Gujarat is a land that holds some rich historical monuments which are still standing tall with their charm and elegance. The Aina Mahal in Bhuj is one such example in Gujarat. If you are a history buff who would love to get transported to bygone days then Bhuj Aina Mahal is a must visit for you. Furthermore you will be able to delve into the richness of the bygone era when you visit a location like Aina Mahal. So whenever you are in Gujarat you need to visit this beautiful palace decorated with mirrors. Keep on reading this article as I will mention everything about the Aina Mahal Palace that you need to know to plan a successful trip there.
Aina Mahal timings: The Aina Mahal Bhuj timing is from 9 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 6pm. It is closed on Thursday.
Entry fee: Rs. 20 per person and Rs. 30 additional for camera
How to reach Aina Mahal
The nearest airport to reach the Aina Mahal is the Bhuj Railway Station which is only 2.7 km away and it would take about 8 minutes to reach there. If you are travelling by air then the nearest airport is the Shyamji Krishna Verma Bhuj airport and it is only at a 7 minutes distance via Gaurav Path. Bus services are also available from Ahmedabad and Rajkot and other nearby cities so you can even take a bus and travel to the Bhuj Aina Mahal.
Overview of Aina Mahal
In 1750 this elegant palace was built by Maharao Lakpatji in the city of Bhuj. It is one of the popular sightseeing spots in Bhuj that attracts a lot of visitors on a daily basis. One of the most elegant looking palaces in Bhuj, Aina Mahal is one of the most magnificent palaces found in Gujarat as well as India. Its charm can easily make anyone fall in love. Furthermore by visiting the Aina Mahal you will feel like you have been transported to the day gone long back. Also known as the Mirrored Place of Bhuj the Aina Mahal is called so obviously because of the splendid mirror work done here which is the major point of attraction here.
Furthermore the sheer elegance and the grandeur of this palace is visible till today. During the time of its construction Aina Mahal cost 8 million Koris which is equivalent to 20 Lakhs of rupees. At that point of time that amount was almost equal to the state revenue for three years. In the year 1830 an Englishwomen named Mrs. Postnas visited this place and shared her experience in her memoir called Cutch published in 1839. Later in 1977 the Aina Mahal was converted into a museum. In 2001 the deadly earthquake that hit Gujarat damaged a major part of the Aina Mahal. Furthermore it was restored later and at present it is being taken care of by the Aina Mahal Trust Museum.
Architecture of Aina Mahal
Aina Mahal is one of the most elegant palaces built following the Indo European style of architecture. Located just beside the Prag Mahal, this beautiful palace has been standing after being tested by time. This two storey mansion has beautiful stone works and stone carvings on it. Furthermore with a whitewashed exterior this is the best example of a palace made in local style but decorated in European style. The floors here look majestic with blue delftware tiles. Along with that the marble walls are decorated with beautiful mirrors that aptly justify the name of the Mirrored Palace. These mirrors are further separated by gilded frames.
Everywhere you will be able to see some grandeur in the decorations. The walls are decorated with fitted shelves and you can see ceramic and glassware displayed in them. Additionally the rooms have a spectacular view and are illuminated by eye-catching chandeliers made with Venetian Glass. The charm and elegance of the whole room is justified. There are pillars and roofs on top and the gaps in them are filled with triangular mirror compartments.
In total there are some halls in the palace like the Pleasure Hall, Audience Hall, Hall of Mirrors and State Apartments on the first floor and Darbar Hall, Marriage Hall and antechamber on the second floor.
On the entrance of the first floor one of the major attractions in the Aina Mahal is the 15 cm long and 22 cm wide painting that depicts the grand procession of Maharaja Pragmalji II dated back to 1876. Other than that many European artifacts and collections are found here that includes Chiming Clocks by Dutch, French and English, Ceramics, Chinaware, Glassware, Celestial Globes, Palanquins, Furnitures, Mechanical Toys, Costumes etc. Another major point of interest is the Pendulum here which is synchronized with the Hindu Calendar and is still functional. This collection was made by Morarji Lakhamsi Soni back in 1839.
