Painted chambers thrown open to public

The chambers, which form part of Quila Androon (inner quila), have been opened to the public following a restoration and beautification exercise conducted by the Department of Archaeology and Cultural Affairs under which the facade of the Quila Androon has been repainted and the inner courtyard leading to the painted chambers spruced.

While one of them is an extensively painted chamber, the other is adorned with small pieces of glasses and is called the Sheesh Mahal. Both can now be viewed with the department putting up a grilled pathway in them.
The piece de resistance is the first chamber itself called the masnad as the king used to once sit on the raised platform in it. Apparently the earlier kings of the Phulkian dynasty used this masnad as it is a very small rook with two pillaried ante chambers on both sides. The entire room has been painted in a blend of Mughal and Rajasthani style in exquisite colours which still retain their sheen.

t of the paintings are from Hindu mythology with the ‘Raas Lila’ figuring prominently. Other influences include Sikh ones and also a few Moorish influences which have been painted in a completely different style. The paintings on the raised platform are breathtaking with a portrait of a maharaja in the centre occupying pride of place.

This first chamber is also the t interesting as this is the only chamber in the quila which has been least ravaged by the passage of time. Also paintings in half of the chamber have been restored to the original beauty by staff members of the National Research Laboratory for Conservation, Lucknow. This is clear when one visits the second painted chamber.

{pagebreak}The Sheesh Mahal is a shadow of its past self. The small pieces of glass which cover it have turned blue with the passage of time. Dampness has also apparently taken its toll on the glass. The original paintings, which were once kept in small brackets in the chamber, have now been replaced by replicas.

The people of the city, however, seem to be having a field day. ‘This is a treat’, says Master Sohan Lal, adding the people of Patiala had been kept away from the chambers for far too long. He said proper lighting facility needed to be created in the chambers so that they could be viewed properly. Other people while appreciating the step taken by the government, however, feel other parts of Quila Androon should also be opened to the public.

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