Vijay Vilas Palace, Gujarat

Located on the sea beach of Mandvi in Kutch district of Gujarat, Vijay Vilas Palace is an exemplar of the opulent lifestyle of Maharao Shri Khengarji who ruled over Kutch in 1940s. He built a summer hideout for his son and heir to the kingdom, Vijayraji to escape the blistering heat of Kutch. Hence, called Vijay Vilas Palace.

The palace is nestled in 450 acres of lush greenery and 2 kms of private beach. As I entered the main gate and started walking towards the palace, I was welcomed by the trees dotted with fruits on both the sides as if to provide a protective shield.

Lush green on both the sides

Trees dotted with Chickoo

Right in front of the palace

A well laid garden

As soon as my eyes fell on this palace built of red sandstone standing in the middle of a well laid garden, I couldn't help but admire the hard work that must have gone in constructing this wonder in those nine years. With the Bengal styled Umbrella domes, jharokhas as seen in Rajput palaces of Rajasthan, the stone carvings and the colored glass work on the windows by the architects and artisans from places like Jaipur, Bengal and Saurashtra, it is a beautiful blend of architectural styles. Inspite of these influences, it has been carved and constructed to be in the perfect harmony.

The Palace

The side Dome

The corridor on the ground floor has rooms on either side and the pictures of Vijayaraji with his family and famous identities look down on you as you walk down with awe and sheer sense of grandeur.

The corridor (The ground floor)

The corridor (The ground floor)

The sitting area (Ground floor)

The dining area (Ground floor)

Well lit sit out area (Ground floor)

The first floor has the Bengal styled domes that emanate radiance, jharokhas that narrate stories and the sweeping view through the perfectly carved stone carved jalis. 

The place reminded me of the song 'kai po chhe' from the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that was shot right where I stood. The movie was filmed in this very palace and being here brought back the memories of my childhood when I had seen the movie for the love of Gujarati culture. 

The stone carved jalis

The stone carvings (First floor)

The stone carvings (First floor)

Jharokha (First floor)

A beautifully carved spiral staircase that leads you to the top of the dome

A carved narrow metal staircase led me to the terrace that offered a splendid view of the estate. The vast stretches of green appeared as far as my eyes could reach. The wind brushed across my face and the sunlight of a winter morning provided a soothing warmth.

A view from the top of the dome

I came out with my eyes dazzled by the art and a tinge of momentary jealousy looking at the the summer resort once built by a father for his son.

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