Eternal Mewar Festivals by MMCF under Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives

8. February 2013 16:38 by Mr. Bhupendra Singh Auwa in Charities

Eternal Mewar Festivals by MMCF under Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives

The living heritage of Eternal Mewar
The City Palace Complex has been the site for all the rituals, spectacles and celebrations relating to the kingdom. Particularly, it has witnessed the unique royal festivals that mark important events in the calendar. These complex celebrations have evolved over centuries and carry immense symbolic and ritual meaning. The  public celebration of these festivals had ceased due to political events in the mid-20th  century, but  were    revived by Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur in the mid-1990s. The three main festivals on the calendar are Ashwa Poojan, Holika Dahan and Kartik Poornima. These festivals have also become a big draw for the tourists visiting Udaipur.

- Ashwa Poojan
Worship of The Horse

The autumn navratri (nine sacred days and nights) form one of the auspicious times in the Hindu  calendar. The  festival of Navratri is dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga, the consort of Shiva in Hindu mythology. On the ninth day of Navratri, which is a symbolic day of victory, arms and other symbols of the warrior are worshipped in northern India. In Rajasthan, famous for its cavalry  charges, this day is also marked by the worship of war animals like the elephant and the horse. The worship of the horse, Ashwa Poojan, continues till date. The horses that are part of the rituals are those belonging to the
'Marwari' breed, a distinct internationally recognized breed that  is  threatened with extinction. The MMCF and Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, has set up the Equine Institute Udaipur to maintain a viable population of this culturally important animal. The Ashwa Poojan therefore is a great forum for conservation of many different tangible and intangible forms of heritage, and as such serves as an important and visible example of  the  fulfilled remit  of  the Foundation.

Interactive workshop on Marwari Horses

As a new initiative this year 2011 on 5th October, an interactive workshop on Marwari Horses was organized in the morning for guests attending the Ashwa Poojan Ceremony. Thakur Saheb Satyendra Singh Chawra of Kaladwas briefed visitors about  the  different breeds, taking them to the stables. A display of the ornaments worn by the horses for the Ashwa Poojan Ceremony was shown to guests at the Promenade. Refreshments were arranged at  the  Satkar Banquet Hall, Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur.

- Kartik Poornima
Experience the mystique of Life!

Kartik Poornima celebrates the 'Creation of the Universe' and its glorious beauty on one of the brightest full moon nights of the year. Traditionally, on this brilliant moonlit night, the royal court would listen to the best of music, poetry and dance, fulfilling the royal duty of patronage of the fine arts. The marble palaces, made brilliant white by the moonlight, would be scattered with silver sequins , and all the attendees, including the Maharana, wore white and silver. It is the ineffable beauty and atmosphere of these nights of the past that the Kartik Poornima celebrations seek to recreate today. Some of the world's most renowned artists have performed on the  occasion of Kartik Poornima at  Udaipur, thereby allowing the MMCF to fulfill its remit of continued patronage to Indian art and culture.

- Holika Dahan
A time-honored Regal Ceremony

Holi, one of the most popular of Indian festivals, is celebrated when  winter  gives way to  spring. Holika Dahan is the festival's first day when the pious fire is lit on the full moon night of Phalguna (one of the 12 months of the Hindu calendar). The Maharana and the royal family come to the ceremony in a traditional procession. The effigy of
'Holika' is then lit after ritual prayer followed by local people doing the 'Gair', a traditional folk dance performed specially on the occasion.

- Rang over the years

In   2007,   the   office  of  Culture   and   Heritage Promotion, MMCF initiated Rang (literally meaning 'colour'), an Arts and Crafts Bazaar inspired by the many colours of Mewar and by Holi - the festival of colours. The attempt was to identify, trace, promote and nurture artists that have yet to take advantage of marketing strategies. They have been in the trade for generations, and may well be the last bastions of impeccable craftsmanship. Rang attempted to revive a sense of genuine pride and understanding in the local stakeholders and appreciation in the eyes of the tourists, leading to the continuation of a living heritage.

