Ex-king seeks govt help to convert Askote palace into museum

The Dwal Darbar was set up by the Pal Dynasty from where the erstwhile rulers governed the kingdom. This palace is now in need of repair and maintenance.

dehradun Updated: Sep 20, 2017 21:07 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Askote palace,Bhanuraj Pal
The Dwal Darbar was set up by the Pal Dynasty from where the erstwhile rulers governed the kingdom.(Picture courtesy: Bhanuraj Pal)


HALDWANI: Bhanuraj Pal, the 107th king of the erstwhile Askote principality in Pithoragarh district, claims he has been trying for government assistance to turn his ancestral palace into a museum for many years but to no avail.

The Askote principality joined India in 1967.

Pal says the government is ignoring his requests, which makes him a “bit disheartened”. He says Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, the erstwhile home minister and his father’s teacher, advised him to integrate the kingdom with India. After the Indo-China war in 1962, the Indian government feared that Beijing could try to take over Askote and asked the king to integrate into India.Later, Askote became a part of India, he says.

For centuries, Askote has been a resting point for the pilgrims on their way to the Kailash Mansarovar. The pilgrims meet the king as part of the religious journey. The Rajbhar dynastry was set up by Abhay Pal Deo in 1279 AD as offshoot of the Katyuri dynasty. Prior to this, Askot was ruled by the Doti Kings of Nepal. Askote got its name from ‘Assi Kot’ or 80 forts that once dotted the region, Pal says.

The Dwal Darbar was set up by the Pal Dynasty from where the erstwhile rulers governed the kingdom. This palace is now in need of repair and maintenance.

Pal says he has hundreds of relics and artefacts which he wants to curate and display at a museum, so that they can be preserved for the posterity. “The artefacts show the chronology of the Kingdom as well as the rich cultural heritage and are a treat for the lovers of culture and sociology.”

“It has been around a decade that I have been asking the successive governments to help turn my palace into a museum to be operated under me. I have got assurances one after the other, but not much has been done,” he laments

Pithoragarh district magistrate C Ravishankar says Pal is the patron of the Kailash Mandarovar Yatra and he has been showcasing artefacts to the pilgrims. “We have not received any formal proposal from his side asking help for making a museum. We will ask the culture department to consider the matter once we receive a written proposal from the king,” he asserts.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 21:07 IST