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.
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.
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.
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.