Rang: The Art and Craft Bazaar was an eye-opening event for everyone involved is part of the ongoing efforts of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation to preserve, document and develop the arts of Mewar. The artisans enjoyed the attention to the details of their practice and the care given to make their participation a success. From the public perspective, visitors were amazed to see the work being made before their eyes. Indian visitors remarked that they had not seen demonstrations of craft along with the selling, and it helped the public to understand why the handmade artifacts are priced higher than others in the general market. American visitors marvelled at how close you could get the 'authentic'  work and knowing that all of the money went directly to the maker of the artifacts was extremely satisfying.

The scale of the event was perfect for having good comparative interactions amongst participants and organizers without being overwhelmed by too many things to see all at once. A visitor could take time to talk to the makers while not being pressured by the open market atmosphere of the city streets. Technical information was shared openly amongst the artisans. Several people received excellent sources for  raw materials, tools (blocks) and possible retail opportunities. The most pertinent result of the event was the creation of 'Rang Labels' for the artisans. Building on the information gathered for the posters and signage at the event, and following the various models of types of information, a label for each artisan has been created.

-Rang 2012: Celebrating tones and hues of our living heritage from 3rd - 6th march 2012

The courtly painting traditions of Mewar are among India's finest contributions to the visual arts. Students, buyers, aficionados and art lovers from all over the world seek to understand these traditions and to acquire artworks of undeniable quality. But as the texture and politics of contemporary commerce dictate more and more of the artists' choices, the tradition  is losing its very essence, particularly in the absence of discerning patronage.
The Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), Udaipur now seeks to draw fresh attention to the superlative artistry of this living heritage and to support its evolution. RANG 2012 focused on the work of three master artists and their continuing legacy. In addition to a modest display of their artwork, visitors to RANG 2012 were given a rare opportunity to dialogue and interact with these masters.

RANG 2012 celebrated the work of Shri Reva Shankar Sharma in the classical miniature tradition, Shri Rajaram Sharma of the Nathdwara Pichwai tradition and Shri Lalit Sharma's contemporary works. The exhibition was inaugurated by Shilpguru and artist Shri Badrilal in the presence of Mr.  Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar of Udaipur MMCF  acknowledges and  honours  their  lifelong commitment to their practice and dedication to sustaining their living inheritance.
In honour of the painting traditions of Mewar and as a commitment of support, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur  has commissioned a special painting in the classical miniature tradition, depicting the Holika Dahan celebrations, to be acquired by MMCF for its collection. This will be the first such commission on the occasion of Holi in over 150 years.

But where there is painting, music can't be far behind... the myriad tones and tunes of our musical heritage are astounding. With RANG 2012 MMCF initiated a fresh beginning of celebration of our musical traditions - a dawn concert, unusual folk music from different parts of Rajasthan and an internationally acclaimed master.
On the 6th March 2012 music at RANG 2012 began with a magical early morning recital - rare morning ragas in the mellifluous vocals of the Mewar maestro Pandit Krishna Kumar Dehlvi and the superb sarangi vadan of Patti Khan sahib; the bam lahiri of the Jogiya sarangi artists in the museum and a live concert in the evening by the reigning queen of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana of Hindustani classical music, Smt.  Ashwini Bhide Deshpande followed by a felicitation of Rang artists.

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Restoration Work done by MMCF under Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives

8. February 2013 16:16 by Mr. Bhupendra Singh Auwa in Charities

Restoration Work done by MMCF under Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives

A number of conservation and restoration projects have been taken up under the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF). The salient features of the restoration carried out include the use of:

- Experienced conservation professionals
- Well qualified and experienced work site staff
- Traditional master   craftsmen   and   skilled workers
- Preparation of conservation master plan
- Works carried out as per conservation master plan
- Only traditional materials
- Traditional techniques

In 2007, restoration work was started on the two chatris at the Badi Pol entrance of the Palace called the Ghadiyal ki Chatri and Nakkarkhana ki Chatri. These were restored using lime arraish work by traditional craftsman. The Golden spires (kalash) on top f the chatris were also restored.
The pillars in the Palki Khana were restored using fine lime stucco work. The Bhagwat Parkash Mahal was adapted for use as a Photographic Gallery.
Moti Chowk was restored with a tourist information centre and a shaded seating area created for museum visitors.
Wall paintings on the Toran Pol are currently being restored by expert conservators.
Extensive conservation and restoration work is currently ongoing at the Tripoliya and expected to be completed by December 2010.

