Timings : 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Time Required : 1-2 hours
Entry Fee : Aaina Mahal: INR 10,
Photography: INR 30
The Aaina Mahal palace, or 'Hall of Mirrors' was built during the flamboyant rule of Lakhpatji in the middle of the 18th century. The responsibility of engineering, architecture and embellishment was entitled to Ram Singh Malam - a genius of an artist who took his training in Europe for 17 years but came back to India seeking name and fame. He was asked by the king to create this palace of dreams for him, and thus the Aina Mahal came into existence. However, what once stood proudly with glittering glasses, antique clocks and exotic tile works, was shaken and dishevelled in the 2001 earthquake that hit Bhuj. The loss was tragic, but it has now been recovered and renovated for people to visit safely again. The Aina Mahal is at the northeast corner of Hamirsar lake, easily walkable from most of Bhuj. Be sure to explore the rest of the compound outside the palace, with its beautiful carved doorways, elaborate window boxes and balconies.
Inside, Aina Mahal is now a vivid collection of art and archaic pieces which is a treasure trove for anyone remotely interested in the history or art or both. The Hall of Mirrors in the palace is the main attraction for the visitors. This is where it has got the most number of glass exhibits, on the walls, ceilings, pillars and even windows, adding to the overall charm of the glittering room.
Other than that, you can visit the Museum which houses royal possessions and weapons, local crafts and international paintings; and the Darbar Hall with the great ivory throne in it. All the furnishing and embellishments of the Aina Mahal are locally made under Malam’s supervision but are inspired by international styles. The ownership of Aina Mahal might not have a great historical significance or a very big name attached to it, but it sure is a one-of-a-kind palace enriched with the best of artistic styles and designs.
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