History of Jai Vilas Palace | jaivilasmuseum.org

History of Jai Vilas Palace: It was the Maharaja’s wish to bring the Palace of Versailles to Gwalior. So, when the occasion arose for King Edward’s arrival in the year 1875, he built the Jai Vilas Palace by putting prisoners from the Gwalior fort to work on its construction. Workers spent 12 years fabricating the plush carpet in the main attraction of the Palace – the Durbar Hall. The carpet is one of the largest in the world.

History of Jai Vilas Palace

The Jai Vilas Mahal, also known as the Jai Vilas Palace, is a nineteenth century palace in Gwalior, India. It was established in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the ruler of the princely state of Gwalior in the British Raj. While the major part of the palace is now the “Jiwajirao Scindia Museum” which opened to the public in 1964, a part of it is still the residence of some of his descendants.

Jai Vilas Palace is a fine example of European architecture. It was designed and built by Sir Michael Filose. It is a combination of architectural styles, the first storey is Tuscan, the second Italian-Doric and the third Corinthian. The area of the Jai Vilas palace is 124,771 square feet and it is known for its large Durbar Hall. The interior of the Durbar Hall is decorated with gilt and gold furnishings and adorned with a huge carpet and gigantic chandeliers. It is 100 feet long, 50 feet wide and 41 feet in height.

History of Jai Vilas Palace

Since setting records seems to be set in stone for this monument, the exquisite chandeliers in the hall are no exception. At that time, experts were doubtful that the roof of the great hall could hold the weight of the two massive chandeliers. However, Sir Michael Filose believed in his approach. In order to prove his point, he set up a wide wooden ramp from the floor to the roof and walked a dozen elephants to the top. The elephants together weighed almost twice that of the chandeliers, and yet the roof held its place. In this way, the ingenious architect simplistically proved the strength of his creation. 140 years later, the roof endures.

The palace was described by Sir William Howard Russell in 1877

The Palace covers an area of 124,771 square feet, exclusive of the inner square, which is 321 by 321% feet. The building is double-storied, and the wings and turrets are three- and five-storied. Its total length is 106 feet. The first story is Tuscan, second Italian Doric, and the third Corinthian order of architecture. The interior of the Reception-room is 97 feet 8 inches long by 50 feet broad, and it is 41 feet in height. The roof is arched with stone slabs 21 feet long, which enabled the architect to make the ribs prominent. They rest at each end on double Corinthian columns, which form a colonnade round the interior. The interior and exterior of the Palace form a combination of arcades and colonnades. Upwards of 300,000 leaves of gold were‘used to decorate the Reception-hall.


jaivilasmuseum.org: The Grand Staircase-room is roofed with stone slabs 30 feet long; the room opposite to it is roofed in the same way. This room was used for dancing. The length of each of these rooms is 50 feet. The Grand Drawing-room, one of the finest saloons in the world, is hung with wonderful chandeliers, and decorated with enormous mirrors. The Prince’s bedstead, washing service, and bath were of solid silver. The cost of the Palace was a little above 1,100,000 rupees. But the garden-walls, iron railings, gardens, furniture, glass, grand staircase, chandeliers, etc, cost about 500,000 rupees more. The area of the garden is about one square mile; there are several waterfalls and a number of fountains in it.

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