Building Works

- The Zenana Mahal
Renovation of the east, west and south wings of Zenana Mahal in the year 2000 is undertaken with Landscaping of The  Zenana Mahal and Laxmi Chowk.

- Manek Mahal
Restoration and repairs are carried out at Manek
Mahal in 2002.

- Amar Mahal

Restoration of Amar Mahal with Lime wash removed from the unpolished marble and the closed Jharokas opened in 2004.

- Passage connecting Mardana Mahal to Manek Mahal

The Passage with ramp was opened in 2004 from the main entrance of Mardana Mahal to Manek Mahal in The Mor Chowk.

- Restoration of Hawa Mahal above Tripoliya Gate

Restoration of Hawa Mahal above Tripoliya Gate in the year 2005 is completed.

- Restoration of Zenana Choti Deodi – Ganesh Door

Restoration of Zenana Choti Deodi - Ganesh Door, The Zenana Mahal, The City Palace Complex, Udaipur in the year 2006.

- Restoration of The Mor Chowk East Wall

Extensive damage caused to the east wall of The Mor Chowk was repaired and restoration work completed on the mirror and glass inlay figures. Restoration was carried out by descendants of the craftsmen who originally made  the  beautiful courtyard in the 19th century. As a conservation measure, stone eaves were constructed around the courtyard to prevent similar damage from recurring.

- Nakkarkhana ki Chatri

A s   a l re a d y   m e n t i o n e d ,   re s t o r a t i o n   a n d conservation of Nakkarkhana ki Chatri  was completed  in 2007. The project was submitted for the Subject: 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.
An appreciation letter from Sheldon Shaeffer, Director, UNESCO Bangkok, Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education through Ref:
143.8/HAICA344/08 dated 1st September 2008; Subject: 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.....
……As almost all of the entries were technically excellent, the competition this year was very difficult. Though your project, Udaipur City Palace Complex, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, was not selected for one of the announced prizes, the Jury noted that the project reflects a noteworthy commitment to conserving the heritage resources of the region, and reflects the increasing momentum and standards of conservation throughout Asia and the Pacific. The Jury would like to share their comments on your entry, as follows:
The Jury would like to recognize the efforts in conserving the historic drum tower which is part of the significant palace complex. The restoration has employed appropriate traditional building technologies and processes. The high visibility of the drum tower to the front of the complex sends an encouraging signal for future restoration works. Since the project plans to address larger scale works within the complex in the future, the Jury encourages the project to be re-submitted later upon completion of more comprehensive physical conservation works. Moreover, in any future repair or restoration works, the Jury encourages greater affection to detail in ensuring that modern workmanship matches the historic fabric.

- Ghadiyal ki Chatri

Restoration and conservation of Ghadiyal ki Chatri was completed in November 2009. An architectural landmark at the Palace entrance, the Chatri was restored using traditional methods and is an exemplary conservation of tangible and intangible heritage.
The letter proves that although the MMCF is doing all it  can towards conservation and restoration of the important monuments it looks after with its limited resources, still more needs to be done. The foundation is aware that money, expertise and time need to be ploughed into these projects that are aimed at conserving not just the region's but the nation's historical and cultural heritage. It therefore looks for support from governmental and para-governmental and private bodies to complete this enormous challenge.

- The Manek Chowk Gardens

Located in The City Palace Complex, Udaipur it is a large landscaped courtyard of lawns,  shrubs  and fountains fronting the main entrance steps and doorway to the palace and museum. Today, the venue is used for celebrating Eternal Mewar Festivals, large formal dinners and other special events and ceremonies. By day it is a meeting place for the many tourists who visit The City Palace Museum.

- Baadi Mahal Terrace rooms

Restoration and conservation of the Baadi Mahal terrace rooms was completed. The  walls were replastered in the original manner.

