MPHHDC moots haat at Lalbag | india | Hindustan Times
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MPHHDC moots haat at Lalbag

COMMERCE MAY soon help restore the lost lustre to Lalbag Palace, arguably the City?s grandest heritage structure. Madhya Pradesh Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation has mooted setting up a haat on the Lalbag premises to bankroll palace maintenance and upkeep, the costs for which are, well, palatial.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 15:47 IST
Saeed Khan

COMMERCE MAY soon help restore the lost lustre to Lalbag Palace, arguably the City’s grandest heritage structure. Madhya Pradesh Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation has mooted setting up a haat on the Lalbag premises to bankroll palace maintenance and upkeep, the costs for which are, well, palatial.

The haat, along the lines of similar projects in Delhi and Bhopal, would offer craftsmen an opportunity to merchandise their goods while proceeds generated from ticket sales would go towards preserving the 120-year-old palace.

The proposal is to be taken up at a meeting on Tuesday between Collector Vivek Aggarwal and officials of the State Archaeology Department, which has jurisdiction over the property. A district administration move to set up a business convention centre at the Palace as well as initiating a Son et Lumiere show at Rajwada are among other items on the meeting agenda.

If approved by the Department, the move may provide a fresh lease of life to the quaint part baroque, part renaissance structure begun by Tukoji Holkar in 1886. Apart from providing a fresh window, no pun, to City shoppers who are beginning to become jaded with the antiseptic mega-mall retail experience.

Collector Vivek Aggarwal confirmed the move. “The proposal to set up a haat was mooted by MPHHDC. However, whether it materialises or not depends on if Archaeological Department approval is forthcoming,” he pointed out. Pressed for details the Collector said only a rough draft had been prepared so far.

“A full-fledged proposal will be prepared after receiving a go-ahead from the Archaeology Department,” he added. Situated on the banks of the, now dry, river Khan Lalbagh Palace was started by Tukoji Holkar in 1886 but completed only in 1921 being constructed in three stages.

The main entrance of this palace, an exact replica of the Buckingham Palace of London, is one of the chief attractions of the Palace.

In its heyday Lalbagh, boasting a wooden dance floor set on springs for extra bounce, Belgian stained-glass bedecked interiors, and impossibly rich draperies and furnishings was one of the most elegant royal residences in India.

Its downfall started with Independence and was precipitated by the abolition of the privy purses in ’71 which made it impossible for the erstwhile ruling family of Indore to maintain the sprawling palace.

Today, thanks to pilferage, neglect and decay the heritage structure is a pale shadow of its former majestic self. Although the Tourism Department recently set apart a sum of Rs 1.59 crore for renovating the palace the money has yet to reach the Archaeology Department.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 15:47 IST