Nazarbaug Palace throws open its doors to Bohras

The once luxurious snow-white Nazarbaug Palace in Mandvi, which has been taken over by Sangramsinh Gaekwad following the settlement of the three-decade-old property dispute, opened its gates to the Bohra Muslim community of the city. Almost a month after the Gaekwad royal property dispute was settled by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the families of Late Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad and his brother Sangramsinh, the latter has allowed the community to utilise the Nazarbaug Palace compound for parking their vehicles during the period of Muharram.

For several years, the Nazarbaug palace compound was used for public pay-and-park service by a private contractor. About a month ago, as soon as Sangramsinh's family had taken possession of the palace compound, they had prohibited it to be used for parking. Making an exception during Muharram, the family conceded to the request of some community leaders who approached them for the permission to use the compound as it is near Dawoodi Bohra Masjid where the community attends sermons during Muharram. The guards at the Nazarbaug gates have been scanning vehicles and cars to ensure that no other private vehicle, except those belonging to the Bohra community, enters inside. "We have been instructed to allow only the community to park here during the day until November 15. No one else is allowed to enter inside. The directions are very strict. The community is not being charged for using the compound," a guard at the gate said.

When contacted, Pratapsinh Gaekwad told The Indian Express, "It is just a gesture and we are not collecting any charge. The community had approached us with a request and we allowed them to use the compound." Pratapsinh, however, said that he was yet to decide on the fate of the Nazarbaug palace. "We are still evaluating the property and weighing the estimates of rebuilding it. We have, honestly, not yet decided what we will do there, but since it is in the middle of a commercial area, we will put it to some kind of commercial use." For now, the family has decided to refurbish Indumati Mahal on Rajmahal Road as their base in Vadodara.

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