Bhopal begum's palace yields royal 'treasure'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jan 16, 2015 17:27 IST

A dusty, cobwebbed room in what was once a magnificent palace in Madhya Pradesh's capital yielded ten brass 'minarets' and an exquisite silver necklace on Thursday, unlocking a hidden chapter from the city's royal past.

However, what kept the city's rumour mill working overtime throughout the day was news of "treasure" being found when the room at the Sadar Manzil was opened.

Social media was abuzz with news and views on the so-called findings though many asserted that any item belonging to the royal past was "treasure indeed". The room has been serving as the treasury of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) since 1953.

As part of the government's plans to preserve the building as a heritage site, the BMC is in process of shifting to a new office in the Mata Mandir area. Sadar Manzil, part of the royal complex of Bhopal, was built during the rule of Shahjahan Begum, one of the city's most famous begums, in 1901.

As a princely state, Bhopal had the rare distinction of being ruled by a succession of women rulers including Shahjahan Begum, who ruled twice between 1844-1860 and 1868-1901.

BMC officials said that the 'minarets' were earlier installed in different parts of the building but were later dismantled and kept in a steel box in the treasury.

Many in the city belief that successive rulers had hidden treasures in the royal complex, leading to the rumours on Thursday, officials said. Some receipts and files were also found in the room. The treasury was last opened in 1988, officials said citing documents.

Sources said some employees of the corporation fuelled the rumours by claiming that the "BMC is searching for treasures of nawabs present in the Sadar Manzil." However, additional commissioner Chandramauli Shukla denied any treasure hunt.

"It was a routine process. We opened the room to shift the goods. It is also a rumour that 40 minarets are missing," Shukla added. Government public relation officer (PRO) Premshankar Shukla, who have worked in the building for "three decades", to said that he had "never heard (about) any treasure present in Sadar Manzil."

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