Umaid Bhavan Palace Museum – Jodhpur

March 17, 2014

 Umaid Bhavan Palace Museum

When performance does not match expectation it results in disappointment.

Years I had heard about this palace & museum and wanted to see it since then. We were all younger and our tastes had not developed at that time and we liked everything we saw without opinion. We had no opinions at that time we hadn’t seen enough to have one and so I had heard wonderful things about the palace from my friends.

Yesterday I visited it for the first time and it would probably be for the last time.

The museum showcases the life of the erstwhile royal family rather than the magnificent art and craft of the land on which it stands.

Umaid Bhavan Palace Museum

The furniture and fittings were designed by Maples of London.

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The little art that is seen is mostly Western – glass & clocks etc.

The palace architecture is of a hybrid style with Western influences. The collections are all of Western articles.

I ask myself ‘Is Rajasthan so bare of local art that the royals needed to look westwards for art?’ Maybe it was just personal preference. After all they lived in an era in which it was fashionable to adopt Western lifestyles and flaunt friendships with white men and live like the ‘Sahibs’ of that time. Maybe this was the reason – maybe there is some other. I will never know. But the absence of Rajasthani art within the walls of the Umaid Bhavan Museum surprised and confused me..

Is this what I traveled to Rajasthan for?

This was just the beginning if my trip and disappointment had set in already.

The Performance – Expectation gap had reared its head at Jodhpur.

The Palace collections include clocks & watches, Vintage cars, glass & ceramics – all imported. (Photos of these to follow soon.) It also includes a large hall dedicated to portraits of the erstwhile royals and photographs of them inaugurating community service projects such as a well in a village.
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This is the first of  series of notes on Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and the villages around.

GO BACK TO RAJASTHAN DIARIES

 

jm

March 2014

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