April 20, 2008

Palace of Datia

To get the most out of this post, I'd recommend you to read my previous one here that provides a glimpse of the history behind the construction of the Datia Palace.

As I got down from the taxi at the Datia Palace, a little local girl in a not-too-clean white frock and dishevelled hair said 'hello' in a soprano-type sweet voice. I found a guide who also is the caretaker of the Datia Palace. He was kind and helpful, and it was interesting to hear all that he had to say about the Palace.

As the main entrance is on the eastern side, the sun was beating down on the front portion of the Palace as I approached it. It is presumed that the Palace is built on the exact spot where Bir Singh Deo and Jehangir first met.

It was in 1614 that Raja Bir Singh Deo built the Datia Palace on top of the Datia hillock. The Palace consists of seven levels, two of which are underground and has more than 440 rooms and several courtyards. The guide said it was built in the shape of a swastika but I could not really figure that out from the limited view I could get. It was easy to feel delightfully lost in the hundreds of passages while darting from one room to the other.

The Palace is made entirely of stones and bricks. It has a ribbed dome over which is a shikar (spire) with lotus petal design. The arched openings, brackets and dome is characteristic of the Mughal architecture, while the lotus petals and use of animal sculpture and avian painting are symbols of the Rajput architecture. The blend of the Mughal and Rajput architecture forms a typical feature of the Bundela style of architecture at the Datia Palace. It gave me an impression that the Bundela kings were favorably inclined towards the Mughals at least as far as the Datia Palace is concerned.

The halls have an embellished finish and some fine paintings.

Ceilings are intricately decorated. These murals seem to have somehow withstood the test of time.

The windows have beautiful stone lattice work. The guide informed that some repair work on those has been done by workmen brought in from Jaipur. (If you click on picture 475 from my previous post, you'd notice the repaired jaalis are indeed of a slightly different shade).

Certain places present a beautiful play of light and shade as can be seen in these pictures.

Strangely, this beautiful Palace is considered unique for it has never been used as a residence by King Bir Singh Deo or his descendants. It is interesting to read a few references to some refugees who are said to have been housed in this Palace for many years.

I found the view from the terrace particularly charming with the scenery dotted with temples and cenotaphs, and spent some time relaxing there with the cool breeze blowing on my face. Coming out, I had another good look at the Palace. It was hard to believe that this Palace was of the seventeenth century. Gazing at it for a while, I felt as if time had stopped. The Datia Palace of the seventeeth century has indeed well resisted the onslaught of time.

Datia can be approached by road from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh or from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Datia is on the Delhi-Mumbai railway line.


Lakshmi said...

palaces are always intriguing..the stories, the conspiracies ..each brick tells an emotional tale, Im sure..the posts give a human touch to the bricks ..brilliant piece

Michele B said...

your pictures...and your whole blog is wonderful....I just linked your blog to mine!!!

Indrani said...

What an awesome place you visited Celine. Best time to visit would be the winters right?
Your posts are very informative too, I love pausing at your site and absorb the bits and bytes.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting - loved the stories. I found the 2nd pic of earlier post (where you have caught the blue water from top of the palace dome) - Its quite notable that there is lots of blue tile usage -which was borrowed by persia. I think fitting tribute to Moghul King !!

Are you again travelling ?? or just updating your blog !!

Anonymous said...

Very informative post Celine :) I agree with Lakshmi, palaces are stellar, one gets lost imagining the stories that must have occurred there in the past...

indicaspecies said...


Thank you for your kind comments. :)

indicaspecies said...


That's so gracious of you. Thanks for the link and you are always welcome. :)

indicaspecies said...


I did enjoy my visit there, and it was unplanned. You are right, best time to visit Datia is in in winters. Thank you for your encouraging words. :)

indicaspecies said...


Thank you. These posts are of my Dec 2007 travels. Since then I was in India again in February 2008 and Jordan last month. :)

Mughal architecture is a blend of Indian, Islamic and Persian. So, the dome and the blue tiles is the Persian style, and yes, as you ingeniously said, a fitting gift to the Mughal from the Bundelas. ;)

indicaspecies said...


Shukran. ;)

San said...

Wow! Roaming through such a vast space, watching the intricate play of light and shadow, feeling the presence of the past must be a powerful experience indeed.

Thank you, Celine, for another post that makes me want to put on my traveling shoes!

indicaspecies said...


You make me smile. Thank you. :)

indicaspecies said...


Thank you very much for the link up. :)

Sameera Ansari said...

Lovely the way you have captured the beauty of this ancient artwork!I simply loved the work on the walls and ceilings :)

indicaspecies said...


Delighted to share. Thank you for your regular visits to my space. :)