The walled city of Bhuj was the capital of the princely state of Kutch in the Gujarat. The darbargodh, or palace complex, within the city was begun by the princes of Kutch in 1548 and was added to over several centuries, reflecting the artistic and cultural development of the city and principality. The darbargadh's most significant interiors and structures date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as the last palace, Prag Mahal, which was built in red sandstone and white marble in 1868 under the direction of British architects. The oldest portions of the palace were vacated in the nineteenth century and, following independence, the palace complex became a privately owned museum. A major earthquake In January 2001 seriously damaged the darbargadh. Buildings collapsed and floors caved in; intricate architectural details and window screens were destroyed and structural cracks developed throughout the complex. The Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) immediately identified the Bhuj Darbargadh for emergency restoration and engaged government and private groups to prepare a pilot conservation project – a partial restoration of one palace building, the Aina Mahal. INTACH now wishes to expand the work, carrying out emergency stabilization and restoration.
Since the Watch
Restoration work took place in the Prag Mahal following the earthquake of 2001, but the site was then looted of valuable antiquities and statues in 2006. The Gujarat government has since secured the palace and declared it a heritage site. Various other sites within the walled city have been restored. March 2015