VADODARA: The grand Nazarbaug Palace built in the 19th century will soon be replaced by a shopping mall and a residential colony. Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, who owns the palace that is now in a shambles, told TOI that he has decided to bring down the century-and-half-old structure. The palace that stands over 1.70 lakh square feet of property next to Mandvi Gate may be demolished within few months. Gaekwad said it may take some time as they are still preparing feasibility report for the project.
Gaekwad also said he had no option, but to demolish the dilapidated palace. "We have not sold the Nazarbaug Palace property to anyone. We have decided to develop the property on our own. Considering the location, we decided to come up with a commercial complex and a residential colony there," Pratapsinhrao said. TOI had reported in November last year that Pratapsinhrao was mulling demolishing the palace.
When asked whether it would be right to bring down a heritage structure, Pratapsinhrao added, "It is heart breaking but we had to take this decision. I had explored the option of redoing the palace. But it is beyond repairs. Even the roof has disappeared at many places and the walls have weakened. So, we have decided to demolish the palace," Pratapsinhrao added. He is considering tying up with some builder for developing the property.
Built in pure Italian renaissance style of mid-19th century, the palace used to host royal weddings. The royal family used to store its jewellery and weapons apart from skins of tigers hunted by the royalty in the palace. The interiors of Nazarbaug Palace were done in Italian marble and gold leaf decorated walls and ceilings which are found in all such state houses of the royalties or aristocrats in Europe. The palace had an exquisite garden after which the palace is named.
The palace had a large white painting of structural canopy in the east and it had a wooden bridge that was connected to another palace Sarkarwada. It was later abandoned and used only forceremonial purposes or hosting state guests. The palace's ownership was recently transferred to Pratapsinhrao after the royal Gaekwad family members ended their two-and-half decade-old property dispute.