A magnificent creation in white, the imposing Jai Vilas Palace and Museum is a spectacular European-style castle sitting in the heart of Gwalior. Opulent from every angle, the palace boasts several unique items from the private collection of the erstwhile rulers of Gwalior. Designed by British Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Michael Filose under the aegis of Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia in 1874 at a cost of INR 1 crore, the palace is inspired by several European architecture styles. The first storey of the palace is Tuscan, the second, Italian-Doric and the third draws ideas from Corinthian design. From its 12,40,771-sq-ft area to the endlessly large Durbar Hall, everything in the palace is larger than life. The interior of the Durbar Hall glitters with gilt and gold and boasts two gigantic chandeliers and one of Asia’s largest carpets. It is said eight elephants were suspended from the ceiling of the hall to check if it could take the weight of these two chandeliers weighing 3.5 tonne. Another section that holds pride of place is the banquet hall with a model train made of solid silver that ran along a track on the edge of a gigantic dining table, carrying after-dinner brandy and cigars around. The palace also had a suite of solid crystal furniture and was reached via a staircase with crystal balusters. The museum occupies around 35 rooms of the palace and showcases among other items from the royal family’s collection, a transport section, which includes a silver buggy, silver chariot, palanquins, and vintage luxury cars. The museum also houses rare paintings by Indian and European masters. Lithographs of Napoleon and Tipu Sultan are some of the rarest collections of the family that are displayed in the museum.

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