Padam Palace – Residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh

Tripoto
17th May 2017
Photo of Padam Palace – Residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh 1/3 by Neeraj Dhiman

Rampur Bushahr is the last capital of the Bushahr or Bashahr dynasty that ruled Shimla & Kinnaur regions for a long time. If you go by legends, they trace their ancestry to Pradyumna – the Son of Lord Krishna. You do see a lot of Vishnu temples in the Bushahr region. So the belief may have some basis. However, in the recorded history Bushahr dynasty ruled from Kamru fort near Sangla. Then moved to Sarahan and finally about 100 years back to Rampur on the banks of Sutlej river.

Padam Palace is one of the most attractions at Rampur Bushahr in Shimla. It once served as the Winter Capital of the former princely state of Bushair. Raja Padam Singh laid the foundation the palace on the left bank of River Satluj in the year 1919. The construction of Padam Palace took six years and it was completed in 1925. Chief engineer who supervised its construction was known as Bir Chand Shukla.

Photo of Padam Palace – Residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh 2/3 by Neeraj Dhiman

History of Palace

Padam palace is a private property of the Royal family of Bushahr. Whose current king would have been the current chief minister of Himachal Pradesh – Virbhadra Singh. In fact, he is still referred as Raja Sahib in this area. Padam Singh who built this palace was his father and was the 122nd king in the lineage of this dynasty.

The construction of this palace uses wood heavily. It is designed to make way for interesting spaces such as porticos and galleries. It has a typically colonial design with conical roof, which looks stunning and meant for snow to fall off. It also sports white painted eaves, which add to the colonial-look of the place.

The interiors of this palace are even more beautiful with great glasswork designed using different colours and incredible woodwork. However, this is the private residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh and one requires permission to visit it. There is also a rich library inside. Portraits of royal family members adorn the walls of this palace.

Stones for the building were quarried at Khaneri and the wood was brought down from the jungles of Munish. Black gram paste was used for cementing the stone blocks. The stone arches of the lower floor and woodwork of the upper storey mark a striking contrast. The tipper storey wooden screen has floral and figurine designs so as to partially admit light without exposing those inside.

Photo of Padam Palace – Residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh 3/3 by Neeraj Dhiman

Macchkandi, the seating area for the royalty during celebrations, is situated at one end of the lawn and is definitely a masterpiece in woodwork. Woodwork has been done so cleverly that sunlight is let in, but people inside are not visible to the outsiders. Gurjit Singh Fishta was the designer of the Macchkandi.

The father-son duo that transformed his designs into reality is that of Gurmail Singh and Gurdev Singh. Even the halls of the Padam Palace are used to host royal functions. Apartments and residences of the royal family members are located inside as well as outside this building.

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