Indore: ‘Manik Bagh Palace should be a heritage site, not government office’

Indore: ‘Manik Bagh Palace should be a heritage site, not government office’

She said, “The Manik Bagh Palace was built by Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II, and I strongly believe that the government should convert it into a museum as a tribute to the Maharaja for his contribution in the field of arts.”

ARSH RAFIK VISAALUpdated: Saturday, February 25, 2023, 12:43 AM IST
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The Manik Bagh Palace earlier |

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): At a time when local administration is looking the other way when it comes to preserving the rich heritage of the city, it is foreigners, impressed by the wonderful structures of the bygone era, who are demanding their preservation.

Recently, Jacqueline Delaporte, a French author, who has done extensive research on the Holkars and has several research papers to her credit, visited Manik Bagh Palace and was stunned by its beauty and was appalled that it was being used as a government office – Central GST office.

She said, “The Manik Bagh Palace was built by Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II, and I strongly believe that the government should convert it into a museum as a tribute to the Maharaja for his contribution in the field of arts.”

City’s historian Zafar Ansari who was with Jacqueline during her visit said that the French author was unhappy that such a fine heritage building was being used as a office building, which could be shifted anywhere. Ansari said that Jacqueline told him that had this building been in France it would have been preserved as a heritage building.

Ansari said that Maharaj Yeshwant Rao Holkar II had built Manik Bagh Palace in 1933. It was designed by German architect Eckart Muthesius. That design was considered the finest among the constructions of the class. The designs of these German architects are still taught in schools in Germany and France. Also, Maharaj Yeshwant Rao's dress, living style was the most different and attractive among all the royal families.

The Manik Bagh is a remarkable fusion of traditional and modernist design. In all other regards, the Manik Bagh was a Bauhaus and Art Deco masterpiece.

The Manik Bagh was furnished with some of the most lavish furnishings available. The Maharaja's collection boasted pieces by Eileen Gray, Louis Sognot, and Emil - Jacques Ruhlmann. The majority of the furniture, lighting and other features were designed and created by Muthesius.

Ansari added that the palace was said to be the first palace of India which was fully air-conditioned. He said, “the word Manik-Bagh means Ruby Garden or Gem Garden.”

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