Sunday, December 2, 2012

Last palace goes on sale

Kilachand house, once owned by the Maharaja of Patiala, and the only palace left untouched in city, is being acquired by a builder

The last palace still left untouched in the city may have to share its grounds with high-end residential flats in the near future.

Kilachand House, earlier known as the Palace of the Maharaja of Patiala, will be left standing in the shadow of luxury apartments if a builder manages to acquire all of the property.

The palace at Nepean Sea Road has already been partially sold, and the builder, Orbit Corporation Ltd, claims that in a few months he will be acquiring the remaining share of the property held by the Kilachand brothers and constructing residential apartments on the grounds.

Kilachand House at Nepean Sea Road.

Little-known palace

Historian Sharda Dwivedi said the palace once owned by the maharaja of Patiala was one of the most beautiful structures in the city, but about which people knew very little.

"I have heard about some deal related to the palace. Kilachand House is the only palace left untouched in the city, and if this also goes for development then there will be no palaces left to admire in their original regal splendour," Dwivedi said.

"The majestic structure appears to be from the first decade of the last century, but the public knows very little about it."

Dwivedi added that the palace later came into the possession of the Kilachand family and a few members of the family were still living there.

Pujit Aggarwal, MD and CEO of Orbit Corporation Ltd, said he hoped to start on his project in six months.

"Yes, I have partially bought the palace and the rest of the deal will be sealed in the coming months," Aggarwal said. "I am expecting work to begin in six months."

Aggarwal added that he would be paying less than Rs 500 crore for the property, which occupies nearly 90,000 sq ft, including the grounds. The builder plans to construct a residential tower with high-end flats.

Heritage site

The palace structure is a heritage site and cannot be demolished.

"We will have small luxury apartments, about 2,000 sq ft. I know the palace is a heritage structure and we will take all precaution no damage is done to it," Aggarwal said.

One of the four Kilachand brothers has sold his share in the palace to Orbit and Aggarwal claims another brother has agreed to sell his. "In a few months the deal will be sealed," he said.

But it is believed that two brothers are averse to the deal, though this could not be confirmed as the family did not talk to MiD DAY in spite of attempts to contact its members.

Kilachand House, once known as the Palace of the Maharaja of Patiala, at Nepean Sea Road.

"Because of FSI and redevelopment, we will end up with very beautiful palaces and ugly apartment buildings behind them," Dwivedi said. "Greed has overtaken us, and the last palace is going now.

What will be left of the heritage of this city except the European gothic public buildings? Our last real palace is on the verge of losing its identity."

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala  lived here
The palace was formerly the city residence of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Born on October 12, 1891, Bhupinder Singh ruled Patiala from 1900 till his death in 1938. He represented India at League of Nations in 1925. He married 10 times, and had 88 children.

Number Game

The area in sq ft of the Kilachand House property, including the grounds

Rs 500 cr
The amount the builder is expected to pay the Kilachand brothers

Did you know?
Samudra Mahal in Worli

was earlier Scindia Palace; Kolhapur Palace in Lalbaug now has a petrol pump; Wankaner state residency...
 is now the American Consulate; Sophia College was earlier owned by maharaja of Bhavnagar and Holkars of Indore

is now the American Consulate; Sophia College 
was earlier owned by maharaja of Bhavnagar and Holkars of Indore