Thursday, December 21, 2017




                                          ( Mubarak Mandi  Palaces Complex before 1947 )

Raja Dhruv Dev(1707-1733) of Jammu laid the foundation of present MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX. Pandit Ram Swroop (Royal Purohit / Astrologer) performed the foundation ceremony. Subsequent rulers of Jammu and later Dogra rulers of J&K state added more buildings and Palaces to this complex. Maharaja Gulab Singh( 1792-1856) added three mansions on north eastern side of this complex . Maharaja Ranbir Singh(1856-1885) built his own Palace and a Palace for his Queens on north eastern side that had a panoramic view of Tawi river.He got Gole Ghar completed apart from building Sheesh Mahal for his favourite Queen Rani Bandrali..He also built three palaces for his three sons Partap Singh, Amar Singh and Ram Singh. He constructed many official buildings with large Halls and Galleries for administration and Public events.Thereafter Maharaja Partap Singh's built a Palace for his queen Maharani Charaki on eastern side . He also added some more buildings for administration . Maharaja Partap Singh also ordered extensive renovations of Pink Hall, Green Hall and central Pavilion during Raj Tilak ceremony of his nephew Maharaja Hari Singh .

Presently Crumbling due to neglect and misuse, this Darbar complex is spread over 120 kanals of land. It is a blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and Baroque(European) style of Architecture.

Prior to construction of MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX, Rajas of Jammu resided in an old Palace,which was located in Purani MANDI.Some remains of this palace still exist .

Pawaden da Bazar( now Jain Bazar) was established by bringing Jain Traders who dealt in Gold to meet jewelery requirements of the ladies of Royality.They came during the rule of Raja Ranjt Dev(1733-1781).

The Dev Dynasty ruled Jammu for about 984 years from 840 CE to 1816.

For construction of various buildings of this complex , a mixture of Surkhi powder, lime , husk and Mahaash Dal was used as cementing material.

After MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX was built, Muslim Artisans were brought and settled in Mohallas like ustaad Mohalla, Pakki Dakki, Mastgarh ,Dalpatian, Talab Khati ka, and other localities.They were mostly Blacksmiths, Weavers , Leather workers, Metal workers and Masons.

Markets were established at Lakhdatta Bazar and Fattu chowgan.To meet requirements of Royal families and officials ,Mohallas were established near MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX. Mention needs to be made of Jullaka mohalla( Artisans and Weavers), Kumaron ka Mohalla (Potters) , Nachne wali ka Mohalla( Present Rajinder Bazar had kothas of singing and dancing girls), Urdu Bazar ( nearby to present Rajinder Bazar had many gambling dens ) and Dounthali Bazar (Panjtirthi presently). As per book "song Sung True" a memoir by Malika Pukhraj published in Pakistan, singer Malika Pukhraj's father ran his gambling den in the then Urdu Bazaar of Jammu . Malika sang in Royal Darbar during Maharaja Hari Singh's rule and in 1947, she moved to Pakistan.

The complex could be entered through three main gates known as DEORHIS ;one at Chowk Chabutra ,second at Panjtirthi and the third from Pakki dakki side.Residential settlements were initially confined around these three DEORHIS. It was at the Deohri of this complex , that in August ,1813 AD , Mian Mota ,the then prime Minister of Jammu was murdered.

                                             ( The Deohri or Entrance  from Panjtirthi )
Cow sheds, stables , Buggi khanas were also raised outside MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX. Some stables were raised at Simble, Bhadial, Mohin, Ahal, Jhang Maghial and Nagbani far away from the Palace complex .Wazirs and Dewans also built their Havelis outside MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX.Haveli of Dewan Jwala shah presently houses Dewan Badrinath school..Havelis of wazir Ganga Ram and wazir Beli Ram were behind Gadhadhar Temple.Haveli of wazir Lakshman exists at Pakki Dakki. The Taksal building presently houses Govt Girls Higher secondary school.The Haveli of Wazir Amin chand houses JK Public School. Havelis of Raja Hukum Singh Rao, Chaudhary Chatter Singh and Chaudhary Punjab Singh( Brothers of Maharani Charaki) and Munshi Anant Ram kardar have been extensively repaired and altered . The repair and alteration has been done in New construction material. Havelis can also be seen in Julakka Mohalla, Purani Mandi, Mohalla Kali Janni, Dounthali and Fattu Chogan.
                                      ( Tawi river side  view   of the complex   )

Except Maharaja Hari Singh, All Dogra rulers had their royal residences inside the MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX.Maharaja Hari Singh shifted his royal residence to newly constructed Palace (Amar Mahal) near Scenic Manda Hill Jammu.
                                                                 ( Amar Mahal )

