The state of Jammu and Kashmir was ruled by the Dogra Dynasty rulers for a long time. As a result many magnificent monuments of that era can be seen. Amar Mahal Museum is one such place. It was built in the 1890’s in the European style of architecture.
It has been used till late 1967 also by the late queen Tara Devi Wife of Late Maharaja Hari Singh. After this their son converted the Palace into a Museum and an art exchange place. He wanted like minded people to have some common space to explore and develop new and unique art work. The museum is now under the care of Hari-Tara charitable trust.
About the Amar Mahal Museum
The design is inspired by the European buildings made in red stone which makes it visible form a long distance as well. It has slanting roof tops with turrets. When constructed it was the tallest building in the area. It was built on the Hill top which could get an amazing view of the River Tawi as it flows past.
There are long passages in the Palace, they are supported by wooden framework. There are large windows and also balconies in the first floor of the building. Now four or five rooms have been used as art gallery.
The best piece on display is the 120 kg weight gold sofa which belongs to the Dogra rulers. There are golden lions on the corners. It has been placed in a glass enclosure so that no one can touch it. It can be seen from a distance only. It must have been a great feeling to sit on so much of gold. There are Pahari paintings depicting the Mahabharata.
There are intricate paintings made by great artists such as M.F. Hussian, G.R. Santosh, J. Swaminathan, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Laxman Pai, and many more. There are paintings also donated by the Kangra School of art.
This museum was set up with the aim of creating a space for the artists to express their work and feelings without any limits. They should be free to express so that unique and classic work can be put across. There are miniature paintings which are enchantingly beautiful.
They are so mesmerizing that if you gaze at them for long you will feel that you have entered another fairy tale world. There are a few made with such finesse, they feel too good to be true.
There is a set of 47 painting together which depict the story of Nala Damyanti. There is modern version of Dashavtar depicted in the form paintings. There are a series of modern art paintings also on display. Family portraits have been put on display in the Dubar hall. There is also a library housing many unique and rare books. There are over 25000 antique books on philosophy, religion and fiction etc.
As a tourist you must visit this museum to enrich your knowledge related to the celebrated history of the Jammu and Kashmir region. The great Dogra Dynasty had control over that region for a long time. It is an all season destination and you can visit it any day. There is no entry ticket.