Living heritage of Mewar marks an unique repository

Before an exclusive gathering at The Taj Mahal Palace, a landmark publication titled ‘Living Heritage of Mewar: Architecture of the City Palace, Udaipur’ was released by Dr James Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, USA and Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur.

‘Living Heritage of Mewar: Architecture of the City Palace, Udaipur’ is a presentation of a decade of painstaking efforts in continuity and conservation of this unique repository of the culture of Mewar, Rajasthan, India. In 2005 and 2007, the Getty Foundation awarded two grants to the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation to support the phased development of a comprehensive conservation plan for The City Palace in Udaipur.

Said Dr Shikha Jain, the author who also led the teams of conservators in Udaipur, “The City Palace is an exemplary living cultural heritage that has survived in an unbroken line of custodianship from medieval kingship to modern democracy. Our publication traces the cultural lineage of the palace through its art and architecture to arrive at a conservation model to preserve this magnificent structure for the future.”

“We have traced the evolution of the palace, its sequence of inner and outer chambers and the subsequent expansions, which added Mughal and British influences to its Mewar Rajput architecture. Our objective was to outline a conservation plan that combines modern and traditional methods within the context of the history, condition and conservation needs of the City Palace of Udaipur.”

Dr Deborah Marrow, Director at the Getty Foundation mentions in her foreword, “To preserve this jewel for the future as well as manage the normal wear and tear of the site’s many visitors, its stewards recognized the need for a complete conservation plan to guide maintenance of the site’s historic features. The project developed by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation aligned with the Getty Foundation’s dedication to advancing the practice of conservation through careful research and planning. Now a decade later, we are tremendously pleased with the outcome of the project, and it is rewarding to see the fruit of many years of hard work captured in this handsomely designed publication.”

This book illustrated with 165 photographs and 58 drawings is an important resource for scholars, researchers, museum lovers and travel-buffs involved in studying or visiting Udaipur and other areas of erstwhile Mewar.

“I wish to congratulate Dr Shikha Jain for her work and the Getty Foundation for collaborating with us to accomplish this for The City Palace, Udaipur,” said Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation. “The publication marks yet another milestone in our history as we collectively work to present our ‘living heritage’ to engage global and Indian audiences.”

“Since 1984, I have been building on the platforms created by my father, Maharana Bhagwat Singh Ji,” Shriji added, “Our Foundation is spearheading the revitalisation of the City Palace Museum with significant partners like The Getty Foundation, USA and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Our plans to make the Museum into a world-class institution are bearing fruit. We have indeed come a long way in our trajectory of growth through very tumultuous years.”