Growing up in a small place like Jammu used to make me sigh in despair for my cousins in Delhi seemed to be having it all – the cafes, markets and best of the places one could go for recreation – we were treated to them whenever we visited my relatives. Appu Ghar, India gate, Science museum, Wimpy’s and many more – all had me in an enthral and I would bemoan the lack of such places in my humble hometown.
It’s not as if Jammu didn’t have places to go to; I guess what was really needed is the eye to see them as precious. Now that I am all grown up, I can remember with vivid details all the picnic fun in some of the most beautiful and scenic places in India. I am also in awe of this gem of a place where once can get together for a cosy cup of coffee with friends, sprawled out in the lawn chairs in the wide green expanse that overlooks the Tawi river on one side and the famous Vaishno Devi shrine located on the Trikuta hills on the other.
The beauty of this spot is not just in its secludedness from the hustle bustle of the city, or the scenic views, or the cosy outdoors but the fairy tale castle/palace housed in this complex. I am talking about the Hari Niwas Palace which was the official residence of the last king – Maharaja Hari Singh who built this palace in 1895-1961 and the fairy tale castle is called the Amar Mahal palace.
Hari Niwas palace is built in the much favoured Art-Deco style of that era and is housed in 50 acres of beautifully landscaped green compound which boasts of a huge mango tree orchard in its midst. The descendants of the Maharaja converted it into a Heritage hotel in 1990 and have continued to run it since then.
It’s the Amar Mahal palace that has held my fantasy as a child and I have never been able to stop myself from visualizing what living in it would have been like. One can wander within this miniature castle and marvel at the wallpaper, the gorgeous flooring and some of the paintings/portraits stun you into silence with their regal beauty.
This palace was designed by a French architect who conceptualised it on the lines of a French chateau. After his parent’s death, Dr. Karan Singh dedicated it to their memory and converted it into a museum to house books, paintings and other artefacts. The most notable item displayed here is the massive gold throne weighing approx. 120 kgs. This museum is now being run under a trust created in the name of Maharaja Hari Singh and his wife Tara Devi
The red sandstone used to build this palace is complimented by coral painted corrugated roofs which line up over the open balconies. The Palace has French windows, bay windows, sloping roofs, towers and turrets- all set to give it a surreal fairy tale look. It’s the romantic in me that falls into a waking dream while meandering through this palace, imagining its grandeur and luxury in it’s hey days.
If you are ever in Jammu, don’t miss out on visiting this iconic spot for a treat to the eye.
⇐⇐ Guest Post by Shalzmojo ⇒⇒
An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.
Check out the Kangra Fort in the Himachal valley
This post is written for the December bloghop #mymojo with Shalzmojo
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Disclaimer: This is a Guest Post and all views shared, are authors own.
The place is beautiful……
Thanks Sudhir… It really is just gorgeous.
I have never been to Jammu before, but your pics are too good to resist. Added another place to my bucket list!!! Thanks for sharing your experience!!
Oh that’s lovely to hear Prasanna… There is tonnes to do in Jammu that I will try and put on my blog soon. Glad you liked this post. Thank you 😊
Wow! Must make one feel like a queen there! I like the chateau look and feel it has been given. 🙂 Would so love to visit the place someday.
Ya for sure 🙂
I hope you do Shilpa; its very enchanting and the view of the Vaishno Devi hills and the river below is divine too! 🙂
Such a beauty it is indeed! If the images itself are so beautiful, I can imagine how it must have felt to see it standing in front of it! Though it is not in the size of a massive castle it still looks beautiful as if it was extracted right from the fairy tale!
True. Big or small we all wish for a beautiful castle like in the tales 🙂
Yup I know what you mean Keerthi; thats the feeling I get eveyrtime I come here! Almost as if Enid Blyton’s characters will come traipsing down the hallway 😉
Was it the description of the palace or the majestic photos, I dont know, but I feel I must visit the place.
I think a combination of both 🙂
Thanks for your lovely words Anagha; do tell me if you get a chance to visit it!
Lovely post Shalini…..Never been to Jammu but will surely visit this place once i plan a visit to Jammu
Thanks so much! Pls do; maybe combine it with the Vaishno Devi trip and make a stopover here!!
Wow! It’s so wonderful that you are from such a beautiful place. I think sometimes we need to move away to appreciate our homes
Well said Namy; thats exactly what happened!! I fell in love with it once I moved away and came back for a visit!! 😉
I definitely would love. To go there if I ever go again! We once took a car ride to Kashmir and stayed in Jammu for two days! Let’s hope to do something similar. Loved the pics 🙂
Thanks Z – I hope you do get to go and visit it for sure next time!!
Ah! This post brought back so many memories of our stay in Jammu. Hari Niwas was where the kid and I used to go for our swimming sessions during the summer months. And it is this very place where we have had a lot of official parties and get togethers too.
The palace really looks like a fairytale. I am having a great time reading all posts and building up my to visit list. This is fun. 🙂 The pictures are amazing Shalz.
I still cant believe they allowed swimming her and I didnt know about it; heartbroken over it!! 😉