Interior of Durbar Hall of Gwalior Palace (new)
Photographer: Deen Dayal, Lala (1844-1905)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Durbar Hall in the Jai Vilas or Victory Palace at Lashkar near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Lala Deen Dayal in 1882. The Jai Vilas Palace was built by Maharaja Jayaji Rao Sindhia (ruled 1843-1886) to celebrate a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876. One of the powerful Maratha clans, the Scindias established themselves as the rulers of Gwalior when they took possession of the famous hillfort of Gwalior in the 18th century. The Jai Vilas is one of the grandest of India’s modern palaces inspired by European architectural styles and its opulent interior design was renowned, including a solid-silver model railway in the banqueting hall which delivered drinks and cigars. The ornately gilded darbar hall shown in this view was spectacularly furnished with two of the world’s largest crystal chandeliers, and a carpet that was reputedly the largest in Asia. It had a suite of solid crystal furniture and was reached via a staircase with crystal balusters. Sir Lepel Griffin (1838-1908), who served as Resident at Indore and Agent to the Governor-General of Central India between 1881 and 1888, considered the durbar hall at Gwalior “perhaps the finest and most beautifully-proportioned drawing room in India”. The majority of the photographs were taken by Deen Dayal while on tour with Griffin. Many are reproduced in autotype in the latter's ‘Famous Monuments of Central India’ (London, 1886). The album was formerly in the collection of Sir William Lee-Warner (1846-1912), who served in the Indian Civil Service and was a Member of the Council of India between 1902 and 1912.