Jammu, March 13- The Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex in the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir is in for scientific conservation and facelift to emerge as a major tourist attraction. The multi-crore project would see the complex transformed into an iconic site of the city.
The complex is a heritage site comprising of several palaces, the first of which is believed to have been built by Raja Dhruvdev Singh in 1710 AD. The Dogra Maharajas later added several palaces to the site. The complex would see the major conservation job taking place in the State.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is embarking upon an ambitious plan to scientifically conserve the old J&K Public Service Commission and J&K High Court buildings. For conservation of other heritage structures, a global tender would be issued. The Indian National Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage (INTACH), Delhi has been engaged for documentation of the palace complex.
The heritage complex, spread over an area of 120 kanals, is the principal venue for the Baisakhi Festival in the city.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad today convened a high level meeting and reviewed the headway made on various components of conservation of the Palace Complex. The meeting was also attended by Minister for Higher Education, Gulchain Singh Charak, Minister for R&B, Jugal Kishore, Chief Secretary, B. R. Kundal, Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Anil Goswami, Principal Secretary, Planning and Development, M. I. Khandey, Principal Secretary, PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, A. K. Angurana and other senior officers.
The Chief Minister highlighted the need for the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex to be developed as the main tourist attraction in Jammu which could divert a substantial part of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine bound pilgrims to the winter capital city after the Katra rail link is complete and pilgrims start directly moving to the shrine town. He said there could be no better place in the city than the Palace Complex to foot this bill. He called for urgency in completing the conservation and development work of the complex and said that he would be talking with the Director General, ASI for deputing additional staff to ensure early completion of the job assigned to the organisation.
Mr. Azad also issued instructions for illumination of the palace complex, portion of the Bahu Fort facing river Tawi and Amar Mahal to present an eye catching view of the city during the night.
The meeting was informed that a memorandum has already been signed by the Executive Director of Mubarak Mandi Jammu Heritage Society and Advisor Heritage Tourism, INTACH for preparation of the measured documents, detailed project report and tender documents for restoration, preservation and re-use of the historic complex.
Meanwhile, the government offices located in the Mubarak Mandi Complex have been given a timeline to shift from there. Most of the offices would be shifted by the month end. The newly constructed buildings of offices that do not gel with the palace complex would be given a facelift to merge with the character of the complex.
The monkey menace in the area and development of a circular road around the complex was also discussed in the meeting.