- Bannathji Temple

Renovation of Bannathji Temple grounds and the establishment of Shiv, Shakti and Vishnu Temple with Mataji Kaksha and Sabhagar.

- Suk Niwas:
The Gokhada (Jharoka) with beautiful glass work on the west side of Surya Chopad was built in A.D. 1801 at the time of Maharana Bhim Singh - Ref. Bahida No. 675

Tripoliya, 'The Triple Arched' Gate
built of white marble procured from Rajnagar, Rajasthan by Rana Sangram Singh II, the 61st Custodian of House of Mewar in A.D. 1711 stands at the northern end of The City Palace Complex, only the Maharana used to enter through the middle arch while other subjects and visitors used the two side arched entries of Tripoliya. The gate also indicates and is the sign of the sovereignty and an independent state.

The gate was further adorned by adding the first story of Hawa Mahal during the reign of Maharana Swaroop Singh r. 1842-61, which was restored in 2005 by Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur.
However, no previous Maharana had installed the traditional wooden gates in Tripoliya despite the fact that provision was kept on the sides of each arch for such an installation by Rana Sangram Singh II.
Now, after a  long gap of 300  years and  15 Custodians, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur the present 76th Custodian of House of Mewar and Chairman and Managing Trustee of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur took the initiative of installing three massive wooden gates at the 'The Triple Arched' gate Tripoliya in 2010 as a way of completing his obligations to his forefathers.

Technical Specifications
Dimensions for 3 gates
- Left: 20 ft height x 12 ft width
- Center 20 ft height x 13 ft width
- Right: 20 ft height x 12 ft width

- Wood: Burma Teak Wood (Burma Sagwaan)
- Brass fittings: Mogra; Phuldi; Ankush; Kada; Sankal
- Iron framing
- Linseed oil (Alsi ka Tel) is used to increase the life of wood; shining purpose; termite proof
- Old chandeliers to lighten up the gates
- The wooden blocks were fixed in araldite
- A special screwdriver of 3'6'' was developed for these historic gates
Weight: Left: 4000 kg; Center: 4400 kg; Right:
4000 kg
Duration of Making: 5 months
Cost: ` 27 lacs approx

The use of local material and workmanship is an added testimony to the  building skills of the region's craftsmen and serves as a reminder to their unparalleled building skills. The team worked very hard day & night and installed the gates on the auspicious occasion of the  birthday  on  13th December 2010 of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur.

Tripoliya wooden gates were installed in December 2010 and as good omen happens Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, The Honourable President of India visited Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur at Shambhu Niwas Palace, The City Palace Complex, Udaipur on 22nd December 2010.
Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, stands as the epitome for preserving the culture and heritage of world's longest dynasty. He is a myriad minded and multifarious personality, who is also managing many philanthropic and charitable activities aiding a number of people.

- Restoration of objects and artworks

Restoration of seven historic Horse Carriages is finished in 2003.

- In the year 2005 restoration and painting of eight Open Litter chairs, two Zenana Palkies and three Elephant Hawdha's. Torn upholstery is repaired where possible, or the item is reupholstered with textiles similar to the original.

- A brief report on the Renovation of Paintings on the Ceiling of Toran Pol in the City Palace Museum, Udaipur.

Prepared by  Mr.  S.  Girikumar, Art  Conservation, Consultant, MMCF, August 2011

This is a report on the renovation of paintings on the ceiling of Toran Pol in the City Palace Museum, Udaipur. The treatment was carried out during September - October 2010.

A brief description of the condition of the painting and the treatment given to it are in the following sections. Detailed records of the treatment along with photo documentation of various stages are maintained in the Pictorial Archives of the Maharanas of Mewar.

Description: The painting  is  of  Raasleela depicting Krishna with Gopis. The painting is made inside the dome of the Toral Pol. There is an image of Krishna playing flute and 16 Gopis playing various musical instruments in dancing postures on either side of him.
Approximate area of the painting is 625 square feet.

