Jagatdhatrimata Trust, Udai Bilas Palace Collection, Dungarpur

Client: Udai Bilas Palace/ Jagatdhatrimata Trust, Dungarpur, Rajasthan, India

August 2010 – ongoing

Udai Bilas Palace

Udai Bilas Palace

Dungarpur in southern Rajasthan is the little-known capital of the erstwhile eponymous princely state. Its name, Dungarpur, or “city of hills,” describes the town’s topography, comprised of picturesque hills covered with scrub and desert vegetation.

Udai Bilas Palace in Dungarpur, Rajasthan dates from the mid-19th century and was founded by  Maharawal Udai Singh II. The single wing built on the shores of Gaib Sagar lake was later expanded  into the Dungarpur family’s main residence when they moved out of the historic seven-storey Juna  Mahal.

The Maharani Manhar Kumari Museum also called ‘The Ajaibghar’ or ‘wonder house.’ Originally a nineteenth-century term that reflected the awe and exoticism of museums and their collections to most of the Indian public, the new museum seeks instead to convey a sense of discovery and appreciation for the arts and heritage of Dungarpur. The museum was inaugurated by Maharawal Mahipal Singh Ji on 31st May, 2015 and is now open to the public.  The Museum Collection is an eclectic one comprising textiles, photographs, film and photographic equipment, and other assorted items. It is one of great local significance as the collection remains within the family.

Our role

The Maharani ManharKumari Museum: The Ajaibghar is now open to the public at the Udai Bilas Palace after several phases of documentation and conservation of textiles with specialists brought in by us. With support from Eka, the Rajput fortress of Juna Mahal in Dungarpur managed by the Juna Mahal Amba Mata Trust, was inducted in the 2014 World Monuments Watch List. We are now re-focussing our engagement, involving a range of projects such as the Archives, a display on traditional dining, and Juna Mahal.