The importance of preserving India's great monuments and the loss of Nazarbaug palace, Vadadora,


Vadadora: Nazarbaug Palace Alchetron

It is really an unfortunate fact that hundreds of monuments, historical buildings, ancient Hindu temples, etc., across India built during the colonial period and  much earlier time are gradually disappearing out of our sight for one good reason - negligence coupled with lack of interest in our heritage sites  that connect us with  the past era of glory.  In many places they are in a state of sad dilapidation because the power that be - district administration,  city or municipal council, including the central and state organizations have  no definite plan for  the restoration and conservation of these ancient monuments. Some sites have become garbage dumps, car park and some pretty old temples have become  drug dens, and the near by damaged mantaps are  dwelling places for the homeless and poor. At many heritage sites as they are not well barricaded/protected properly, the hooligans and anti-social people have a free hand and damage them. In remote places, the unprotected and neglected temples, etc., are frequented by gangs and ganja addicts. The governments  are wasting money on many useless and unwanted projects that are not beneficial to the people. I wish the government could come forward and take a list of monuments that are either in ruin or in a wretched state and restore them back to their original state after correct planning and execution..
Vadadora: Nazarbaug Palace Alchetron

In Tamil Nadu, particularly in remote places, many small Hindu temples with excellent sculptures and artistic work are in a dilapidated state for lack of funds and attention. Almost many  of them are under the control of the state government (HR and CE), a poor administrator of Hindu temples and lately there are many complaints and court cases against this organization which is plagued by mismanagement, corruption, financial irregularities  and thefts of valuable idols of deities made of an alloy of  five metals. There  are many monuments under the administration  of the ASI -Archaeological Society of India. As for the ASI, the upkeep of the 1000 year plus old Brihadeshwar temple (big temple) and the near-by Schwartz Church at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu  is not good. The boundary walls of the temple are not repaired and are falling apart.. With respect to the Protestant Church built by Maharajah Serfoji, big cracks are developed on the outer walls. Only the ASI has the rights to carry out any repair as the church is on the big temple land. Because of apathy of the government officials priceless  historical sites that bring out the true picture of various historical and interesting events  in Indian history are slowly crumbling.  It is the first and foremost duty, rather responsibility of the   government to preserve and restore these crumbling  heritage structures across India  for the posterity. If such countless heritage sites are attractively developed, it will improve the tourism industry. In places like Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Lucknow, etc hundreds of monuments, including churches, mosques and colonial buildings need immediate attention. If repaired and restored, such monuments will enhance the past glory of these places as it is fading now on account of sheer negligence on the part of the government. 
In Vadadora, Gujarat, a beautiful palace had been  in bad shape  for a long time and nobody came forward, including the royal family members who owned the building to get it repaired and restored it back to old glory. They could have saved the age old building if they had keen desire and commitment. As the structure became weak due to prolonged neglect for such a long time, it  posed a threat to the public and eventually in October, 2014 it was pulled down amidst court cases and litigation with respect to this old palace. 

Built in 1721 by Malhar Rao Gaekwad who succeeded  Khanderao Gaekwad,  Nazarbaug Palace (also known as Nazar Bāgh Palace),  was the ruling family Gaekwad's royal palace in the city of Vadodara, Gujarat state, western India.  Now, it is gone for ever, creating a hole in the history of Vadadora. Malhar Rao ruled the kingdom for just five years and during that period, he built this  fine palace.  Located in Mandvi Gate, it is believed to be the oldest and  first European styled  palace in this part of Gujarat.

 With three floors this palace used to be the venue for conducting important ceremonies by the Gaekwads - the well-known rulers of this place. This historical palace building  way back housed  the royal family heirlooms. The main attractions were  solid gold and silver guns, each barrel weighing over 100 kg  and a big room of glasses called  the Shïsh Mahal, a Palace of Glass. The adjacent huge garden enhanced the beauty of this palace, hence it was called  'Nazar na laage' ; hence the name Nazarbaug Palace.

The  Gaekwad family  was known  collectors of expensive jewelry  and their expensive jewelry collection in 1927, was worth 
Star of the South diamond. Famous Diamonds
Above image: The 128.48-carat Star of the South, a famous diamond was discovered in 1853 in Brazil; Light Pinkish-Brown in color it was purchased by Halphen & Associates of Paris and was given the name the Star of the South. At this time, the syndicate  came up with an offer of  £110,000 by an unknown Indian Rajah, but the offer was declined. Later, for reasons not divulged, it was sold to Mulhar Rao, the Gaekwad of Baroda, for £80,000, or about $400,000.
$10,000,000.00, a huge sum in those days. The collection included  a diamond necklace which carried both the Star of the South diamond, weight around 125 carats, and the English Dresden; another important part of the collection was a cloth embroidered with precious stones and seed pearls, made to cover the tomb of Muḥammad.  The  white-stucco palace was once the depository of the vast collection of jewels of the Gaekwad family.
Englisg Dresden diamond. owned by Maharajah Gaekwad. Pinterest

Above image: The famous English Dresden diamond gets its name from Mr. E. H. Dresden the 19th century jeweler and diamond dealer of London, who purchased the 119.5 carat rough diamond discovered in  Brazil in 1857.English Dresden diamond was purchased by  ruler Malhar Rāo,  of the princely state of Baroda, in India in 1864 for a sum of 40,000.00 pounds. In 1880, the Gaekwad had the diamond set in a necklace along with other stone  the Star of the South, which he had also purchased..................
What was once a beautiful and majestic palace now looks like a mound of trash and rubble  beyond redemption. In October, 2014, the palace was completely razed  to give way for apartment complexes or shopping mall. The media reports were highly critical of the Royal family who had no interest in saving the building despite court orders. Some critics pointed out the royal family members had scant respect for the court orders.  It is high time the government  came out of their complacent stupor and took positive steps to preserve our heritage cultural ethos.