After 1947, MUBARAK MANDI PALACES COMPLEX was used by state Government as State's civil secretariat. So many Government offices functioned from this complex. The elegance and the Architecture of the complex was thus destroyed by altering everything by every department to house employees and files. Many walls of the Sheesh Mahal built with decorated mirrors ,French prints and Italian marble cracked and crumbled with neglect and misuse. Cement plastering, partitioning, white washing, smoke, Fires, Earthquakes, Rain water and absolute insensitivity at all levels destroyed the beautiful floral designs, skillfully carved ceilings ,Decorated railings, painted Pillars, decorated Arches, lotus flower style Domes, Wall paintings and the Latticed Jharokhas of several prominent buildings inside the complex.There are cracks and big holes in every structure. Profuse Growth of plants and vegetation has also ruined these structures. Other important structures like Gole Ghar, Rani Bhandrali Palace, Maharani Charaki Palace,Darbar Hall, Hawa Mahal, Green Hall, Grey Hall, Raja Amar Singh Palace, Gharvi khaana(Dawai khana) and Gulabi Dewan Khana have either crumbled or are in pathetic state due to utter neglect.Royal Treasury Building is a heap of debris, Maharaja Partap Singh's Palace has turned into ruins and some floors of Gole Ghar have completely collapsed.


Till late, J&K state High court and so many subordinate courts functioned from this complex.

For about 50 years, state Government offices misused this heritage complex and finally in 1995, Estates Department of J&K Government declared the Palace complex unsafe and started shifting offices after putting all the Palace buildings to extensive damage due to misuse . The last offices to vacate the complex in 2004 were Public Service commission (Grey Hall Building) and Subordinate courts (Raja Ram Singh''s Palace). The advocates also vacated their chambers that they had established behind Gharvi Khana.Both the Buildings were converted to dilapidated and crumbling structures due to neglect and misuse.

There was a devastating fire inside MUBARAK MANDI COMPLEX in April1898..The fire destroyed vital records and buildings known as Dewani daftar, Green darbar, Governor's office and foreign office. Three persons headed by one Mohana had connived to set MUBARAK MANDI COMPLEX on fire. Mohana was sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment.

Due to untiring efforts of some Jammu based writers, Dogra Sadar Sabha, a few Civil society groups and Shri Jagmohan( Governor and later Minister for culture GOI) restoration of the complex was agreed upon and started as late as 2005 .in 2003, the then Minister for Tourism and Culture ,Shri Jagmohan sanctioned an Ad-hoc grant of 4.5 crore for much needed upkeep, restoration and some internal works of of Dogra Art Museum and Repository Library .This set the restoration process in motion.

Presently Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society is monitoring this restoration work of the still erect but dilapidated buildings and structures inside the complex.
Personally I believe that there is colossal tardiness in this restoration and prevention of further damage. Though so many structures have crumbled and can't be brought up by any restoration yet the remaining dilapidated buildings need faster restoration. There is an implied need to create public awareness about this Heritage that would have been as magnificent as Aamer Palace complex or Mehrangarh complex of Jaipur and Jodhpur respectively. May be some day some structure would be restored partially to elegance and glory of its past and for that the pace of restoration needs to be accelerated and appropriate fund allocation created by Government. 

A report published in Daily Excelsior dated 4/11/2017 establishes apathy and extremely casual approach of Authorities towards this restoration. I quote:

" The restoration estimate of this Complex is about Rs 298.86 crore. During the past nearly 10 years an amount of Rs 21.26 crore was released for the renovation work under different heads. An amount of Rs 4.37 crore was released under Tourist Destination Scheme, Rs 8.51 crore under 13th Finance Commission, Rs 3.38 crore under Mega Tourism Project and Rs 5 crore under Capex Budget as  additionality. However, of Rs 21.26 crore only an amount of Rs 13.51 crore was released to the project executing agency-Archeological Survey of India and DDT (M&W) during the past 10 years"

I conclude this post with  a couplet of progressive urdu  Moin Ahsan Jazbi....

"Sarv o saman Bhi Mauj e naseem e Sehar Bhi Hai ,
Aey Gul Teray Chaman Mein Koyee chashme tar bhi hai...................... .."

( You have the Cypress and the Jasmine and the wafting morning Breeze as well,
O Flower ! Look around carefully , There sits a person with moist eyes in your garden .)

(Autar Mota)


(1) "Mubarak Mandi Inheritance Of An Ailing Heritage" by Poonam Chaudhary and Jasbir Singh Katoch. Publisher... Saksham Books International, 62, Peer Mitha Bazar Jammu
(2) News paper Reports The Daily Excelsior and kashmir Times 


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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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