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Published in the 1-15 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Rumour of discovery of idol denied

The Milli Gazette Online

Bhopal: Contradicting the rumour that during the repair work of the historic Gauhar Mahal in Bhopal an idol was discovered, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) sources said that only a few pieces of something have been found there.

While talking to UNI, Neera Das, convener of Bhopal Chapter of INTACH, who is incharge of this project, said that many buildings, including some temples, were constructed in this region on the orders of Parmar ruler Raja Bhoj of 11th century Dhar but these temples were demolished before the construction of Gauhar Mahal.

Regarding the repair and maintenance work which has been going on for the past one and a half years, Neera Das said the most difficult job was to preserve and protect the structure because its pillars in some parts of the building have fallen down and broken. 

According to information provided by Archaeological Survey of India, National Archives and museums, Gauhar Mahal is one of the first buildings built by the nawabs of Bhopal. Nothing can be said reliably about the real history of this building but it is understood that it was probably built during the reign of Nawab Nazar Mohammad Khan (r. 1816-19) or might have been built even earlier. It was named after Gauhar Begum which was the title of Nawab Nazar Mohammad Khan’s wife Qudsia Begum.

According to Hayat Sikandari, this palace was very large and spacious in which there were also many memorial buildings like Nazar Mahal, Bibi ki Masjid, Gauhar Masnad, Qudsia Bagh, Diwan-e Aam, two rectangular verandahs, Diwan-e Khas and a residential complex. There was a triangular verandah adjacent to which were residential rooms for employees.

This palace is a beautiful combination of Moghul, Rajput and local architecture. When buildings like Hawa Mahal, Shaukat Mahal and Maut Mahal were built, Gauhar Mahal began to be used as a royal residential building. Later on it was converted into a government office. Subsequently, a part of the building was converted into official records room. 

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