GUJRAT: The front portion of the Ram Pyari Mahal, one of the few majestic pre-Partition buildings in Gujrat, is being speedily renovated by the archaeology department to transform it into a museum and art gallery. It is likely to be opened to the public within a month.

In the first phase, the front portion is being repaired and renovated. In the second phase, the rear portion of the building will be transformed into a tea house or coffee shop in collaboration with the district administration, said an official of the archaeology department.

Imran Zahid, an engineer with the department, told Dawn that the main focus was to launch the museum at the earliest, as the required staff had been recruited. There would be six galleries in the museum depicting the local art and culture, including the portraits of local heroes, folklores through display of statues of renowned figures, coins as well as a public library.

Asked why the project of transforming the palace into a museum took more than a decade to execute, Zahid said the recruitment of staff was the main hurdle, which had now been completed.

Earlier, the local administration had included the restoration of Ram Piyari Mahal in the ‘Explore Gujrat’ programme in connection with the Clean and Green Punjab Initiative of the government for which at least 30 historical sites in the district had been selected for renovation.

Ram Pyari was the third wife of Sundar Das Chopra, a contractor of Dingah Town, about 55 kilometres from Gujrat, who got this building constructed for his wife in the second decade of the 20th century. The road that passes by the building was previously known as Ram Pyari Road, but was later renamed Circular Road and now it passes by the Sohni Bazaar of pottery and ceramics in the walled city.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2020

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