Furthermore this museum has a great collection of beautiful paintings and some of them were acquired from Europe by Ram Singh Malam when he visited there. These paintings depict various scenes from the State Apartments, Rana Ranjit Singh of Mewar, Empress Catherine the Great, and Raja Bakht Singh Marwar. Alongside there are some paintings that depict some courtroom scenes. What makes these paintings more grand and priceless is the fact that some of these paintings contain real gems in place of the jewelleries, necklaces and earrings worn by the subjects in the paintings. It would be one of the most interesting things to notice here.
The major attractions on the first floor of the Aina Mahal are undoubtedly the Hira Mahal and the Fuvara Mahal. Hira Mahal is the royal bedchamber and it is located just in the middle of the first floor beside the Hall of Mirrors. The 15 feet by 25 feet room has one bed which Mahararao Lakhpatji used for only one year, and later auctioned it and used to get another one in its place. The amount that was spent for purchasing a new bed was taken from the state funds and the amount that was received after auctioning the old bed was used for entertainment purposes.
Furthermore the last bed that is still here has pure gold legs. This is still kept there along with a diamond studded sword which was used by Mughal Emperor Alamgir II during the 18th century. What justifies the name of Aina Mahal is also the 27 large mirrors decorated with semi precious stones and pure gold flowers that surround the royal bed. Furthermore the walls of the Hira Mahal are adorned with Kutchi Aari embroidered fabric Cloth panels that look exquisite in its appearance. Additionally the walls and ceilings along with the doors are also covered in guilt wood carvings and decorated with mirror work.
Just adjacent to Hira Mahal there is the Fuvara Mahal or the Pleasure Hall. It has a narrow corridor alongside the walls and at the centre there is a pleasure pool which is a square platform raised up from all sides. This is a pool made with unique conception where pumps and siphons were used to fill up the pool with water and on its sides there were fountains that could spray water to cool the air. One of the most interesting facts to note is that Maharao held his courts in the Fuvara Mahal. Furthermore the pillars of these chambers are made following the Chinese style of architecture. Along with 18th century inspired glass paintings the chamber is further decorated.
From the first floor a staircase leads to the second floor of the Aina Mahal Bhuj. This is the main area where the courts were held and hence it is called the Durbar Hall. You will find an antechamber here where many decrees issued from 1617 to 1658 are found. These are decrees issued in the name of Rao Tamachi, the ruler who ruled here between 1655 to 1666, by the Mughal emperors like Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh and more.
Furthermore, one of the most important attractions here is the silver throne with wooden chairs. Here you will also find a marriage hall built for Maharao Khengarji III in 1884. Alongside there is a chamber where various weapons are displayed and a perfume sprayer is placed in the middle part of this hall. The collection here also includes a fish made of gold which was a gift by the Mughal emperor to Maharao when he visited Delhi.
Furthermore there are artistic horoscopes of the rulers drawn in the Kamangari style of painting. This horoscope that measures 127 feet long is believed to be the largest horoscope found in the whole world. Another major point of attraction for tourists here is the huge door of the palace that is ornate with gold and ivory. This spectacular massive door was made by a famous carpenter of that time Madho in 1708 by bearing a cost of 400 koris during the reign of Pragmalji I.
Nearby places to visit from the Aina Mahal
- Kutch Museum
- Prag Mahal
- Bhujiyo Hill
- Sree Swaminarayan Temple
- Chattardi Bhuj
- Mandvi Beach
- White Desert of Kutch
- Khari River Gorge
- Kutch Bustard Sanctuary
- Vande Mataram Memorial
- Hamirsar Lake
- Wild Ass Sanctuary
So now that you already know everything about the charming Aina Mahal Bhuj, what are you even waiting for? Plan a trip to the beautiful Aina Mahal and get enriched with its beauty. You will also be able to get an insight of how lavish the lifestyle of the rulers was back in the times. It would certainly be a point of attraction to observe. If you are ever travelling to Gujarat you need to visit the Bhuj Aina Mahal and enjoy its grandness and royalty. Do let me know if this article on Aaina Mahal Palace was helpful for you.