and a unique spiral staircase. The large chandelier-lit “durbar” hall (court house) witnesses stuffed
panthers, gilt wooden furniture, and antique mirrors.[1][3][4][2]
The “private palace museum” displays an array
of silver caskets which were in the services of carrying
messages and gifts for the Maharajah Bhagwat Sinhji
on his silver jubilee as ruler of Gondal. Location[edit] The palace is situated in Gondal city, which
is well connected by road, rail and air services. It is located 38 kilometres (24 mi) away from Rajkot,[1] which
is also the airport (40 kilometres (25 mi) away) and rail
head. Gondal was the capital city of a Jadeja Rajput
clan.[5] The Naulakha Palace is said to be the oldest palace
in the Gondal area. It has very exclusive architectural features
of arcades, jharokas, a royal audience hall (durbar
hall) (which is still used by the present Maharaja),
a winding stairway, shining chandeliers, decorated mirrors
and antique furnishings.[4] It is a unique triple
storied edifice with an open arcade with stone carvings on
the first floor flanked by towers. The eaves above the stone fittings on this floor are carved with sculptures of real
and mythical animals. A part of the first floor also houses a museum which has elegant architectural features over
the rooms with carvings made out of wood and stone over
its doors. The exhibits in the museum include artifacts
collected by the Maharaja of a large number of toy cars,
pictures, a library of books, trophies and so forth. The decorated balcony provides scenic views of the Gondal
town. The side room on the left side of the palace has
exhibits of kitchen ware and a pair of huge weighing balance;
the weighing balance was used on special celebrations
of the Maharaja’s birthdays when he used to be weighed
in gold equivalent which would then be donated to
the poor. Another interesting scene noted near a bridge
over the river is the reflected image of the palace.[ Grounds[edit] A zenana in the palace complex Naulakha Palace is situated within Darbargardh
(an old fort complex), which was built during the
18th century (1748[1]), with a number of additional structures
built in subsequent years. The main approach to the complex is through a curved gateway structure with a
clock tower which rises in three tiers above the gateway. The palace is at the far end from the gate and is fronted
by a rectangular forecourt.[2] The palace has an overview of
the Gondal River. There are many other structures within the
complex,[2] such as the Huzoor Palace, a large building
which is currently the residence of the royal family;
the Orchard Palace, a wing of the Huzoor; and the Riverside
Palace, which is 1.26 kilometres (0.78 mi) away from
Naulakha.[5] [2][6][4] An adjoining zenana is in a state
of ruin. It is flanked by two statues of guards and has stone
tracery architectural features on its upper floor. The Gori Pir, a Muslim shrine (dargah) of a saint is within
the courtyard. [2] An old railway saloon, which is displayed
in the gardens, has basic accommodation of a bedroom,
dining room, and bathroom with period fitments

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