Amar Mahal Palace - last official residence of the Dogra dynasty -
Amar Mahal Palace - last official residence of the Dogra dynasty
Posted 31 Jan 2017 05:52 PM

The Amar Mahal Palace is a palace in Jammu, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, which has now been converted into a Museum. It was built in the nineteenth century for Raja Amar Singh, a Dogra king by a French architect on the lines of a French Chateau. The palace was donated to the Hari-Tara charitable trust by Dr. Karan Singh for use as a museum. It has many exhibits including a golden throne weighing 120 kg, Pahari miniature and Kangra miniature paintings, a library of 25,000 antique books and many rare art collections.

The palace was the last official residence of the Dogra dynasty, and a large collection of portraits of the royal family are also on display in the Museum.

History about it :
The Amar Mahal Palace was planned by a French architect, in 1862. However, it was not built until the 1890s. Maharani Tara Devi, wife of the late Maharaja Hari Singh (son of Raja Amar Singh) lived in this palace till her death in 1967. Subsequently, her son Karan Singh and his wife Yasho Rajya Lakshmi converted the palace into a museum to house rare books and works of art, with the objective of “Encouraging artistic talent, to establish fine arts centre and to collaborate with other like minded institutions for promotion of Indian arts”. For this purpose, they transferred the palace property to a trust named as the “Hari-Tara Charitable Trust”. Karan Singh voluntarily surrendered the Privy Purse paid to him by the Government of India as a former ruler of Jammu, one of the Princely state of India, and used the funds to set up this museum named in memory of his parents.

The museum was inaugurated by the Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, on April 13, 1975. To promote the stated objectives, the Trust arranges guided tours, book readings, lectures, film shows and hobby classes and other visitor friendly activities in the Museum. Scholarly exchanges, workshops and exhibitions are also regular features held by the Trust. The Dogra-Pahari paintings displayed in the museum were creation of the second half of the 18th century in Jammu and Himachal Pradesh of the Kangra school of art. To quote the words of Karan Singh: “The whole effect is to transport one into a fascinating miniature world with its own aura and ethos.”

Amar Mahal Museum has art galleries displaying Indian art and work of Indian artists in different fields. One of the grandest attractions is Dogra Kings Gold Sofa weighing 120 kg.
These galleries have paintings made from renowned artists as well as dwelling amateur artists. The attraction in paintings include fascinating paintings made by M.F hussain, J. Swaminathan, G.R Santosh, Bikash Battacharyagee, Laxmi Pani and may more. Paintings here include Dogra and Pahari, paintings from 18th century in Jammu and miniature paintings of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. There are different galleries named Nala Damayanti, Dasha Avatar Gallery and Contemporary Art Gallery.
Nala Damyanti Gallery has a collection of almost 47 paintings from 18th century made Kangra ki Kalam, which narrates the love story of Nala and Damayanti and ends with their wedding Damayanti Swaymavar.
Dashvatar Gallery has illustrations made in oil paintings depicting stories of Lord Vishnu. A pictogram here is the reincarnation of lord Vishnu or Vishnu Puran.
Contemporary Art Gallery has a modern collection of paintings made by prominent contemporary Indian artists.
There is also an extensive library at Amar Mahal with books on subjects such as literature, science, politics, philosophy and more. Another attraction is the suite of Maharani Tara Devi where her clothes, bedspreads and Victorian style bathroom can be viewed.
This museum now fulfills its objectives by arranging tours, reading sessions, lectures and hobby classes. There are student exchange programs, workshops, and other hobby activities in the museum gallery.

Amar Mahal has been truly inspired by French methodology and stones have been used to decorate the walls with red roof. There are French windows and a small balcony on the first floor and a bay window on the top floor. Three sides of this building have an extended corridor with roof extending down. The wooden frame work has been used adjunct to support wooden columns which enhance the beauty of the palace.

How to Reach
Amar Mahal Palace is at Jammu and local autos can be taken to reach the Palace.
Jammu has a railhead which is connected to all major cities of the country and there are a number of fast and slow trains linked. NH1 connects Jammu by road to Delhi.

Best Time to Visit
Jammu has a wonderful climate all year round and is comfortable to visit from September to April. Summers at Jammu start from March and end till June. The temperatures go up to 45 degree C. This is a favourable time to go for sightseeing as well as to undertake treks.
Winters extend from November to February and are extremely cold. Temperature can drop to freezing point with light to heavy snowfall.
Monsoons are observed during June to August and receive good amount of rainfall through these months.
Flowering season lasts from September to November when flowers are at full bloom.

The museum is open from 10 am to 12 noon & 3 pm to 5 pm in winters and 5 pm to 7 pm in summers.
Sundays: 10 am to 12 noon
Closed on state holidays and Mondays

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