Gwalior to have India’s first wall painting museum

March 8th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by admin  

By Azera Rahman
Gwalior, March 8 (IANS) With the completion of the restoration work of the 19th century Moti Mahal palace in Gwalior town of Madhya Pradesh in another year, India will get its first wall painting museum. According to H.B. Maheshwari of the Gwalior chapter of the Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), the museum will constitute about 12 rooms of the royal palace that have intricate and exquisite paintings splashed across its walls.

“There are beautiful frescoes, murals and mirror work on some of the walls of the Moti Mahal palace. Some depict the day to day life of the kings and queens, some depict nature while others are all about the gods and goddesses like lord Krishna and Radha,” Maheshwari told IANS.

“These are so exquisite that it has been decided to turn a part of the palace, which have these paintings, into a museum so that people can come and appreciate the glory of the bygone era,” he said Saturday.

The Moti Mahal palace, which was built during the reign of emperor Jayaji Rao Scindia, was in a dilapidated condition until recently when the restoration work was started there.

“The restoration work of the palace was started two years ago after the required funds to do so was approved by the then tourism minister Renuka Chowdhury. The sanctioned amount of Rs.10 million has already been utilized and we are awaiting further funds to complete the work. It should take about a year,” Maheshwari said.

The pond in the centre of the palace, where the three-day Gwalior Heritage Festival is going on, is also a part of the restoration process. Water treatment plants are going to be installed to revive its glory. An amount of Rs.700,000 has been sanctioned for it.

“Actually, the restoration work has been taking place not only in Gwalior, but also in Shivpuri and Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh where there are a lot of old forts and palaces. For this triangular restoration project, the ministry of culture has sanctioned an amount of Rs.80 million. The aim of this project is to promote these places as ideal tourism destination places,” he said.

“I had done a survey of this place back in 1990s after which I submitted a report stating that if restoration work is not carried out immediately Gwalior will lose its precious heritage. Thankfully, the Gwalior Heritage Foundation supported the venture and the restoration work started,” Maheshwari added.

This would not be the first feat that Gwalior has achieved in terms of art and wall painting. It also has one of the world’s largest indoor murals.

At Shyam Vatika, an auditorium near a famous temple called Gola ka mandir, is a 9,731 square feet mural that was declared the world’s largest indoor mural by the Guiness Book of World Records in 2005.

“That mural was created in just seven days by six artists under the leadership of Aasutosh Panigrahi, a leading mural creator,” Maheshwari said.

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