Medium: Tempera on lime plaster

Period: The exact date of the painting is not known. However, the style, color scheme and the workmanship indicates that this is a comparatively recent painting than those in the rest of the City Palace Complex, Udaipur. It is possible that this area was repainted at some point when an older painting existed was damaged. During the detailed examination no evidence of the existence of such a painting was found suggesting that the older painting was completely removed before repainting.
Condition: Painting was extensively damaged. There was deposit of dust dirt etc. all over the surface. There were some beehives on the surface causing thick encrustation of wax and staining of the painting. Detachment of paint layer and minor flaking are found all over the surface. The image of Krishna is completely flaked of. There had been some seepage of water in this area which had led to this. The plaster in this area was too weak. There were minor cracks and loss of plaster in many areas. Pervious repairs in the plaster with cement were visible in a few places. There were bird droppings and insect excreta on some areas of the painting.
Treatment: Considering the painting was repainted sometime in the recent past and some of the figures needed to be completely repainted it were decided to engage an artist who is familiar with the style and technique of the existing painting for the renovation.

The work was carried out by Mr. Kailash Jeengar and his assistants under the supervision and guidance of the Art Conservation Consultant, MMCF.  The surface was cleaned with wads of cotton wool and soft brush to remove the dust and dirt deposited on the surface. Some of the previous repairs using cement were loose and detached from the wall. They were removed. In a few areas where the repairs were firmly holding and there was a risk of damaging the surrounding areas in trying to remove them. Therefore it was decided to leave them untouched. The cracks and the loss in plaster were filled and leveled using lime mortar. The areas of losses were repainted in the tempera technique using natural pigments mixed with gum Arabic. All the efforts were made to ensure the integrity of the existing painting was maintained in terms of theme, style, and materials.

- Renovation of Lifts at The City Palace Museum, Udaipur in 2011

A new Lift is now operating at Nagina Badi ka Darikhana with exits in Sabha Shiromani ka Darikhana, Mor Chowk and Pitam Niwas. It was originally installed in 1938 at the time of Maharana Bhupal Singh.
- A Lift has been installed at Laxmi Chowk. Originally installed at the time of Maharana Bhupal Singh in the
1940's it had fallen into disrepair. Restoration and repairs have been carried out in keeping with its original interior design. The lift operates at Bhupal Prakash from Laxmi chowk and carries 2 passengers at a time.

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Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives by MMCF

8. February 2013 16:09 by Team Eternal Mewar in Charities

Introduction to Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives by MMCF

As a living palace, the City Palace in Udaipur forms the cultural heart of the Mewar region. The MMCF therefore has taken its responsibility of preserving the remarkable tangible and intangible cultural heritage of this vast complex very seriously. This enormous responsibility is fulfilled through a comprehensive and informed set  of  initiatives. These include the maintenance and continued development of the City Palace Museum and the Palace Complex, preserving local culture through the celebration of festivals in the traditional manner, documenting and researching cultural practices and creating forums for knowledge transfer. All this is made particularly challenging because of a lack of good cultural preservation practice in India, making it necessary to develop suitable systems and methodologies before they can be implemented. The MMCF's goal is to be a world leader in heritage conservation and community inclusion and the Foundation often has to generate its own benchmarks for this goal, as there is a lack of the same in either the government or private sectors in India. The MMCF is keen to share its best-practice and conservation experience with all interested parties and therefore has an ambitious knowledge transfer initiative in addition to its implementable conservation programme.

Aims and Objectives of Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives by MMCF

- The establishment of centres to encourage the understanding of Indian culture.
- The development and support of museums dedicated to preserving ancient culture, history
and literature.
- Establishment and support of libraries pertaining to Indian culture.
- To promote research pertaining to Indian and other allied cultures and history.
- To publish literature pertaining to Indian culture, civilisation and history
- Conservation and restoration of ancient and modern structures which are useful to the spread
and preservation of Indian culture.
- Promotion and preservation of Indian classical and folk music and dances

Area of work under Heritage Conservation and Promotion Initiatives by MMCF

• Eternal Mewar Festivals
• Restoration Work
• The City Palace Museum Initiatives
• International Cultural Collaborations
• Pratap: Preserving the legacy of a National Hero
• Visitor's Diary

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We will be updating about each area in the upcoming days.
Keep looking this space!

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