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Royals start vacating Indumati Mahal for Sangramsinh to take over

Indumati Mahal is among the family properties offered to his uncle,Sangramsinh Gaekwad,for a compromise.

Written by Aditi Raja | Vadodara |
October 22, 2013 5:01:05 am

In the middle of hectic parlays for settling the royal dispute over property division among the Gaekwads,the present Maharaja of Baroda,Samarjitsinh Gaekwad,got Indumati Mahal vacated on Monday morning. Indumati Mahal is among the family properties offered to his uncle,Sangramsinh Gaekwad,for a compromise.

Stationed in the sprawling compound of Indumati Mahal on Monday morning was a tractor and a truck,with about a dozen men moving out antique wooden and steel cupboards,several documents and other belongings.

Sources said that the direction to remove the belongings was issued by Samarjitsinh in order to ready the transfer of possession of property. Sangramsinh is based in Mumbai.

The Indian Express had reported that Sangramsinh has been offered Indumati Mahal along with Nazarbag Palace in Mandvi,Ashok Bungalow and Bakul Bungalow on Rajmahal Road,two family plots near Makarpura Airforce,a plot in Sama and a few other properties.

Indumati Mahal was once the devghar or puja ghar of the Gaekwad family. It was built in the memory of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad’s wife,Maharani Chimnabai I,who was queen for six years before passing away during childbirth in 1885. Chimnabai was a very religious person. It was named after Sayajirao’s granddaughter and the sister of Mahraja Pratapsinh,Princess Indumati Raje. Initially,the royal palace’s Ganpati used to be installed at Indumati Mahal. The building is an amalgamation of the Hindu and Mughal styles with a huge chowk depicting the Peshwa architecture; jharokhas adorn its palatial rooms. Indumati Mahal was used for satsangs and weddings of family members.

After the merger of the Baroda State with the Union of India,Indumati Mahal became the Khangi kacheri or the office of comptroller of household. After Independence,when Pratapsinh handed over power to the Union of India. His wife,Maharani Shantadevi Raje,brought her youngest brother,Jaisinhrao Ghorpade,from Hasur village,as the comptroller of household.

The basement of the property once housed lakhs of books,which have now been destroyed,as well as rare pictures of the royal family that were either destroyed or went missing. The collection included photographs of the Round Table conferences.

An insider said,“The Laxmi Vilas Palace is certainly not being divided. The more serious aspect of the deal is that almost all precious properties will remain in the possession of Samarjitsinh under the present compromise deal.” According to insiders,a big chunk of the royal property that is still in possession of the family,has not been put on the negotiation table. This includes 16 family trusts,including the Devasthan trust that owns several gold and silver ornaments,family jewellery,artefacts,exquisite pieces of furniture,paintings. “Samarjitsinh has decided to retain hold on the royal museum,where most of the family treasures are displayed,” said an insider.

The settlement between the family of Late Maharaja Ranjitsinh is not just limited to his brother Sangramsinh as there are also his five sisters involved in the settlement of the dispute. Mrunalinidevi Anandrao Puar,the Maharani of Dhar,Madhya Pradesh,who is a widow and the executor of Will of the Late Shantadevi Gaekwad,is the eldest of the five sisters. The other sisters include Maharani of Sawantwadi Satvasheelaraje Shivramraje Bhonsale,a widow,Thakranisaheb of Jasdan in Kathiyawad Baasaheb Pramilaraje Shivrajkumar Khachar-Kathidarbar,Maharani of Sandur Vasundhararaje Murarrao Ghorpade from Bellary,Jagirdarin Baisaheb Late Lalitaraje Amrutrao Kirdutt,Sarkar of Dhamtari near Raipur,Chhatisgarh.

When contacted,Samarjitsinh said,“I am bound by an agreement of confidentiality as the negotiations are on.”

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