Photographer's Note

Bhuj - a 500 year old bustling city in the Western Indian state of Gujarat, is the most important city in Kachchh (Kutch). The Aina Mahal Palace is one of the main tourist attractions in Bhuj. The erstwhile palace, which belonged to Maharao Lakhpatji, has now been transformed into a Museum that is one of the chief Tourist Attractions in Bhuj. The Aina Mahal is famous for a housing a fine Hall of Mirrors from which the palace get its name ('Aina' in Hindi = mirror).

This picture was taken at 19:40 from the terrace of the guesthouse where we stayed, using the parapet as a 'tripod'. Liked the play of changing colours & light on the palace.

Aina Mahal Palace in early morning....

The Palace constructed in 1750, reveals a strong European influence in design. Much of this owes to the fact that it was built by the King’s deft craftsman Ramsinh Malam, who had imbibed the European styles of art and architecture from his stay in Europe for 17 long years. Ramsinh had learnt to master the art in Holland, where he received training in the techniques of making clocks and tiles, canon fabrication, enameling, and architecture.

In the morning of 26th January, 2001 - India’s Republic Day, a ‘With Moment Magnitude’ (Mw) 7.6 earthquake shook Gujarat. The epicenter of the quake was located at 23.6 North Latitude and 69.8 East Longitude, about 20 km Northeast of Bhuj. This major earthquake seriously damaged the Palace complex. Buildings collapsed and floors caved in; intricate architectural details and window screens were destroyed and structural cracks developed throughout the complex. The Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) immediately identified the Bhuj Darbargadh for emergency restoration and engaged government and private groups to prepare a pilot conservation project – a partial restoration of the Aina Mahal.

I wish all of you in Trekearth a great New Year 2012. Let the New Year 2012 bring the peace, prosperity, hope, happiness & a good future to all of you. Aina Mahal to me, stands as the epitome of Hope & an epitome of Human Resilience against all odds.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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