After a gap of almost twenty years the magnificent Minto Hall is all set to witness crowds, in its new avatar as a convention centre. According to officials the makeover worth 64 crore began in financial year 15-16. It is likely to be unveiled later this month. The main hall from where elected representatives once conducted the business of state assembly has now been turned into main convention hall with a capacity of 500 people. Besides this hall, it has an auditorium that can hold 120 people, three other small size meeting rooms with a capacity to accommodate between 24-100 people.
“Restoration of the building without affecting its heritage value and original grandeur was a big challenge. We are trying to bring this old building into eminence again,” said HR Rao, principal secretary, tourism department. It took a team of expert artists more than six months to restore the intricate Zardozi painting and carving work in central dome of the building.
Moreover special arrangement has been made to air-condition the building. For instance to planners decided to use ducts (HVAC) for air conditioning so as to keep the beauty ceiling intact. Similarly to avoid traditional sprinklers, alternative means have been used for firefighting system. The building is mix of Mughal and British architecture was cleaned outside through sand blasting technique while the repairing work was done by using lime, surkhi, gur, bel and other traditional things.
It will be managed by smart building management system (BMS) where map and important installations are marked on the software and could be controlled by sitting on one computer. Controls including fire fighting system, adjustment of lights (making them dim or bright, or change colours) or sound will be centrally controlled by BMS. Landscaping too has been done to keep the grandeur of the old era intact. A roof-top cafeteria and viewer’s gallery would be another attraction for all. The cafeteria will offer a view of splendid sprawling green lawns and the lower lake. Viewer’s gallery would give a glimpse of Bhopal’s rich heritage and history besides showcasing contemporary art in the gallery.
About Minto Hall
Nawab Sultanjahan Begum constructed the Minto Hall in the year 1909, keeping in mind the requirement of a guesthouse near the Raj Bhawan (then called the Lal kothi). Architect AC Rovan designed it while R. A. Dhondi and Sayyed Ali constructed it. A fund of rupees three lakhs was spent over a period of 24 years on its construction. The building was named after Lord and Lady Minto as a mark of British Raj. The architectural style of Minto Hall is visibly Indo-British- a fusion of British and the provincial Nawabi architecture of Bhopal. In the year 1946, Minto Hall was converted to Hamidia College, which later moved to its own building. After independence, the hall was converted into the state assembly- it too was moved to a new building in 1996.