The Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior is a grand example of the opulence and elegance that were the hallmarks of the erstwhile princely abodes. It was built in 1875 by Jayajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior. A part of the palace (35 rooms) has now converted into a museum while the remaining area continues to be occupied by the Scindia family.
The palace is a unique blend of various European architectural styles, drawing inspiration from Buckingham Palace, Palace of Versailles and the Greek ruins. Even the interiors reflect a distinct European influence as most of the furniture, tapestries and artifacts are from France and Italy.
The Durbar Hall is undoubtedly the most impressive with walls adorned with gold leaves and an ornate gilded ceiling. A pair of Belgian’ style chandeliers weighing several tonnes is said to be among the largest in the world. The story goes that ten elephants were taken on to the roof to test the strength of the building before the chandeliers were hung! Fine Persian carpets, ornate mirrors, heavy draperies and antique French furniture- all make for a true royal experience.
But the crowing glory is certainly the electric silver train with cut-glass wagons. The elegant train would chug around on miniature silver rails serving guests seated around a massive dining table.
The queen Chinoo Rani’s chambers are unique. Chinoo Rani was particularly short and the king had everything customized to her height! Among her personal memorabilia, her bejewelled mini slippers are indeed fascinating!
A beautifully crafted Venetian cut-glass cradle is used for Lord Krishna on the occasion of Janmashtami.