The Watch

Juna Mahal

Dungarpur, Rajasthan, India

2014 World Monuments Watch

Juna Mahal, a former royal residence, is located near the town of Dungarpur in the Thar Desert at the base of the picturesque Aravalli hills in southern Rajasthan. The first palace on the site was constructed in the late thirteenth century, and additional rooms, wings, floors, courtyards, and fortifications were added through the nineteenth century by successive rulers. The multi-layered, seven-story complex is decorated with pareva, a local green stone, as well as murals, frescoes, and glass and mirror inlay. Juna Mahal’s fortifications and extensive decorations are representative of early Rajput fort-palaces and show the ways in which the artistic design, architectural planning, and construction techniques of this building type evolved from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century.

Juna Mahal was in use until the mid-twentieth century, after which the structure fell into a state of disrepair. One of the oldest continuously inhabited buildings in the country, the structural integrity of the palace is threatened due to a lack of consistent maintenance. The interior has been vandalized and much of the artwork has been defaced. The site was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch to bring greater awareness of its historic and artistic significance to community leaders and the public. The building is in need of a comprehensive conservation management plan and a long term reuse strategy, as well as emergency repairs of the historic fabric that would address earthquake damage.

 

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