Gauhar Mahal, one of the major heritage structures of Bhopal, will be developed into a museum where an exhibition-cum-sale of handicrafts and handlooms will be held throughout the year.
A section will be dedicated to the history of Bhopal.
“Gauhar Mahal will be restored to its old glory. This venue would now be completely dedicated to the artisans of Madhya Pradesh. A handloom and handicraft training center will be opened, which would display the history of handicrafts, handlooms and apparels in Madhya Pradesh, besides showcasing their manufacturing process and other aspects,” said Pravir Krishn, principal secretary of the department of village and rural industries.
MP’s Chanderi, Maheshwari and Baagh handlooms are famous across the world.
According to sources, a restaurant will be opened at the palace that would be run by the tourism department. The restaurant’s interior will match the architecture of Gauhar Mahal.
The restaurant will have cuisine from various regions of the state. The famous pakwaans from regions like Bundelkhand, Malwa, Nimar and Mahakaushal will be available at the restaurant.
A series of cultural programmes like dance and songs will be organised every day.
“We have held discussions with Bharat Bhawan authorities to engage artists regularly at the Gauhar Mahal premises,” said Krishn.
Work in this direction has already started and by July 15, the changes will kick in, he said.
The Gauhar Mahal is nearly 200 years old and was built by the first woman ruler of Bhopal, Qudsia Begum (reigned 1819-1837), who was nicknamed ‘Gauhar’.
The palace, which was residential as well as a working place for the Begum, is known for its Indo-Islamic architecture.
According to heritage and architecture expert Savita Raje, it is unique among the contemporary palatial structures in other parts of the country in the sense that it has no separate designated parts for women and men (mardana and zanana) since the ruler herself was a woman.