The star of this museum is the golden throne of Jammu, weighing a whopping 120 kgs, all pure gold. The art collection here is also quite impressive, with paintings of M F Hussain and Laxman Pai on display, among other famous Indian contemporary painters. Another interesting aspect is the Pahari Paintings displayed here, depicting tales from the Mahabharata and other folklore, especially those of Nal Damyanti. The museum also organises heritage walks around the complex to give detailed insights into the history of Jammu and surrounding cities.
Amar Mahal Palace in Jammu is a 19th century extravagance. This structure was built for Raja Amar Singh who was a Dogra king. The palatial structure differentiates itself from other palaces constructed at Jammu by Dogra kings. It stands amidst lush green patches and meadow lands where a large area has been utilised for external beautification of the palace.
Amar Mahal was the last residence of the Dogra Kings, Suryavanshi Rajputs and later was residence to Maharani Tara Devi, wife of late Raja Hari Singh. You’ll see rows of royal family portraits displayed and distributed here in hierarchy. This palace lies on banks of Tawi River. On the other side is a magnificent Shivalik range, which completes a panoramic view in front. Tawi River flows through the valley and sounds of this river keep soothing your ears. The palace lies adjacent to well known heritage Hotel Hari Niwas on the road to Kashmir. Eventually, this place was handed over to Hari Tara Charitable Trust. They turned it into a museum that houses Dogra-Pahari paintings.
Amar Mahal was sketched by a French architect in the year 1862 but it was not executed till 1890’s. After the death of Maharani Tara Devi in 1967, her son Dr. Karan Singh and his wife Mrs. Yasho Rajya Lakshmi converted this palace for use as a museum. The museum was inaugurated on April 13, 1975 by then prime minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi. The objective of establishing this museum was to preserve some of the rarest forms of art and literature and they collaborated with other fine arts institutions for the promotion of Indian art and culture. They transferred this regal property to a trust and named it as Hari Tara charitable trust in honour of his parents.
Amar Mahal Museum has art galleries displaying Indian art and work of Indian artists in different fields. One of the grandest attractions is Dogra Kings Gold Sofa weighing 120 kg.
These galleries have paintings made from renowned artists as well as dwelling amateur artists. The attraction in paintings include fascinating paintings made by M.F hussain, J. Swaminathan, G.R Santosh, Bikash Battacharyagee, Laxmi Pani and may more. Paintings here include Dogra and Pahari, paintings from 18th century in Jammu and miniature paintings of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. There are different galleries named Nala Damayanti, Dasha Avatar Gallery and Contemporary Art Gallery.
Nala Damyanti Gallery has a collection of almost 47 paintings from 18th century made Kangra ki Kalam, which narrates the love story of Nala and Damayanti and ends with their wedding Damayanti Swaymavar.
Dashvatar Gallery has illustrations made in oil paintings depicting stories of Lord Vishnu. A pictogram here is the reincarnation of lord Vishnu or Vishnu Puran.
Contemporary Art Gallery has a modern collection of paintings made by prominent contemporary Indian artists.
There is also an extensive library at Amar Mahal with books on subjects such as literature, science, politics, philosophy and more. Another attraction is the suite of Maharani Tara Devi where her clothes, bedspreads and Victorian style bathroom can be viewed.
This museum now fulfills its objectives by arranging tours, reading sessions, lectures and hobby classes. There are student exchange programs, workshops, and other hobby activities in the museum gallery.
Amar Mahal has been truly inspired by French methodology and stones have been used to decorate the walls with red roof. There are French windows and a small balcony on the first floor and a bay window on the top floor. Three sides of this building have an extended corridor with roof extending down. The wooden frame work has been used adjunct to support wooden columns which enhance the beauty of the palace.